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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Still reeling from video, Trump returns to Florida today

Donald Trump at a rally last year in Sarasota

The Associated Press

Donald Trump at a rally last year in Sarasota



Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump returns to Florida today with a cloud of uncertainty over the direction his campaign, still reeling from the disclosure of a video in which he lewdly described pursuing women.

If a rally in Pennsylvania Monday is an indication, Trump is not inclined to go on an apology tour. He briefly addressed the "locker room" talk before intensifying attacks on the Clintons.

“If they want to release more tapes saying inappropriate things, we’ll continue to talk about Bill and Hillary Clinton doing inappropriate things,” Trump in Ambridge, a working class town in Western Pennsylvania.

"Bill Clinton sexually assaulted innocent women and Hillary Clinton attacked those women viciously," he said. “She goes out and says 'Oh, I love women, I’m going to help women.' She’s a total hypocrite.”

Trump also doubled down on his debate promise to have Clinton investigated if he is elected. “Special prosecutor, here we come,” Trump said before a crowd of 2,500 that chanted “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

Reports from the event and another in Wilkes-Barre were filled with supporters defending Trump and lashing out at Clinton. “I’m going to fight for you,” Trump said.

Tonight he will be in Panama City scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. local time. On Wednesday, Trump has a noon rally in Ocala followed by a 3 pm. event in Lakeland. His campaign has added a noon Thursday stop in West Palm Beach.

Trump and Clinton are in a close fight in Florida but there has not been polling since the  video tape surfaced. A national poll released Monday by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal showed Clinton with a 11 percentage point lead among likely voters.

Dozens of Republicans nationally have denounced Trump’s comments and many have said they will not vote for him. In Florida, that includes Rep. Tom Rooney of Okeechobee.

“My greatest responsibility in life is to try and be a good husband and father,” Rooney said over the weekend. “If I support him for President, I will be telling my boys that I think it’s okay to treat women like objects – and I’ll have failed as a dad. Therefore, I can no longer support Donald Trump for President and will not be voting for him or Hillary Clinton.”

But other Republicans have stood by Trump, including Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running for re-election and needs the GOP base to turn out, and Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Trump’s 2005 comments were part of an Access Hollywood segment and he did not realize his microphone was on as he talked with host Billy Bush. At one point Trump mentions a failed attempt at having sex with a married woman in Palm Beach. That woman is Nancy O’Dell, who also hosted the show and is now on Entertainment Tonight.

“When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women," she said in a statement released Saturday. "Politics aside, I'm saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 12:59am]


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