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Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump Backtracks Statement That He’s Running Against ‘The Crooked Media,’ Not Clinton

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BB&T Center, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla.

Donald Trump has partially walked back a Sunday morning statement in which he declared he is “honestly … not running against ‘Crooked Hillary. I’m running against the crooked media.”

The GOP presidential nominee, who spoke at a campaign event in Fairfield, Connecticut, later Tweeted that he is “not only fighting” against the former Secretary of State and Democratic Party presidential nominee, but also “the dishonest and corrupt media and her government protection process.”

Criticizing the media is a longstanding tradition for Trump, who has repeatedly bashed the media for being "biased" and "dishonest." He and running mate Mike Pence, the sitting governor of Indiana, accused media outlets of taking comments about Second Amendment backers out of context last week. And late in the week, Trump said he was engaging in “sarcasm” when he claimed on multiple occasions that President Barack Obama is “the founder of ISIS.”

After temporarily spiking in national polls to tie Clinton following the Republican National Convention, Trump is now nearly seven points behind his Democratic opponent in the newest Real Clear Politics polling average. However, a smartphone app designer says the polls, and Trump’s unpopularity among most demographics, are wrong.

“Based on the stats we see, he looks strong,” Ric Militi, co-founder of Crazy Raccoons, told USA TODAY late last week. Militi says his app asks questions and gauges responses from 100,000 users each day. "We're not a poll. We're a conversation, and 100% anonymous,” said Militi, which he says explains why polls would show vastly different results. "People feel comfortable answering questions without fear of being bullied or being called a racist. People can express themselves safely, and you get a pure answer."

The chief scientist for YouGov, an online poll company that works with CBS and other partners to conduct political polls, isn’t convinced. "What do they know about these people?" asked Douglas Rivers. "We worry a lot about who we're talking to."

Trump’s Sunday comments came a day after he told supporters that he is "making a big play for Connecticut." The Nutmeg State has voted Democratic since the 1988 presidential election.

Editor’s Note: Stream Associated Editor Dustin Siggins contributed to this article.

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