Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Target Each Other’s Vulnerabilities

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton targeted each other’s political vulnerabilities Wednesday, with the GOP presidential nominee questioning his Democratic rival’s ethics and honesty while Mrs. Clinton stoked doubts about his unpredictability.

In Virginia, Mr. Trump accused Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle of engaging in a “pay for play” way of doing business, citing emails released Tuesday  that  showed top Clinton Foundation officials seeking access to the State Department for major foundation donors while she was secretary of state.

“It’s called pay for play and some of these were really, really bad and illegal,” he said.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Mrs. Clinton harked back to remarks Mr. Trump made Tuesday about “Second Amendment people” that critics said could be interpreted as inviting gun owners to commit violence against her.

She condemned Mr. Trump for “his casual inciting of violence” and said, “Donald Trump simply doesn’t have the temperament to be president and commander in chief of the United States.”

Both attacks fit into the rivals’ campaign playbooks and are in tune with weaknesses exposed by polling.

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found deep voter concerns about Mr. Trump’s temperament, with only 16% of registered voters ranking him as having the right temperament to be president and just 23% saying he was knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency.

Mrs. Clinton’s soft spot is on the issue of trust—only 22% of those surveyed viewed her as being honest and straightforward, while 56% rated her poorly on those qualities.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump set off a firestorm when he referred to Mrs. Clinton’s potential to nominate Supreme Court justices with antigun leanings and said, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people—maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The Clinton campaign and others lodged loud objections that his comments could be interpreted as a call for violent action. One of the main differences between herself and Mr. Trump, she said, is that he doesn’t appreciate that loose rhetoric “can have tremendous consequences.”

“Words matter, my friends,” she said. “And if you are running to be president or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences. Yesterday we witnessed the latest in a long line of casual comments from Donald Trump that cross the line,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Trump allies said he was urging them to flex their political muscle, and that his words were misinterpreted by Democrats to create a controversy.

The New York businessman didn’t directly bring up the flap but seemed to refer to it at Wednesday’s rally, saying the media “can take a little story that isn’t a story and make it into a big deal,” before pivoting to a call to protect the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

Mr. Trump focused greater attention on another Tuesday event: the release of 296 pages of emails from Mrs. Clinton’s personal server, including many that weren’t handed over to the government as part of the Democratic nominee’s archive.

The documents were obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative group, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

In one exchange, a Clinton Foundation official asked top aides to Mrs. Clinton to set up a meeting between a State Department official and Gilbert Chagoury, who donated between $1 million and $5 million to the foundation, according to its disclosures.

“We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re Lebanon,” Doug Band, a Bill Clinton aide who helped launch the foundation, wrote in April 2009. “As you know, he’s key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp.”

The Clinton campaign said in a statement that the emails in the exchange don’t “involve the Secretary or relate to the Foundation’s work. They are communications between her aides and the President’s personal aide...”

A campaign spokesman added that Mr. Chagoury had been seeking to offer the State Department his insights on the Lebanese election, rather than looking to elicit any official action.

As Mrs. Clinton addressed some 1,650 people at the Iowa rally, she got a rare scare.

An animal-rights activist jumped a metal barrier and started toward the stage where Mrs. Clinton was speaking. The activist was wrestled to the ground and several Secret Service agents protectively rushed toward Mrs. Clinton. The candidate seemed unfazed and continued speaking.

A spokeswoman for a group called Direct Action Everywhere said the protester’s intent was to use “disruptive tactics” to draw attention to abuse of animals.

Mrs. Clinton’s “animal rights platform only goes so far as to treat animals slightly better before we kill them,” said Eva Hammer. She said the protester, had she reached the lectern, would have asked Mrs. Clinton why she supports the “exploitation of animals.”

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