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In Iowa, Stormy Daniels' lawyer says Democrats must fight

AP  |  Clear Lake (US) 

Michael Avenatti, the self-styled provocateur taking on the for porn actress Daniels, has told Democrats that the party needs a bare-knuckle fighter to take back the and he's considering formally casting himself in the role.

In a political scene unthinkable just months ago, was the at the Democratic in Clear Lake, Iowa, a traditional stop for presidential hopefuls. His remarks came after a tour through the early-voting state that included a visit to the state fair and meetings with key Democratic officials.

"What I fear for this that I love is that we have a tendency to bring nail clippers to gunfights," told an enthusiastic crowd in the and Museum.

"Tonight I want to suggest a different course. I believe that the must be a party that fights fire with fire." He added, "When they go low, I say, we hit harder."

It was a reversal of former First Lady Michelle Obama's declaration at the 2016 Democratic Convention, "When they go low, we go high." In an interview, said: "At that point in time, for what she was speaking about, I think that was the right message. But as we sit here now, that approach clearly will not work."

Known for his combative cable appearances, Avenatti offered a relatively traditional political address that stressed his record as a self-made businessman, for underdogs and a formidable foe to

He stressed his support for "for all" and "sensible gun control." And he dubbed Trump a "con man" and his presidency a "Dumpster fire." Organizers of which has drawn heavy hitters like and in past years said he boosted ticket sales.

Avenatti said his visit to the State Fair included a stop at the butter cow a cow sculpted in butter two pork chops on a stick and plenty of conversation with people who recognized him and encouraged him to keep going. He strolled the fairgrounds drinking beer from a plastic cup and traded the gray suit for a blue gingham long-sleeved shirt and jeans, the typical dress code of a visiting

"I've learned that the people of are fairly receptive to me and receptive to my message," said Avenatti, who plans to visit early-voting in the next few weeks and will return to

Novelty candidates are nothing new to politically savvy Iowans. Indeed, Trump who did not win the but did win the state in the 2016 was a reality star before he took to the campaign trail. said Avenatti could have a similar effect, noting: "You have Trump, who opened up doors for people who never entered a political arena before. has done the same thing."

The similarities between Avenatti and his chosen nemesis don't stop there. Like Trump, Avenatti is a brash political outsider with a natural talent for cable television news, a blistering feed and a knack for a catchy slogan. He has turned those tools against Trump as he represents and a growing list of critical clients.

Avenatti shared the stage yesterday with Ohio Rep Tim Ryan, Maryland Rep. and Many top-tier prospects including former Vice and Sens. of Vermont, of Massachusetts, of New Jersey, of and of are avoiding Iowa so far.

Amid his growing profile, Avenatti continues to represent Daniels, whose real name is She has said she had sex with Trump in 2006, months after his third wife gave birth to their son, but Trump has denied it. Days before the 2016 presidential election, was paid $130,000 to stay silent in a deal handled by Trump's She is suing to invalidate the nondisclosure agreement.

Asked if would support his presidential bid, Avenatti said, "I think that she's very supportive of the idea." Avenatti's reach has extended. In recent weeks, he has protested Trump in London, accepted an award in and visited children in who had been separated from their parents at the US border. He expects to devote more time to events in the coming weeks.

Asked about a potential Avenatti bid, CeCe Ibson, 54, a from Des Moines, was cautious, saying she wanted to hear from him but stressing that "it's very early." Beverly and of City, Kansas, said they don't usually attend political events, but they drove five and a half hours to see Avenatti.

"I wanted to see him in person because I think he might be president one day," said Beverly Carlson, 66.

Her husband, 64, added, "I think it's going to take somebody like him to beat Trump.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, August 11 2018. 08:55 IST