As I begin typing at 6:40 a.m., the worst effects from Hurricane Matthew have yet to occur on the Atlantic coast of Florida, though more than 300,000 are without power. A shift of the eye of the storm towards the east has made the expected damage not nearly as significant — as of early this morning.
There’s a lot going on this weekend, and it will all climax late Sunday night with the second presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — that really may be Trump’s last, best hope to change the trajectory of the election.
That is not what it looked like two weeks ago, which makes any declarative forecast somewhat absurd. There’s no doubt Trump was ascendent and Clinton looked in decline going into that first debate at Hofstra University. Then the debate happened, and Clinton has received a nice bounce from virtually every single national and battleground state poll since then.
Trump held a town hall meeting in Sundown, New Hampshire last night before a select, invitation-only crowd of 160 people, where he was read questions from Boston radio talk show host Howie Carr — not exactly the same level of intensity that he’ll be getting from moderators Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper on Sunday.
Actually, Trump emphasized last night was not preparation for the debate, saying, “I want to be with the American people.”
I’m wondering if he thinks it’s a weakness to admit he would want to prepare. According to the Manchester Union-Leader, Trump then asked the the audience if they really believed that Clinton was prepping for days before Sunday’s debate.
“No,” audience members shouted. Trump said she was “resting.”
It’s sort of a weird world when, before an audience that will probably be at least 50 million nationally tuning in, you wouldn’t want to admit you were preparing, and wouldn’t want to admit you’re opponent was preparing. No?
Now, what about the substance? One would hope these two candidates would be asked how they intend to deal with climate change, an issue that has not been broached in either the first presidential debate, nor the VP debate last Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Trump will be in Lakeland, Ocala, and Panama City next week, as he attempts to keep it close here in the Sunshine State. An Emerson University poll shows Trump leading Clinton in Florida, 45 percent to 44 percent. Most other polls have Clinton on top.
In other news …
While David Jolly and Charlie Crist were debating, the DCCC issued out their own internal poll which showed the Democrat by an astounding 12 percentage points. Other polls show the race much, much tighter.
One Republican voting across party lines for Crist is Beverly Young, the late Bill Young’s widow who now essentially loathes Jolly, a longtime aide to her husband.
We asked the six people running for the Tampa City Council District 7 seat what they thought about a Cuban consulate in Tampa, Mayor Buckhorn’s neutral stance on the idea, and how the citizens police review board is doing currently.