Clinton campaign pounces on Trump controversies

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at the "Retired American Warriors" conference during a campaign stop in Herndon, Virginia, U.S., October 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSQKI5

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JUDY WOODRUFF:  Thirty-six days to go, and the Trump campaign is struggling again to get back on message.  Instead, questions about Donald Trump’s taxes, treatment of women and even his charity swirled today, and his opponent was quick to strike.

John Yang has our report.

JOHN YANG:  Hillary Clinton pounced on reports that Donald Trump might have avoid income taxes because of business losses to suggest he may not be the businessman he says he is.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  Yesterday, his campaign was bragging it makes him a genius.

(LAUGHTER)

HILLARY CLINTON: Here’s my question.  What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HILLARY CLINTON:  This is Trump to a T.  He’s taking corporate excess and made a business model out of it.

JOHN YANG:  The New York Times published part of Trump’s 1995 federal tax return showing that he declared a loss of $916 million from real estate and other business failures.  That could have legally allowed him to avoid paying income taxes for 18 years.

The Clinton campaign quickly produced a TV ad on the issue.

NARRATOR:  A new report shows he may not have paid any federal taxes for almost 20 years.

HILLARY CLINTON: He didn’t pay any federal income tax.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  That makes me smart.

NARRATOR:  If he thinks that makes him smart, what does he think of you?

JOHN YANG:  Late today at a rally in Colorado, Trump fired back.

DONALD TRUMP:  As a businessman and real estate developer, I have legally used the tax laws to my benefit and to the benefit of my company, my investors and my employees.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DONALD TRUMP:  I mean, honestly, I have brilliantly — I have brilliantly used those laws.  I have often said, on the campaign trail, that I have a fiduciary responsibility to pay no more tax than is legally required, like anybody else, or, to put it another way, to pay as little tax as legally possible.

JOHN YANG:  The Republican nominee is under fire on several other fronts, including allegation that he routinely demeaned women on his reality TV show “The Apprentice.”

The Associated Press reported Trump asked some female contestants to wear shorter dresses, openly discussed which ones he would like to sleep with, and made lewd comments about women on the show and on the crew.

And the New York state attorney general, a Democrat who is backing Clinton, ordered the Trump Foundation to stop fund-raising in the state, saying it’s not properly registered.

In addition, Trump was criticized for comments made about PTSD sufferers at a forum with veterans in Virginia.

DONALD TRUMP, Presidential Nominee:  When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.

JOHN YANG:  Later, the Marine who asked the question said he found Trump’s answer thoughtful and understanding.

Republican vice presidential hopeful Mike Pence campaigned in Virginia.  Democratic running mate Tim Kaine was off the campaign trail.  They meet tomorrow night for their one and only debate.

For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.

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