Trump alleges former Miss Universe starred in sex tape

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump lays a bouquet of flowers at the grave of former U.S. president Gerald Ford and his wife Betty Ford at the Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S. September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSQ9GC

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HARI SREENIVASAN:  The presidential campaign erupted with new broadsides today.  Donald Trump unloaded on a critic who made headlines against him this week, and Hillary Clinton fired back, all of this with the candidates about to enter the final full month before Election Day.

Donald Trump’s campaign day began long before he got to President Gerald Ford’s tomb in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Early this morning, he unleashing a storm of tweets against Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe winner.  Trump had once mocked her weight gain, and Clinton raised the issue in Monday’s debate.

Today, the Republican nominee charged Machado once starred in a sex tape, and the Clinton campaign helped her gain U.S. citizenship.  That came a day after Trump raised former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment scandal.

Machado called the charges cheap lies and said on Instagram: “The Republican candidate insists on discrediting and demoralizing a woman.”

The Clinton campaign called the allegations unhinged.

The candidate herself had an answer to Trump’s charges at an afternoon rally in Coral Springs, Florida.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  I mean, really, who gets up at 3:00 in the morning to engage in a Twitter attack against a former Miss Universe?  I mean, he hurled as many insults as he could.  I have said it before, and I will say it again:  A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not be anywhere near the nuclear codes.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Meanwhile, a Washington Post report found Trump’s charitable foundation has never had the required certification from the state of New York.  That means the group has not submitted to annual audits.  If the state attorney general finds the law was broken, he could go to court to make the foundation return money it raised.

Also today, for the first time ever, USA Today rendered judgment on a presidential race.  It branded Trump erratic, ill-equipped to be commander in chief and a serial liar, but didn’t directly endorse Clinton.

Several traditionally Republican newspapers have also come out against Trump this week.  The Trump campaign is trying to fight back, with this new TV ad.

HILLARY CLINTON:  Why aren’t I 50 points ahead, you might ask.

NARRATOR:  Maybe it’s because the director of the FBI said you lied about your e-mails.

JAMES COMEY, FBI Director:  There was classified material e-mailed.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Later today, he rallied supporters in Novi, Michigan.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  When you cast that ballot, just picture a Wall Street boardroom filled with the special interests who have bleeding your country and your city and everyplace else, and imagine the look on their faces when you tell them, you’re fired, fired.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Away from the charges and countercharges, Clinton today unveiled her new national service reserve plan in a speech in Fort Pierce, Florida.

HILLARY CLINTON:  I didn’t want this campaign to end without talking about it, because it means a lot to me.  I’m trying to end the campaign focusing on issues that are really close to my heart, and this is one of them.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  The end of the campaign comes in 39 days.

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