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A sledgehammer and a glass ceiling: offbeats from the White House race

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Hillary Clinton

Washington, United States | AFP | 

Taking a sledgehammer to Donald Trump’s Walk of Fame star, a vast glass ceiling for Hillary Clinton on Election Night and fur flies on Fox News: here is a rundown of telling moments from the campaign trail as the White House race hits its fevered final stretch.

Happy Birthday, Hillz! 

Hillary Clinton has had the hardest time whipping up passion on the campaign trail — but you wouldn’t know it from the rapturous welcome the Democrat received in Florida on her 69th birthday.

Arriving for a rally at Palm Beach State College on Wednesday, Clinton was greeted by a cheering crowd of around 400, waving flags and balloons and half-singing, half-yelling “Happy Birthday.”

Drowned out by the deafening noise, a beaming Clinton — who hits the last two weeks of the race with a lead over her Republican rival Trump — mouthed “thank you” to the crowd.

The previous evening, Clinton was sung “Happy Birthday” by a singer and Mexican back-up band — during a stint on a Spanish-language TV show — before being presented with a four-tier cake with a replica White House on top.

“What gets better than this?” asked Clinton — who later stole a few moments off the trail to take in a pre-birthday concert by pop icon Adele.

 Sledgehammer meets star 

Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has been having a rough time.

It has been smeared with excrement, daubed with a swastika and in July a street artist erected a tiny barbed-wire-topped wall around it — in a critique of Trump’s vow to build a wall on the Mexican border.

In the latest affront, the star was vandalized Wednesday with a sledgehammer and pickaxe — by a man who said he wanted to auction it for the benefit of women allegedly mistreated by the real estate mogul.

The vandal, who identified himself as James Lambert Otis, walked up to the star before dawn dressed in construction overalls and began hacking away at the gold lettering displaying Trump’s name.

Otis said he originally intended to remove the entire star from the sidewalk — but was unable to lift the paving slab.

“It was very difficult. The stone was like marble — hard to get through,” he said.

Ceiling the deal 

Clinton’s ambition extends beyond stopping Trump’s star rising — she has some sledgehammer work of her own to do: smashing the metaphorical “glass ceiling” that invisibly holds women back.

And if she manages it, she’ll celebrate the feat under a real and very large glass ceiling– that adorning the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.

The 840,000-square-foot center covers six blocks of downtown Manhattan and bills itself as America’s busiest business venue — all under a vast glass canopy.

As such, it would already be a fitting spot for a vote watch party for the former New York senator, who — despite being a former first lady of Arkansas and the nation, has made the Big Apple her home and headquarters.

But headline writers seized on the metaphorical implications of the roof, recalling that after her failed 2008 White House run, Clinton consoled herself that her votes had “made 18 million cracks” in the glass ceiling.

 ‘Mr Tough Guy’ 

For Vice President Joe Biden, sexual assault is no joking matter.

At a recent campaign stop for Clinton, Biden hit out hard at Trump over a 2005 video of him bragging about groping women with impunity — saying he wished he could “take him behind the gym” to knock sense into him.

Trump declared himself ready and eager to rise to the challenge at a rally Tuesday night.

“Did you see Biden wants to take me to the back of the barn?” he told supporters.

“Ohhhh,” Trump said with mock fear. “Some things in life you can really love doing.”

“You know when he’s Mr Tough Guy? When he’s standing behind a microphone by himself,” he taunted.

Kelly vs the Trump gang 

Trump publicly buried the hatchet in his long-running feud with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly with a face-to-face interview in May.

But late Tuesday, one of his campaign surrogates — former House speaker Newt Gingrich — took it up again with a vengeance, accusing Kelly of being sex-obsessed in an exchange that went viral.

Complaining about the media attention given to the stream of allegations of sexual misconduct facing Trump, Gingrich charged: “You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy.”

An astonished Kelly replied she was “fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office and I think the American voters would like to know.”

She then gave him a rather icy sendoff, encouraging Gingrich to “spend some time working” on his “anger issues.”

Trump seemed to feel his ally came out well from the exchange.

“Congratulations, Newt, on last night,” he said Wednesday in Washington before a crowd at his new hotel, including Gingrich. “That was an amazing interview. We don’t play games, Newt. We don’t play games.”

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