Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks to reporters in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

With Breanne Deppisch

THE BIG IDEA:

PHOENIX—Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who could soon lose his job and maybe even his freedom, believes he is the victim of an active and ongoing “conspiracy” by the Obama administration and the mainstream media to undermine him and his friend Donald Trump.

The chief lawman in Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix metropolitan area, became a national figure over the past 24 years with a hard-line stance on illegal immigration that critics call racist. He is also famous for making his inmates live in a “tent city” and wear pink underwear. And he’s been under one legal cloud or another for years now.

On Tuesday, Arpaio was formally charged with criminal contempt of court. The federal government accuses him of willfully disobeying a judge’s order in a racial profiling case to stop targeting Latino drivers. The 84-year-old, who leads the third largest sheriff’s department in the country and has 4,000 staff, faces up to six months behind bars if convicted.

Arpaio already had a tough fight on his hands for a seventh, four-year term. He trailed by 15 points in an Arizona Republic poll published last week. He garnered just 31 percent of the vote, and 53 percent of likely voters viewed him unfavorably. Long a bogeyman in the Latino community, he has awakened a legion of immigrants who have never been active in politics before. Hundreds have poured in from out of state to work against him.

“Sheriff Joe,” as supporters and detractors alike refer to him, was one of Trump’s earliest and biggest boosters. He continues to be among the Republican nominee’s staunchest defenders and most willing surrogates, which could become problematic now that the race in Arizona has become a true toss-up. Or, perhaps, it is part of the explanation for why the presidential contest in this red state got so tight.

Arpaio is not going down without a fight. “People say, ‘You’re 84. Why are you doing this?’ Probably the main reason is that I don’t like surrendering,” he said during a wide-ranging interview in Phoenix. “Churchill or someone said, ‘Never surrender.’ … I have no hobbies. I haven’t had a vacation in 24 years. My whole life has been working. … So I’m not going to surrender. I’m going to stick around and defend my office.”

The sheriff spoke with me for 100 minutes, in between afternoon appearances on the Fox Business Network, at a remote television studio. He said he agreed to do the TV hits because “my buddy Lou Dobbs asked.” His celebrity and ubiquity on right-wing news sites and cable allowed him to raise about $12.5 million this year, mostly in small dollars and via direct mail.

He declined to talk in detail about the pending case against him. “We made a couple mistakes,” he said. “I’ve got good lawyers now.”

Arpaio and Trump campaign together in Iowa in January. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

But he was very happy to talk about the latest accusations against Trump. “I get very angry when I see all this stuff talking about sex and all this stuff from years ago or that he doesn’t like women. That’s garbage. … I know what type of person he is,” Arpaio said. “He’s getting a bad rap. … It’s a conspiracy, come on. … When you get all these women all at once coming out of the woodwork, come on.”

Asked about Trump’s argument that the election is being “rigged,” Arpaio said: “When he mentions conspiracy, maybe there is. Especially with the media. … There may be smoke there. I would almost bet anytime he says something that’s controversial, there’s some smoke. … I can understand what his frustration is.”

Asked about the 2005 video that captured Trump boasting to Billy Bush about being able to force himself on women because he is a celebrity, Arpaio elaborated: “I’m not condoning it, but he wasn’t running for president then. … The thing I don’t like it is it looks like there’s a conspiracy to gang up on him. … A lot of people understand there’s something suspicious going on.”

“Trump’s a fighter,” Arpaio added. “He’s not going to take this stuff. That’s his personality. He’s got to fight back and defend himself. He’ll defend our country the same way. … That’s what they fear. They fear me because they know when I say I’m going to do something … I never back down or retract. That’s the same way, I believe, he is.” He did not specify who he meant by they.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton hold up signs as first lady Michelle Obama speaks at a rally in Phoenix last Thursday. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is making a big, 11th-hour play for Arizona, which a Democrat has not carried since 1996:

They’ve got 32 offices and 160 staff. Trump has none.

Manager Robby Mook said last week that they’ll spend $2 million on TV advertising in the state. Trump is not on the air.

The Republic, which has not endorsed a Democrat for 120 years, supports Clinton. The paper’s poll, conducted with Arizona State University, has Clinton leading by five points statewide.

John McCain, who is up for reelection to the Senate, rescinded his Trump endorsement three weeks ago.

In a state where two-thirds of ballots will probably be cast by Election Day, registered Democrats are outpacing Republicans in early voting (a reversal from 2012).

Arpaio, for his part, is running against both Clinton and Barack Obama in a closing television commercial. An ad responding to the contempt charge notes that the Justice Department did not prosecute Clinton for her misuse of private email. “If they’re going after me, why aren’t they going after Hillary?” he said. His defenders also like to point out that the infamous tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, just days before the Justice Department decided not to move forward with charges, happened at the Phoenix airport just down the road.

Watch the ad:

Arpaio recalls that pundits wrote him off four years ago amid federal scrutiny of his controversial policing practices, but he persevered. The sheriff said his campaign’s latest internal poll has him up 7.5 points. Asked why the Arizona Republic poll shows him down 15 points, he said: “It was skewed.… It’s a Mickey Mouse poll.”

He won in 2012 by six points against Paul Penzone, a former sergeant in the Phoenix Police Department. Mitt Romney, who got 54.3 percent in Maricopa County, outperformed the sheriff by 70,000 votes.

Penzone is once again the Democratic nominee, and the top of the ticket is weaker than last time. “His clock has struck midnight,” he said of Arpaio in an interview. “He’s turning into a pumpkin. We’re going to be successful.”

Arpaio speaks at the Republican National Convention on July 21. (John Moore/Getty Images)

There are several similarities between Arpaio and Trump, starting with the fact that they share the same birthday. Sheriff Joe pointed out three times during our conversation that they were both born on Flag Day.

Arpaio and Trump first became allies because of their shared belief that Obama was not born in the United States, despite all evidence to the contrary. Arpaio does not apologize for his role in the so-called birther movement. “I’m not going to get into that,” he said. “You know the history.”

The two did not meet in person until Trump visited Phoenix for a rally in July 2015. “I was hooked to him from that day,” Arpaio said, adding that Donald has called his wife — who has cancer — to check on her five times.

Arpaio is grateful that Trump let him speak during the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer. He said Paul Manafort (then the campaign chairman) tried to block him from appearing on the main stage because he’s polarizing. But Sheriff Joe talked with Trump directly, and the nominee insisted that he get a plum slot on the final night. “Trump thought I was speaking. When he found out I was not, he went bananas,” Arpaio recalls. “That’s why I got on at the end. It took four days to get me on. … The only reason I mentioned it to him was because I didn’t want him to think I turned him down.”

Protesters display an effigy of Sheriff Joe wearing prison clothes in front of the U.S. District Court House on Oct. 11. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Just like Trump’s talk about Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers, Arpaio’s harsh rhetoric has galvanized many Latinos who have never before been engaged in the political process. In Arizona, 150,000 new voters have registered since the start of the year.

Former Arizona governor Jan Brewer expressed confidence last week that Trump will win here because Latinos, who make up a third of the state’s population, “don’t get out and vote.” Clinton has seized on Brewer’s comment, made in an interview with the Boston Globe. In a conference call for Hispanic volunteers last night, the Democratic nominee said: “Not only is that insulting, but she may not be paying attention. So let’s prove [Brewer] wrong and let’s make sure we have the biggest turnout of Latino voters in history.”

There is also a very active campaign on the ground called “Bazta Arpaio” (basta is Spanish for “enough”) that has been trying to mobilize low-propensity Hispanic voters. This past Saturday, 500 volunteers knocked on 13,000 doors to talk about the sheriff. They are focused on finding people who are registered to vote but did not cast ballots in 2012.

Viridiana Hernandez, a community organizer who is on the board of People for United Justice, the group that is running the Bazta campaign, is also a "dreamer." The 25-year-old’s parents brought her to Phoenix from Mexico when she was 1, the same year Arpaio became sheriff. They remain undocumented. She became a legal resident last year. Because her two younger siblings were born in the United States, they are citizens and get to vote. She cannot. This just motivates her to work harder. Hernandez welcomed the late infusion of help from the Clinton campaign. “We’ve been fighting alone now for several years,” she said.

Toppling Arpaio has become a true cause celebre on the left. During our interview, Arpaio opened a manila folder to show me a picture of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in Phoenix campaigning against him. The mayor is wearing a red T-shirt that says ARREST ARPAIO. “I don’t think that’s professional,” he said.

I asked Arpaio why he thinks the vast majority of his Latino constituents, including natural-born citizens, loathe him so much. “There’s hatred no matter what I do,” he said. “So I failed in a way to be able to connect. … It’s tough for me to connect. It perpetuates itself because they see in the paper that I’m arresting [undocumented immigrants]. … I’m not going to shy away from doing my job.” 

Arpaio’s campaign manager, Chad Willems, said there is more grass-roots energy than usual on their side, too. “This has always been a close race, and it will be a close race,” Willems said. “We don’t dispute that, and we’ve said that since day one. … We’re in an era with a lot of unknowns. Who would have thought Trump was going to run, and then win a primary and then be the nominee? So it’s difficult to say. … People who have never volunteered in a campaign before are turning out to help. Those are primarily Trump people. They’re walking doors and canvassing.”

“The sheriff is sort of like John McCain in a lot of respects,” the manager added. “They’re close in age, and he’s just been around so long that he’s really just a household name here. He’s had his challenges … but he’s tough on the bad guys, and that’s what people want.”

Anti-Arpaio protesters gather at the court house earlier this month. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Democrats have seen Arizona as a long-term project. They’ve been building up infrastructure to eat away at the GOP registration advantage, with the hope that the state could become purple in 2020 or 2022. Strategists on both sides say the Trump Effect has accelerated the trend.

Clinton allies also say that two propositions on the ballot this year could help drive turnout in a way that hurts Trump and Arpaio. One would legalize marijuana recreationally, which will draw out millennials. And the other would raise the minimum wage, which has prompted unions to invest money on get-out-the-vote efforts that they would typically not.

Arpaio does not think Clinton can win the state this year. “No. No. No,” he said, adding that he easily won reelection when Bill Clinton carried Arizona 20 years ago.

To be sure, even if Clinton wins and Arpaio loses, Arizona remains a red state and Maricopa is a Republican county for now. While Democrats dominate in Phoenix proper, Republicans run up the score in the sprawling suburbs. They will maintain a registration advantage for at least the next few years.

While Arpaio cannot stop talking about how much he reveres Trump, Penzone (a Democrat) tellingly refused to say whether he will vote for Clinton. “I don’t discuss anything outside of my race,” he said when pressed. Penzone added that many Trump supporters back him because he is “an outsider” taking on an “ineffective” incumbent who “thinks he’s above the law.”

Notably, the challenger is not promising wholesale rejection of some of the incumbent’s most controversial practices. Asked about Arpaio’s posse of armed volunteers, for example, Penzone replied: “The posse is a great tool, but it’s misused.… I am going to improve on it and expand on it.” He also declined to say whether he would shut down Arpaio’s “tent city” at the jail.

Arpaio gets wistful as he comes to terms with what could be the end of his six-decade career in law enforcement. In 1954, back from Korea and fresh out of the Army, he joined the D.C. police department. For four years, his beat was the intersection of 14th and U streets in Northwest Washington. “Now I hear it’s changed,” he said. “Those days, I had a blackjack nightstick and a .38, and I was pretty aggressive. I was by myself, a new cop. You know how it is? I think I had set the record for assaults on me in the last year. But all the arrests I made … I never had anybody throw the race card out, nor did I shoot anybody, even though it was all black. … Things were different years ago.”

Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter.
With contributions from Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck).

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta was clutch last night. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

-- The Cubs beat the Indians last night 5-1 in Game 2. From Thomas Boswell: “This World Series is now tied at a game apiece, but the balance of the struggle may have turned, perhaps decisively, toward the Chicago Cubs. Because such omens and portents have proved premature for roughly 108 years, let’s wait a bit. But something distinctly Cubbish is in the wind. Young slugger Kyle Schwarber, who underwent major knee surgery in April and wasn’t expected to play again this year, is not only batting in this Series but getting crucial hits, including two RBI singles in Game 2. Also, a suddenly sharp effort from Jake Arrieta, who has been off his usually stellar game since July, makes the Cubs look even tougher.”

Tim Kaine attended the game with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):

-- Jason Chaffetz flip-flops on Trump again: "I'm out. I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president," the Utah Republican congressman said after The Post revealed Trump's 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape. Chaffetz said that he couldn't look his 15-year-old daughter in the eye and talk about what the GOP presidential nominee said: "It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine." That was 19 days ago. Now he says he's going to vote for Trump:

Our video team looks at some of the other politicians who have put politics above their previously espoused principles:

(Amber Phillips explores the political calculus that drove Chaffetz to twist himself into a pretzel.)

A truth bomb from John Kasich's chief strategist:

Cuban President Castro and President Obama at the awkward conclusion of their joint news conference in March. (Ramon Espinosa/AP)

GET SMART FAST:​​

  1. For the first time in 25 years, the U.S. abstained in an annual U.N. vote condemning its trade embargo against Cuba. The historic move comes after diplomatic ties were restored last year, opening the door to warmer relations. (Karen DeYoung)
  2. New genomic sequencing research shows HIV likely arrived in the United States more than a decade before AIDS was discovered, debunking the longstanding myth that “Patient Zero,” or a sexually adventurous flight attendant from Canada, was responsible. (Ariana Eunjung Cha)
  3. The New York Supreme Court ordered ExxonMobil to produce subpoenaed documents in a highly charged climate probe, investigating whether the oil giant hid what it knew about the dangers of burning fossil fuels for up to four decades. (Steven Mufson)
  4. New federal data shows more than 25 percent of U.S. teachers are “chronically absent,” missing more than two weeks of class per year. Low-income rural areas have been overwhelmingly affected by the excessive absences, with chronic absenteeism rising above 75 percent in 2014. (Alejandra Matos)
  5. Fourth-and-eighth-graders in the U.S. have made gains in science, according to fresh test results, narrowing large racial achievement gaps. Rates among high school students remain unchanged from previous years, however. (Emma Brown)
  6. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his desire to scale back relations with Washington, saying he wants all American troops to leave his country “in the next two years.” Duterte wants to realign with China. (Simon Denyer)
  7. The Pentagon has secretly expanded its global network of drone bases to North Africa, deploying unmanned aircraft and military personnel to a Tunisian facility to conduct spy missions in nearby Libya. The United States has conducted more than 300 airstrikes in Libya since August. (Adam Entous and Missy Ryan)
  8. Two senior al-Qaeda figures were targeted by U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan. (Missy Ryan)
  9. Taliban fighters blocked a major Afghan highway linking Kabul to Kandahar, as militants expanded attacks against government forces outside the capital. The attack is the latest in a series of assaults on provincial centers, following similar Taliban attacks on cities in the north, northwest and south. (Sayed Salahuddin and Erin Cunningham)
  10. Russia has withdrawn a refueling request for a trio of Syrian-bound warships in Spain, shortly after NATO partners strongly urged Madrid to turn away the vessels. The move temporarily takes Spain out of the hot seat as Moscow continues to flex its military capabilities in Europe’s waterways and in the Middle East. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff)
  11. Scientists think diamonds are the future of data storage. New research suggests the rocks are capable of holding a million times more information than a DVD. (New York Times)
  12. Harvard dining hall workers voted in favor of a new contract agreement, ending a month-long strike over low wages and rising healthcare costs. (Danielle Douglas-Gabriel)
  13. Brigham Young University announced a new amnesty policy for sexual assault victims, saying students who report being assaulted will no longer face the possibility of punishment for honor code violations such as drinking or premarital sex. (Julie Zauzmer)
  14. Groupon will buy LivingSocial, absorbing an old rival once valued at $6 billion for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to be finalized in early November. (Aaron Gregg)
  15. The New Jersey attorney general’s office is suing a preschool after it expelled a student with Down syndrome. The lawsuit charges educators with unlawful discrimination after the girl was denied accommodations for not being fully potty-trained. (CBS News)
  16. A Michigan woman sued Jimmy John’s for negligence, claiming that a botched sandwich order caused her to permanently lose her voice. She’s allergic to mustard and claims that taking one bite of a sandwich disabled her. (Sarah Larimer)
  17. Comedian Patton Oswalt opened up about his wife’s sudden death earlier this year and how standup is the one thing that helps him cope. Going onstage, he said, is “a rebuke to grief, an acceptance of the messiness of life. I’ll never be at 100 percent again, but that won’t stop me from living this.” (New York Times)
Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

REPUBLICANS PROMISE ACRIMONY AND GRIDLOCK IN 2017 – Two important stories by Dave Weigel:

-- When Antonin Scalia died, Republicans said the next president should choose his replacement. Now that the next president is likely to be Clinton, Ted Cruz insists there is “precedent” for keeping his seat empty and allowing the Supreme Court to have fewer than nine justices. The Texas senator, angling to rehabilitate his tattered image on the right, looks like he's going to run his 2013 playbook all over again and appears to be suggesting that the blockade on Merrick Garland could extend past the presidential election. “You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” Cruz said in Colorado, when asked whether a Republican-controlled Senate should hold votes on Clinton’s nominees. “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.” Cruz’s remarks put him at odds with several colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, including chairman and fellow Republican Chuck Grassley. “If that new president happens to be Hillary, we can’t just simply stonewall,” Grassley said last week.

-- Chaffetz, who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is probing Clinton records and preparing ammo for “YEARS" of battles with the probable president. “It’s a target-rich environment,” he told Dave in Salt Lake City. “Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain’t good." If Republicans retain control of the House, something that GOP-friendly maps make possible even in the event of a Trump loss, Clinton will become the first president since George H.W. Bush to immediately face an [Oversight Committee] controlled by the opposition party. "Asked whether investigations could lead to extended political crises, with echoes of Watergate, Chaffetz said it would depend on Clinton and her team[:] ‘It depends on how cooperative they are, how seriously they take it. If they continue to erect walls and shore up the turrets, then, yeah, it’s going to be a battle. But if they act like they’re supposed to, if they comply with subpoenas and actually respond to requests from Congress, well, our republic requires that.”

Alina Fisk, 4, poses with a Trump cutout while shopping for a Halloween costume with her mother yesterday in Port Richey, Florida. (Brendan Fitterer/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

POLLING ROUNDUP:

-- A brand new Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll shows Clinton with a six-point lead over Trump, 48 percent to 42 percent, with an electorate “fixated on the campaign” and nervous about their candidate losing. More than three in four voters said they are “very anxious” about the opposing candidate taking office, with 56 percent saying they feared a Clinton presidency and 61 percent saying the same of Trump.

  • Voters are paying attention: 85 percent said they are absolutely certain to vote in this year’s election. Nearly identical percentages of Clinton and Trump supporters are reporting high attention to the race.
  • Clinton inspires anxiety among at least half of voters in a variety of swing voting groups, as well as some who lean Democratic, including 67 percent of independents, 56 percent of Catholics, 52 percent of women, 53 percent of voters under age 40 and 55 percent of moderates.
  • For Trump, women are the most formidable obstacle to catching Clinton in the final days: 55 percent of female voters said they are "very anxious" about Trump becoming president (38 percent of men said the same.)

-- An NBC-WSJ-Marist survey finds Clinton ahead by nine points in New Hampshire (45-36), up from a two-point edge last month. Support for Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte has waned: She is now tied with Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan (48-47), down eight points from last month.

-- In Nevada, the same poll has Clinton and Trump deadlocked with 43 percent each. Trump held a one point-edge in September. Those who have already voted early in the state support Clinton by a 25-point margin (60-35) . Down-ballot, Republican Joe Heck holds a seven-point advantage over Catherine Cortez Masto (49-42) to replace Harry Reid. Heck held a two-point lead last month.

-- A Fox News poll shows Clinton with a three-point advantage, which is within the poll’s margin of error. Trump’s up with independent voters by 13 points, up from seven points last week.

-- A Suffolk University-USA Today national poll shows Clinton holding a nine-point lead over Trump (47-38). She was up seven points in late August.

-- A Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18-to-29-year olds shows Clinton leading Trump by 28 points among young likely voters in a four-way matchup (49-21) percent. “One short month ago, millennial voters were severely complicating [Clinton's] path to the presidency. This liberal-leaning but highly nonpartisan demographic didn't like Clinton and was flirting heavily with going third-party,” The Post’s Aaron Blake writes. “But today, Clinton’s fates have changed — and she looks like she might even outperform Obama among young voters. That 28-point margin is notably bigger than Obama's 23-point margin in 2012. (He held a 60-37 lead among this group.) And the poll also finds her favorable rating among all 18- to 29-year-olds is 40 percent, up from 31 percent in July and 37 percent in April. Trump's numbers, meanwhile, have remained horrible. Fully 76 percent of likely young voters don't like him; just 22 percent do."

THE BATTLEGROUNDS:

-- An AP review of campaign finance filings found that the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and Democratic parties in 12 states have more than three times as many paid employees as Trump's campaign and the main Republican organizations supporting him. Clinton and Democrats had about 4,900 people on payroll in September, while Trump and Republicans had about 1,500.

-- More than 7.3 million Americans have now voted early  and stats offer hints of optimism for Clinton’s campaign so far. From CNN: Democrats have improved their positions in North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona compared to this point in 2012. And in Florida, where the latest comparable data comes from 2008, Democrats have cut deeply into the traditional Republican advantage in early ballots. Republicans, meanwhile, have good news in Iowa — backing up the polls that suggest it could be the easiest state won by Obama for Trump to flip this year. (Check out a state-by-state breakdown)

-- “Republicans place heavy bet on super PAC cash to hold Senate majority,” by Paul Kane: “The final weeks in the battle for control of the Senate are shaping up as a sharp strategic contrast in which one group of party operatives could look like geniuses — or fools. Democrats made an early decision they were going to hold onto their most precious campaign cash for the final weeks, hoping their liberal super PAC allies would help out wherever and whenever they could. Republicans decided that, given the headwinds their incumbents faced with [Trump’s] emergence as their presidential nominee, they needed to drain their party treasury earlier than usual. That crucial decision leaves Senate GOP campaigns remarkably reliant on late cash from Republican-leaning super PACs that by law cannot coordinate with GOP candidates and party leaders. The stark effects of these choices are playing out in several media markets critical to determining which party controls the Senate in 2017.” (The story looks at the media markets where the contrast is starkest.)

-- First look  Ron Johnson is going after Russ Feingold on campaign finance in Wisconsin: The Republican senator, in a rematch with his predecessor, has been running ads that accuse Feingold, who made a name for himself as an advocate of campaign finance reform, of hypocrisy on his signature issue. A previous spot featured a clip of Feingold saying in 1992 that he will raise the majority of his money from donors in the Badger State and then another clip shows him saying that promise only applied during the first term. The new commercial, part of seven-figure buy, attacks him for launching a PAC in 2011 after he left Congress. Some recent polls have shown the race tightening, and Johnson has tried hard to grab for the outsider mantle even though he is the incumbent. (It is ironic that both McCain and Feingold now have outside groups supporting them. Welcome to the post-Citizens United world...) Watch Johnson’s new ad:

-- Bloomberg cover story, “Inside the Trump Bunker, With 12 Days to Go,” by Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg: “To outsiders, the Trump campaign often appears to be powered by little more than the candidate’s impulses and Twitter feed. But after Trump locked down the GOP nomination … [Jared] Kushner tapped [Brad] Parscale, a political novice who built web pages for the Trump family’s business and charities, to begin an ambitious digital operation fashioned around a database they named Project Alamo. … When [Steve] Bannon joined the campaign in August, Project Alamo’s data began shaping even more of Trump’s strategy.… Today, housed across from a La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery along Interstate 410 in San Antonio, the digital nerve center of Trump’s operation encompasses more than 100 people, from European data scientists to gun-toting elderly call-center volunteers.” Two key highlights:

  • "Despite Trump’s claim that he doesn’t believe the polls, his research team spends $100,000 a week on surveys and has sophisticated models that run more reliable election simulations. In other words, Trump’s staff knows he’s losing. Badly."
  • "Trump’s team knows where its fate will be decided, and has built a model to weight and rank the states that the data team believes are most critical to get to 270 electoral votes: On Oct. 18 they rank as follows: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia."

-- Larry Sabato released the latest iteration of his electoral college forecast: “Fortress Obama” describes an outer and inner ring of defenses Clinton has against Trump as she seeks to re-create the president’s electoral college majority. The outer ring consists of states like Florida, Iowa, Nevada, and Ohio — where Obama won twice but that are vulnerable to Trump — as well as North Carolina, which Obama carried only in 2008. These are states that Trump needs but that Clinton could probably do without. Then there’s the inner ring, states like Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, none of which Clinton can afford to lose if Trump were to completely knock down the outer ring. At this point, Clinton is no worse than 50-50 to carry each of the outer ring states — even states like Iowa and Ohio, where polls have been very close or even show a Trump edge — and she seems secure in all of the inner ring states. This is why Clinton is such a heavy favorite to win the presidency.”

Mike Pence arrives for a rally. (Reuters/Jason Miczek)

-- Mike Pence stumped for Trump in Utah, an unusual appearance 13 days before the election in what is traditionally one of the reddest states in the country. His appearance illustrated the deep rifts Trump’s nomination has sparked within the GOP amid rising concerns the state has evolved into a three-way dogfight between Trump, Clinton and independent Evan McMullin. Weigel has been on the ground and has a deep look at the state of play: “Let’s get it done Utah, let’s bring it home,” he said at the rally, which was attended by only one elected Utah GOP leader, Speaker of the House Greg Hughes. Pence also took a shot at McMullin. “There’s only two people on the ballot that you’re going to cast here in Utah that have any chance of being president,” he said, referring to the two major-party nominees, Trump and Clinton."

-- Mitt Romney, at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, expressed regret about the state of the presidential race and joked that he “often asks” himself why he did not run again in 2016. "I get asked on a regular basis, 'Boy, why aren't you running this year?' I ask myself that a lot too. But I did that once," the 2012 nominee said. Borrowing a self-deprecating line from Democrat Walter Mondale, who lost to Ronald Reagan in 1984, he quipped, "All my life I wanted to run for president in the worst way, and that's what I did." The former governor avoided criticizing Trump or Clinton by name during his speech, and declined to comment on the state of the race in Utah. (ABC News)

On her 69th birthday, Clinton boards her campaign plane in Miami. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

THE DAILY HILLARY:

-- A hacked 2011 email memo published by WikiLeaks outlines the lucrative arrangements made by fundraisers to steer business opportunities toward former president Bill Clinton, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger report: “The memo [from Doug Band] lays out the aggressive strategy behind lining up the consulting contracts and paid speaking engagements for Bill Clinton that added tens of millions of dollars to the family’s fortune, including during the years that Hillary Clinton led the State Department. It describes how Band helped run what he called ‘Bill Clinton Inc.,’ obtaining ‘in-kind services for the President and his family — for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like.’ For instance, Band wrote that (former Hillary fundraiser Declan Kelly) arranged for the former president to meet the chief executive of Coca-Cola in January 2009 at the Clintons’ home in Washington. In all, according to Band’s memo, Coke had contributed $4.33 million to the foundation between 2004 and 2010. Band also described how Kelly helped expand a fruitful relationship with UBS Global Wealth Management … [who] paid Clinton about $2 million in speaking fees between 2011 and 2015 for a series of appearances.”

-- Clinton is planning to ring in election night under a real “glass ceiling”  in Manhattan’s Javits Center. “Dispensing with subtlety, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said on Wednesday that it would ring in election night at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the unglamorous glass fortress on Manhattan’s West Side. The symbolism seems clear. Mrs. Clinton has referred repeatedly of busting through ‘the highest, hardest glass ceiling’ — at least figuratively — by installing a woman in the Oval Office. If Election Day breaks her way, she will address the nation beneath a literal one," Matt Flegenheimer writes in the Times. Members of the public can register for HRC's election night event here. (John Wagner has more.)

Khizr Khan campaigns for Clinton at Croaker's Spot, a restaurant in Norfolk, Va., yesterday. (Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post)

-- Gold Star father Khizr Khan stumped for Clinton in Virginia, saying he was motivated by Muslim American children who asked if they would be “thrown out of the country” under a Trump presidency: “The courage [to speak out] wasn’t ours,” Khan said at a mosque. “The courage was given to us.” Khan, the father of a slain Muslim American soldier who first gained notoriety for speaking out against Trump at the Democratic convention, said he has been overwhelmed by “love and affection from all corners of this country.” “People ask would I do it again,” he said. “A million times, again and again and again, up until hatred and political bigotry is wiped out of this United States, we will continue to speak.” (Patricia Sullivan)

Meanwhile, Trump doubled down on assertions that Khan’s son “would be alive today” if he had been in the White House in 2004, falsely claiming that he never supported the war in Iraq. “Had I been president, Captain Khan would be alive today. We wouldn't have been in this horrible, horrible mistake, the war in Iraq,” Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday. “This is the most cruel thing you can say to grieving parents, that if I was there this would not have happened,” Khan said in response. “There's no sincerity in those remarks. …This is one character that a leader must have to be the leader of a great country, to be the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the United States: empathy. And this person totally lacks that.”

Trump and his family speak at the grand opening ceremony of the Trump International Hotel in Washington. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

THE DAILY DONALD:

-- A growing number of prominent Republican women are worried that, as members of their male-dominated party step up to defend Trump against sexual assault accusations, they are causing “irreparable damage” to the GOP’s relationship with female voters. From Jenna Johnson and Karen Tumulty: “This division within the Republican Party comes as polls suggest the nation is on the verge of electing its first female president even as misogyny remains a part of American life and culture. Ironically, it is Trump’s candidacy rather than [Clinton’s] that has brought sexism to the forefront of the political debate."

  • "GOP pollster Christine Matthews said that Democrats no longer have to push a “war on women” narrative because it’s playing out on its own thanks to Trump — and comments from like-minded surrogates."
  • “For next-generation professional women, the party is going to have to do something very, very drastic to change the course of where this candidate has taken us,” said former Romney campaign aide Katie Packer. “Come November 9, they better be prepared to make very strong statements condemning all of Trump’s behavior.”

-- Making matters worse: Trump congratulated Newt Gingrich for an interview in which he accused Fox News host Megyn Kelly of being “fascinated with sex” because she brought up multiple sexual assault claims from Trump accusers. “Congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview,” Trump said at the grand opening of his D.C. hotel. “We don’t play games, Newt, right?” Two of Bill Clinton’s accusers also praised the former speaker: “Beauty is only skin deep. Megyn Kelly is ugly as hell on the inside,” Juanita Broaddrick tweeted. And Paula Jones wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “Woohoo, he slammed this nasty heifer!” Watch the video:

-- Hillary will capitalize. She's campaigning tomorrow in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines with the leaders of three prominent women’s groups: Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards, Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock and NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue.

-- Trump addressed the African American community in Charlotte, pledging what he called "a new deal for black America” as he sought to make 11th-hour inroads with the minority bloc. From Sean Sullivan, Ed O'Keefe and Katie Zezima: “In a scripted speech heavy on policy specifics, he laid out a plan that he said is built on setting up better schools, lowering crime in inner cities and creating more high-paying jobs. He told the largely white audience that ‘massive numbers’ of black Americans have been ignored and left behind, [blaming] Democrats and Clinton for the ‘crippling crime and total violence’ in the nation’s inner cities. 'I will be your greatest champion,' Trump vowed. ... He continued to falsely assert the national murder rate is at its highest rate in 45 years, saying certain inner cities are 'more dangerous than the war zones'.... Trump also said black communities have had civil rights violated by illegal immigration, saying 'no group has been hurt more' by decades of unlawful migrants." Trump’s remarks come as his candidacy barely registers with African American voters: in the ABC tracking poll, he holds 3 percent to Clinton’s 82 percent among this constituency.

-- Trump attacked a military expert who said Trump’s criticism of the Mosul offensive shows he does not have a firm grasp of military strategy: “Tell your military expert that I’ll sit down and I’ll teach him a couple of things,” Trump told  ABC. He said the “element of surprise” was squandered. “As soon as they heard they’re going to be attacked, they left,” Trump said. “The resistance is much greater now because they knew about the attack. Why can’t they win first and talk later?”

-- Trump formally cut the ribbon on his $212 million Washington, D.C. hotel, capitalizing once again on his election-year prominence to promote one of his businesses. From Jonathan O'Connell: But outside the doors of his new Pennsylvania Avenue installation, the Republican nominee was less well-received. “Dozens of chanting protesters lined the sidewalk … where Trump’s company originally intended to hold the event. The Trumps instead moved the event inside the hotel’s gold-trimmed ballroom, where they welcomed some 200 guests, more than three dozen video cameras and a gaggle of reporters.” Several top local officials, mostly Democrats, who celebrated the project’s launch two years ago were absent.

-- Trump’s brand is toxic, cont.: “It’s apt that Trump’s new hotel … is at the Old Post Office. Just 13 days before the election, Trump is mailing it in,” Dana Milbank writes in a funny sketch of the scene. “D.C.’s Trump International has slashed rates by half since its soft opening last month, to $404 for its basic rooms. Suites expected to go for more than $24,000 have been discounted by nearly two-thirds. Even on the day of the formal opening, plenty of rooms were available.”

-- Washingtonian, “How Trump Lost His DC Restaurants,” by Jessica Sidman: “Chef José Andrés and his team were debating the dining room’s gold facade. Was it too shiny? Would the travertine limestone be preserved? It was June 2015, a year before the chef was to open his fine-dining restaurant in the new Trump International Hotel. Tentatively called Topo Atrio, the restaurant would serve Andrés’s native Spanish cuisine—skirt steak from black-footed Ibérico pigs, duck and rice with foie gras cream and Pedro Ximénez sherry reduction. Andrés had hired sought-after New York designer David Rockwell to outfit the 9,000-square-foot space … Ivanka Trump loved the early designs. We all know what happened next. … What we didn’t know — until now — was how furiously Trump’s family, along with a prominent local real-estate firm, scrambled to keep the project on track." Andrés said he "never foresaw" a legal battle when he pulled out: “We didn’t expect there was going to be any litigation. We were trying to resolve it like I resolve all the issues in my life—without litigation, like grownups talking.”

-- “Trump’s Family Fortune Originated in a Canadian Gold-Rush Brothel,” by Bloomberg's Natalie Obiko Pearson: “Buried in a ghost town in Canada’s subarctic are the roots of the family fortune that paved Donald Trump’s path to prominence. Only shards of glass bottles remain on the lake shore in Bennett, British Columbia—remnants perhaps of the lively establishment operated by Trump’s grandfather that was known for good food, booze and ready women. A church sits further up the slope, its lonely spire peeking out from a thicket of pines. Bennett was once a thriving transit point for prospectors in the Klondike gold rush at the turn of the 20th century, and Friedrich Trump made a killing running a restaurant and bar. The nest egg he generated in just two years grew into the fortune that has supported his grandson’s bid for the U.S. presidency. It was open around the clock with ‘private boxes for ladies and parties,’ according to an advertisement in [an 1899 newspaper] …”

-- Alex Jones, the 9/11 truther whom Trump has praised lavishly, blamed America’s ills on the “Jewish mafia,” saying on his radio show that “they run Uber, they run the health care, they’re going to scam you, they’re going to hurt you.” The radio host went on to list a series of prominent people with Jewish backgrounds whom he said were working for this mafia, including Rahm Emanuel, Madeleine Albright and George Soros. He accused them of being part of a “global, corporate combine” in alliance with the Japanese, Communists, and other evil factions, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp writes. Jones described Emanuel as “a guy foaming at the mouth with knives at Cabinet meetings, basically threatening the president, totally crazed. Who’s got his fingers in everything, screwing us over.” (Read the full transcript.)

-- A polling truther: Rand Paul said surveys showing Clinton with a lead over Trump are "designed to suppress turnout”: "The polls are put out, you know to make it either look closer than it is or to make it look like Democrats have a better chance," the senator said during a West Virginia radio interview. “You know, I think sometimes polling is done to dampen election turnout so when Trump says the thing's rigged, I'm not sure exactly what he means and I'm not sure I always agree with him.… But I do think that when we say over and over someone can't win that is a form of rigging in the sense that it is designed to suppress turnout." The Kentuckian suggested the same phenomenon occurred in his state last year, when Matt Bevin unexpectedly won the state’s gubernatorial race. (CNN)

THE PUNDITS WEIGH IN:

-- George F. Will’s column today is imbued with some remarkable historical context: “This year’s winner probably will be the first Democrat since Grover Cleveland to become president without enjoying Democratic control of both houses of Congress. (Cleveland, the last conservative Democratic president, vetoed more bills during his two, non-consecutive terms than all of his predecessors combined.)”

“Ronald Brownstein of the Atlantic notes, ‘Since the 1828 election of Andrew Jackson that historians consider the birth of the modern two-party system, no party has ever won the presidential popular vote six times over seven elections.’ By the evening of Nov. 8, the Republican Party likely will have lost the popular vote for the sixth time in seven elections, and will have lost three consecutive elections for the first time since the 1940s.

“This year will be the fourth of a particular kind of Republican disappointment since World War II. In 1946, 1994, 2010 and 2014 Republicans won huge victories in off-year elections but two years later lost the presidential election.”

Finally, you don’t need to win big to have a mandate to govern: “Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 with the lowest percentage of the popular vote (39.9) of any electoral winner in history. He received fewer than the combined votes for two Democratic rivals, the Northerner Stephen Douglas and the Southerner John Breckinridge. This did not prevent Lincoln from becoming the nation’s greatest president. Majorities, however helpful, are not necessary. In 14 of the 39 elections since 1860 the winner did not get a majority of the popular vote, including Woodrow Wilson (twice), Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton (twice), Democrats all.”

-- Among the 100 poorest counties in America, 74 voted for Romney in 2012. “The GOP that carried [Trump] to the presidential nomination was formed by waves of new voters who washed onto Republican shores in the last four decades: George Wallace Southerners, Reagan Democrats, Pat Buchanan pitchfork populists and tea-party foot soldiers,” Gerald F. Seib and Patrick O’Connor write in the Wall Street Journal. "[Former congressman Tom Davis] often brandishes a map showing all the counties that voted Democratic in the 1996 presidential election but had turned Republican by 2012: They form a wide, almost unbroken swath from Louisiana north through Arkansas and Missouri along the Mississippi River valley, branching east from there through Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia. Those counties represent the new heart of the GOP. It includes farmers and coal miners. Country music is the norm. Collars are as likely to be blue as white. … As early as 2001, Tim Pawlenty, later Minnesota’s governor and a presidential candidate, warned that the GOP needed ‘to be the party of Sam’s Club, not just the country club’.… Why did so many other supposedly smart politicians not see Mr. Trump’s soldiers gathering?

Sharbat Gula, the "Afghan Girl" who appeared on the cover of a 1985 edition of National Geographic magazine, waits ahead of a court hearing in Peshawar. (AFP Photo/ FIA)

WAPO HIGHLIGHTS:

-- “From a Nat Geo cover to a mug shot: The sad story of the green-eyed ‘Afghan Girl,’” by Max Bearak: “Sharbat Gula's haunting green eyes were immortalized on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. You might have seen her while sitting at a dentist's office, or while bending over to pick up your mail, but whenever it was, it was hard to pull your eyes away. Her penetrating stare seemed to encompass the pain of Afghanistan's civil war.… She was just 12 when she was photographed by Steve McCurry in a camp for displaced people in Peshawar, the biggest city along Pakistan's frontier with Afghanistan. Now in her 40s, she is still in Peshawar, but as of this week, she is in police custody … on charges that she possessed a fake Pakistani national identification card. They had been investigating her for years, and last year Pakistani media published the picture attached to her allegedly fake identification card. Gula's arduous life now has two famous photos as its bookends, the magazine cover and the mug shot. They tell a sad story of a woman at the mercy of war."

-- “Face it, America: You loved having a celebrity candidate. So who will it be next?” Ben Terris: “As the pundit class gets to work pre-writing their obituaries for [Trump’s] political career, they’ve been hotly debating its legacy. Will it be remembered for destroying the Grand Old Party? Accelerating the rise of the alt-right? Launching the glorious era of Trump TV? Come on. It’s so much more obvious. Voters have demonstrated their thirst for the Big Gulp, an outsize figure who can provide a sugary rush not normally found in politics. Maybe it will be someone who has stood shirtless in a wrestling ring, or pitched a playoff baseball game in a bloody sock? Or the billionaire shouting obscenities from the NBA sidelines?” “Trump’s approach,” Mark Cuban said, “was the right approach by the wrong candidate.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:

How things change in just a few months:

Mike Pence's dog passed away:

Former Illinois Republican congressman Joe Walsh said he's "grabbing my musket" if Trump loses:

Bloomberg's Mark Halperin (trying to preserve access for his forthcoming book about the election) was roundly mocked by serious journalists for his embarrassing, softball interview with Trump:

Many reporters dreamed up questions Mark might have asked:

Clinton is popular in Miami's ultra-hip Wynwood neighborhood:

Clinton's celebrity supporters wished her a happy birthday:

The Scalias were honored with an award last night:

HOT ON THE LEFT

“Jill Stein’s Ideology Says One Thing—Her Investment Portfolio Says Another,” from the Daily Beast: “Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein has largely based her campaign on her uncompromising positions on the environment, opposition to big banks and Wall Street, defense contractors, and the pharmaceutical industry. She has made purity a central pillar … [and] held that the Green Party reigns above all others with respect to moral and ethical supremacy. But an analysis of her financial disclosures, which she was required to file as a presidential candidate, show she is heavily invested in the very industries that she maligns the most and as a result of her investments, she has built significant wealth. Stein’s controversial investments include: Big Carbon … Financial Industry … Big Tobacco … Defense contractors/drones.”

 

HOT ON THE RIGHT:

“American Support For An Assault Weapons Ban Just Hit A Record Low,” from the Federalist: “Support for a so-called assault weapons ban in the U.S. just hit a record low of 36 percent, according to a new Gallup poll … The poll showed that 61 percent of American adults now oppose a ban. That level of opposition is the highest ever recorded. Increasing opposition to the 1990’s-era gun ban isn’t just limited to Republicans. Gallup’s data show that opposition to the ban has increased across the board. Barely 50 percent of Democrats currently support the ban today, compared to 63 percent support from Democrats in 1996 … [and] less than a third of independents currently support a ban … An assault weapons ban is also widely opposed by those who don’t even own guns.”

DAYBOOK:

On the campaign trail: Clinton rallies supporters with Michelle Obama in Winston Salem, N.C.; Kaine is in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Trump campaigns in Springfield, Toledo and Geneva, Ohio; Pence stops in Omaha, Neb. and Fort Dodge, Iowa.

At the White House: Obama and Biden meet for lunch. Later, Obama participates in a conference call with Affordable Care Act advocates and stakeholders. In the evening, Biden speaks at the Oxi Day Celebration at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are out.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: 

For the second day in a row, Trump suggested that he would like to physically fight with Joe Biden. “I dream about that kind of stuff," he said.

NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:

-- Light showers and some breeze, per todays’ Capital Weather Gang forecast: “There could be a few breaks in the clouds to start the day, but they’ll quickly thicken. Light showers are possible from mid-morning on but are unlikely to amount to much. The best chance of measurable rain is in the afternoon but, for most, probably no more than a tenth of an inch. Winds pick up from the southeast at 10-15 mph and gust to 25 mph by afternoon. Highs range from the upper 50s to lower 60s.”

-- The Capitals lost to the Oilers 4-1.

-- Allowing Metro to deteriorate further could cost the region $1 billion annually in lost revenue, according to a new study. Its findings come as leaders have been urged to create a new tax or funding stream to help fix problems riddling the beleaguered transit agency. (Robert McCartney)

-- WMATA isn’t working: A Metro train operator faces possible disciplinary action after he refused to move an empty train from a station platform because his shift had ended. The incident occurred 8 p.m. Sunday night at Fort Totten. Because the train was idling on the platform, other outbound Green Line trains could not enter the station to let off passengers. According to NBC4, which first reported the incident, a person who witnessed the incident first-hand said passengers were left waiting on the platform while the operator argued with his supervisor; he then walked off the train. A spokesman declined to say how the operator will be punished. (Martine Powers)

-- A 49-year-old Southeast man was found fatally beaten INSIDE a D.C. church yesterday. Police said the man died from head trauma, and they have arrested a suspect. (Justin Wm. Moyer and Clarence Williams)

-- An off-duty D.C. police officer said he was unfairly tackled and struck in the face by Prince George’s County officers who were looking for a gunman near the Iverson Mall. D.C. Officer Robert Parker Jr., who was wearing civilian clothes at the time, said he did not have a chance to identify himself as an officer until the sergeant felt his weapon and took him to the ground. Parker said he has hired an attorney and plans to file a formal complaint. (Peter Hermann and Lynh Bui)

-- Skimming devices designed to steal information from credit and debit cards were found at three Fairfax County gas pumps this week. The discovery brings to at least 10 the number of such devices discovered at service stations in the county since early summer. Police said some of the stolen credit card information has been used at ATMs to withdraw cash. (Martin Weil)

-- Weeks after federal prosecutors arrested 80 people in a widespread bribery and drug conspiracy inside a Maryland prison, two senior Corrections Department employees who helped in the probe say they have been fired. Officials said their departures are not connected to the three-year investigation, in which guards were accused of smuggling contraband into the facility in exchange for money and sex. (Ovetta Wiggins)

-- Maryland Senate candidates Chris Van Hollen and state Del. Kathy Szeliga debated in Baltimore, sparring over health care, the economy and whether a woman should succeed retiring outgoing Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. From Jenna Portnoy: Each candidate excoriated the presidential nominees of their opponent’s party, with Van Hollen calling Trump “unqualified” and Szeliga slamming Clinton’ use of a private email server. Fireworks erupted when Green Party nominee Margaret Flowers planted herself on stage and demanded to be included in the event (the police escorted her from the building). “When the action got underway, Szeliga and Van Hollen struck starkly different tones[:] Szeliga, the minority whip of the Maryland House of Delegates, peppered her answers with personal details, including her mom’s beehive hairdo and cat eye glasses. Van Hollen, a state lawmaker from Montgomery County before being elected to the U.S. House in 2002, demonstrated the dispassionate demeanor of a sitting congressman well-versed in public policy.” Van Hollen is heavily favored in the race, with recent polls showing him with a 30 point lead.

VIDEOS OF THE DAY:

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook warns supporters against complacency in a new 1-minute video. “Donald Trump has been going around telling people not to listen to the polls and saying that he can still win this race. Well, you know what? He's absolutely right," Robby says to camera:

The Onion released a series of video interviews with American voters, including the One-Percenter, the Millennial and the Immigrant. Watch them here.

Clinton did an impression of Trump lurking behind her during the presidential debate:

Seth Meyers presented his own version of the final debate:

Joe Biden did a burnout in his ’67 Corvette Stingray with Jay Leno riding shotgun:

Ben Affleck encouraged people in New Hampshire to vote:

A recap of Trump's speech promoting his D.C. hotel:

A man with a sledgehammer and pick axe was captured on video obliterating Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The man was dressed as a city construction worker, and said he hoped to auction off the star and raise money on behalf of women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Elahe Izadi has the story. Here's the video:

A man in Platteville, Wisconsin, was captured on surveillance footage torching a Trump yard sign while in nothing but his boxers. A passing witness stopped to give him a fist-bump while the sign burned:

This video compares Trump to the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90’s TV show sitcom, “Dinosaurs”:

James Franco taped this video endorsing Clinton:

Gloria Allred responded to Trump's lawsuit threats:

The DSCC is running a 1-minute radio ad in Missouri that’s meant to sound like a twangy country song, attacking Sen. Roy Blunt as a Washington insider:

Finally, on a lighter note, here are zoo animals devouring pumpkin treats: