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Mitch Perry Report for 11.7.16 — Closing arguments

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In this space on Friday, we reminisced about October surprises in previous election cycles before referring to the dual bombshells that have rocked this year’s presidential election: First, the release of that 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump spoke lewdly about women, followed 10 days ago with the announcement of the discovery of hundreds of thousands of emails that could be related to the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton‘s potential violation of national security documents.

We surmised the surprises were over, but then FBI Director James Comey did what a week ago both sides said he SHOULD do — reveal more information about the nature of the emails.

Comey said during the fourth quarter of the 1 p.m. NFL games yesterday that the newly reviewed emails do not incriminate Clinton — and suddenly all of those who were praising Comey were are now condemning him.

“You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days. You can’t do it, folks,” Trump told an audience in Michigan yesterday. “Right now she is being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system,” he said.

“This confirms everything Donald Trump’s been saying about the system,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi added. “The system is dysfunctional. The system is broken. And Hillary Clinton is the system.”

Some analysts now say this latest news could benefit Trump, as it becomes further proof the system is “rigged.”

Then again, some Democrats have insisted Comey’s announcement on Oct. 28 actually reenergized THEIR base.

“We’ve seen it add to the energy on our side,” Tim Kaine told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. “People on our side view this campaign as so important, the ‘Stronger Together’ message as so important and people don’t want it to be distracted. So there has been a great uptick in energy on our side in the early vote.”

Then again, what else are running mates supposed to say?

On Fox News Sunday, Mike Pence insisted the huge numbers of Latinos flocking to the polls is really a good thing for the GOP ticket, telling host Chris Wallace he wasn’t worried that Trump’s incendiary comments about Mexicans were going to haunt the campaign now.

“I’m really not,” Pence said. “The truth is that Hispanic-Americans have the same concerns that every other American does. And we want to get this economy moving again. We want our country to be safe. I was just down in Miami this last weekend, saw overwhelming support for Donald Trump, strong stand for freedom in this hemisphere, standing strongly against what the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton want to continue to do.  “

Wallace interjected: “So, you think all those Hispanics, sir, are coming out to vote for Trump and not for Clinton?  Really?”

“No, I’m saying …. I’m saying that the American people want change,” Pence said, pivoting to his own personal anecdote to confirm his beliefs. “That’s Americans coming from every category. I literally saw it. I stopped by and had some Cuban coffee at a classic stop in Miami. Karen and I had a hard time getting through the place with people that were enthusiastic about Donald Trump’s stand for a stronger America at home and abroad, getting this economy moving, and repealing Obamacare.  “

There you have it!

In other news …

At Sunday’s “Souls to the Polls” event in East Tampa, Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober  in the race of his career — met up with a man he once defended in court on murder charges.

Donald Trump was in Tampa Saturday morning,

Lisa Montelione wants Shawn Harrison to stop airing an ad that uses footage from her own ad to depict her as being missing in action.

The Senate District 18 race between Bob Buesing, Dana Young, and Joe Redner is mercifully almost over, but there was time on Friday for all three of them to get upset with each other.

Gwen Graham is only in elected office for a few more months, but she’s determined to stay vigilant (or at least in the news) with her calls for more public information regarding that Mosaic sinkhole incident.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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