I saw liberals on Twitter arguing in all seriousness over the weekend that an 11-year-old tape emerged when it did, a month to the day before the election and 48 hours before a must-win presidential debate, by sheer happenstance. TMZ says otherwise. Whom to believe?
America deserves to know: Who ordered the Code Red on Trump? Besides Trump himself, I mean. After all, he’s the dummy who started mumbling about grabbing p***y after getting mic’d up by NBC.
NBC execs had a plan to time the release of the Donald Trump audio to have maximum impact on both the 2nd presidential debate and the general election … sources connected with the network tell TMZ.
Multiple sources connected with NBC tell us … top network execs knew about the video long before they publicly said they did, but wanted to hold it because it was too early in the election. The sources say many NBC execs have open disdain for Trump and their plan was to roll out the tape 48 hours before the debate so it would dominate the news cycle leading up to the face-off.
As we reported, Billy Bush was bragging about the tape — in front of NBC execs at the Rio Olympics — in early August. NBC says it’s only known about the tape for a little more than a week…
We’ve told you the plan got derailed by Hurricane Matthew. Execs decided the wall-to-wall coverage of the storm would mess up the plan to dominate the news with the Trump tape, so they were going to hold it until Monday. It didn’t sit well with some staffers who wanted it out pre-debate, so it was leaked to the Washington Post.
All’s fair in love and political war, as James O’Keefe reminded us yesterday with his own well-timed video release, but O’Keefe makes no bones about being a partisan fighter. NBC, as far as I know, is formally “neutral” in the campaign — and if it isn’t, its millions of Republican viewers should probably be formally informed. As for Billy Bush, imagine his surprise when he found out his big election-shifting score for Democrats was also a firing offense by NBC. Think he might be one of the sources whispering to TMZ here as revenge for the network’s disloyalty?
Actually, I shouldn’t call it a big election-shifting score. “Momentous election-shifting score” is more apt. Check out these new numbers from Wisconsin:
Among likely voters in WI:
Thursday: Trump 41%, Clinton 40%
Friday: Clinton 44%, Trump 38%
Saturday and Sunday: Clinton 49%, Trump 30%
— MULawPoll (@MULawPoll) October 12, 2016
The tape dropped on Friday afternoon, shifting the race by 20 points over the span of two nights. It was a two-by-four to Trump’s head. Overall, Clinton now leads in Wisconsin by seven points — although that survey was completed before the second debate. Nationally, this SurveyMonkey poll (also completed before the debate) gives you a sense of how the tape is impacting the race. Most voters aren’t changing their votes over it, but when you’ve got 34 percent of independents and 26 percent of undecideds unhappy about it in a race where Trump was already down four points or so, you’ve got a candidate who’s moving in the wrong direction:
Who are the eight percent of Republicans who say the tape makes them more likely to vote for Trump? Never mind, I don’t want to know.
Here’s GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold being asked if he’d still back Trump even if Trump got caught on tape saying he liked to rape women. Answer: “That would be bad. I’d have to consider it.” (He later apologized for hedging.) When Sam Clovis, a Trump advisor, was asked about the tape yesterday, he said that Trump had turned the corner on that sort of talk because he’s a “new Christian” who’s been on a “faith journey.” I think we all sense the change.