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Analysis: Trump presses on with his presidential image in shambles

September 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

For President Donald Trump, the past week marked a terrible kickoff off to the fall campaign as he struggled to regain his balance amid multiple revelations that underscored the costly lies that he has told about the coronavirus pandemic and his breathtaking disregard for revered American military leaders.

(CNN)For President Donald Trump, the past week marked a terrible kickoff off to the fall campaign as he struggled to regain his balance amid multiple revelations that underscored the costly lies that he has told about the coronavirus pandemic and his breathtaking disregard for revered American military leaders.

Even before those developments, the President was trailing former vice president Joe Biden in the polls and was massively outraised by Biden's team in August, raising alarm among Republicans about whether the President will have enough money to match Biden's efforts through Election Day. Though Trump tried to massage and reinterpret his own words during this week's news conferences and a Thursday night rally in Michigan, Americans heard him on tape from February admitting to Woodward that the coronavirus was much more deadly than the flu and easily transmitted through the air -- while saying virtually the opposite publicly about a pandemic that has now claimed more than 192,000 American lives.

Polls show the former vice president maintaining a sizable lead nationally over Trump, with a slender edge in key battlegrounds like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states where the race appears to be tightening.

Trump is looking to heighten enthusiasm by hitting the campaign trail, from his rally in Freeland, Michigan, on Thursday -- where supporters did not socially distance and few wore masks -- to his stops in Minden, Nevada, and Las Vegas this weekend, and Wisconsin next week.

The campaign's current messaging and Biden's attempts to use Trump's comments to Woodward as a strike against the President could have a more immediate effect by galvanizing Democratic voters at the same time that the party is leading a push for them to return their ballots early.

In a recent CNN poll, 68% of Trump voters said they preferred to vote in person on Election Day compared to 21% of Biden's backers.

In one glimmer of encouragement for the Trump campaign this week, the Cook Political Report shifted two of their electoral college predictions to Trump's favor -- categorizing the state of Florida as a "toss up" rather than a state that "lean Democrat" and putting Nevada into the more competitive category of "lean Democrat" rather than "likely Democrat. "

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