- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine kicked off a three-city swing through the key battleground state of Pennsylvania Tuesday by openly questioning Donald Trump’s health, suggesting that the Republican presidential candidate is hiding something from the American people.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Erie, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee said voters should demand more information from the billionaire businessman before casting their votes.

“When someone is trying out for the most powerful position in the world, looking at their past history and behavior is the best indicator of what they’ll end up doing,” Mr. Kaine said. “We want to know they’re in good enough health to perform their duties. When candidates are on the up and up they have no problem disclosing information on all these points … We’ve never had a candidate quite like Donald Trump. He has no comparable public record, so we know less about him than we know about other candidates in modern history. And that makes these questions about his finances, about his taxes, about his foreign connections, about his health, even more urgent than usual.”

Mr. Trump has said he is under audit and therefore cannot release tax returns. Last week, reports surfaced that the candidate’s doctor spent just five minutes writing a letter that said Mr. Trump would be the healthiest president in history.

Earlier this week, Mr. Trump tweeted that he has “no problem” releasing detailed medical records and challenged Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton to do the same. The Clinton campaign has brushed off rumors that the former first lady is in poor health.

In addition to using it to bash Mr. Trump, Mr. Kaine’s two-day tour of the Keystone State also underscores just how big a prize Pennsylvania is for both campaigns. Both Mr. Kaine and Mrs. Clinton have held multiple rallies in the state over just the past month. Mr. Kaine also spoke in Lancaster Tuesday night and will appear in Bethlehem on Wednesday.

Mr. Kaine and Mrs. Clinton also have held rallies in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Johnstown, Scranton, and other major Pennsylvania cities.

“Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, is key to us winning” the election, Mr. Kaine told the crowd in Erie.

Polling shows that the Democrats are on their way to winning the state on Nov. 8. A Monmouth University poll released Tuesday showed Mrs. Clinton leading Mr. Trump by 8 percentage points, 48 to 40.

“It looks like Clinton’s got a friend in Pennsylvania, particularly in the Philly suburbs,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “A key factor boosting Clinton’s support there is that about half of white voters in this region have a college degree, compared to just over one-third in the rest of the state.”

The Democratic nominee had a 62 percent to 29 percent lead in the seven congressional districts that include the city of Philadelphia and surrounding suburbs, according to the polling analysis. President Obama carried that region by a 62 percent to 37 percent margin four years ago en route to carrying the state over 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney by about 5 points.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, outperformed Mr. Romney in the northeastern and central part of the state, and his 7-point advantage in the western part of the state was comparable to Mr. Romney’s 8-point margin there in 2012.

No Republican has won Pennsylvania since 1988, when former President George H.W. Bush carried the state.

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