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Essential Politics: The ‘president of you’ – Los Angeles Times

If either major party candidate is thinking about changing things up after Monday’s presidential debate, they certainly aren’t showing it.

Good morning from the state capital. I’m Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers, and we’ve got some new laws hitting the books in California after a flurry of bill signings by Gov. Jerry Brown.

But first, let’s hit the campaign trail.


Donald Trump hasn’t seemed to spend any time in this presidential campaign second-guessing his decisions, so no one should be surprised that he’s staying the course after the first debate.

“We’re going to do great things, folks,” said the GOP nominee at a rally in Melbourne, Fla., on Tuesday. “I’m running to be president of you.”

The candidate, using a telemprompter to repeat many of his accusations from the debate, again sought to cast the final six weeks as a choice between his new ideas and the old ones of Hillary Clinton.

If anything, his mixed debate reviews may have only energized Trump to double down on what’s gotten him this far, even as at least one GOP operative said the debate performance showed a clear “lack of preparation.”


Clinton, too, seems content to stay on the course set by the Hofstra University debate.

During a stop in North Carolina on Tuesday, the Democrat seized the opportunity to highlight Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, hammering him for saying it was “smart” to avoid paying federal income taxes in some years.

“And this is a man who goes around calling our military a disaster. Who goes around criticizing every institution, from healthcare to education, our vets,” she said. “But he probably hasn’t paid a penny to support our troops, or our vets, or our schools, or our healthcare systems.”


When Alicia Machado heard her story told by Clinton toward the end of Monday night’s debate, she began to cry.

Then, she took to social media.

Machado is the former pageant winner once attacked by Trump, a description recounted by Clinton and which seemed to get under the GOP nominee’s skin. Melanie Mason and Cindy Carmano caught up with her.

Could Machado’s story prove a major blow to Trump? She certainly hopes so.

“I want people to know about his levels of racism,” she said.


Monday’s debate broke the all-time TV viewing record for presidential showdowns: At least 84 million viewers tuned in, according to Nielsen data released on Tuesday.

That number doesn’t include those who logged on to watch through online streaming coverage. The prior record was for the 1980 debate between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.


The Times asked Facebook and Twitter readers what they would have liked to have Clinton and Trump discuss.

Of the questions that went unasked, a clear theme emerged about what was seen as overlooked: accountability for the controversies that have followed the candidates throughout the campaign, from Benghazi attacks to questions about both candidates’ foundations.

Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics. Check our daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page.

And for some context on the slings and arrows flung at Monday night’s debate, check out our annotated debate transcript.


Back in Washington, talk has turned to the deadline at the end of this week for avoiding a federal government shutdown.

The chances of that looked bleak on Tuesday, after the U.S. Senate blocked a stopgap spending measure amid partisan fighting over aid to victims of the Flint, Mich., water crisis. Still, both sides are predicting a deal by Friday. Stay tuned.


Gun rights advocates conceded defeat Tuesday in their effort to force a statewide vote on gun control laws signed by Brown earlier this year.

The group reported that it will fall far short of collecting enough signatures by Friday’s deadline to qualify the measures for the 2018 ballot.

San Diego-area businessman Barry Bahrami, who organized the drive, said apathy among California gun owners and the high hurdle for qualifying referendum proposals are both to blame for the shortfall.

Backers needed 365,880 valid signatures on each referendum in only 90 days. It’s one of the reasons so few of these measures — to overturn an existing law — appear on the ballot.


Gov. Brown has until late Friday night to sign or veto bills left on his state Capitol desk by the Legislature, and on Tuesday he passed judgment on 67 more proposals.

One high-profile bill that became law Tuesday: A crackdown on “doctor shopping,” requiring all prescribers to check a state database to see whether their patients have also received drugs from other physicians.

Brown then signed into law the right of terminally ill Californians to use experimental drugs, known as “right to try” legislation — the same kind of proposal he vetoed in 2015.

He also signed bus safety bills, including a plan prompted by a charter bus crash that killed five Los Angeles-area students two years ago.

On the issue of housing, a law signed Tuesday will make it easier for California homeowners to build additional small “granny flat” units on their properties, whether in garages or as freestanding second structures.

Meantime, the governor approved legislation that repeals mandatory minimum sentences for some prostitution crimes, continuing a bold push to protect sex trafficking victims.

California will now outlaw the use of ransomware, though catching overseas criminals will be the challenge.

Employers in California will no longer be able to ask about juvenile crimes that did not end in convictions.

And Brown signed a bill to ban government travel to states believed to discriminate against LGBT people.

As for vetoes, the governor rejected a mandate for jail inmates to have access to in-person visits from family, though he made clear he supports the concept — just not in law.

He also vetoed a bill to prohibit racial profiling in stores, saying the practice is already illegal in California.

As always, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed for the latest in state political and government news.


— “Mr. Last Night, I felt sorry for him, really.” That’s the post-debate jab thrown Trump’s way on Tuesday by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

— Meantime, a jab at Clinton by former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who said the Democrat is “too stupid to be president” because she did not know about her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

— In the capital city of the battleground state of Iowa, the first presidential debate felt like a Super Bowl game.

— Old tweets take on a life of their own in a national political race.

— The short supply of housing in California will put a drag on the state’s economic growth, according to two new studies.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.


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