WASHINGTON/NEW YORK - Donald Trump this week took his use of sordid accusations against Democrat Hillary Clinton to levels unprecedented in modern US presidential campaigns, in the latest example of the Republican's unorthodox playbook.
The presumptive Republican nominee is working to gain stronger footing and offset a big advantage Clinton is likely to have ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election - a huge campaign war chest that she and her allies intend to use to launch a barrage of attacks against him.
Trump is using the same strategy he used repeatedly during the Republican nomination fight against rivals like Ted Cruz - making incendiary statements that US television networks can't resist covering, giving him hours of free media and putting his opponents on the defensive.
The strategy may already be working.
Trump has raised more than a few eyebrows with his latest round of attacks against Clinton. He has turned history into headlines that play like a virtual reel in the 24-hour news world of cable TV and the internet.
Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowsi, said the strategy makes sense.
"Clearly, she's going to have massive amounts of money," Lewandowski told Reuters. "The difference is Mr. Trump has funded his campaign. What we've been able to do in this campaign cycle is to generate earned media based on Mr. Trump's ability to be a straight talker, and genuine and authentic, and I think that's what drives the news cycle."