- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the U.S. presidential campaign (all times local):

6:34 p.m.

A spokesman says Mike Pence is endorsing all GOP congressional incumbents who are seeking re-election even as Donald Trump hesitates to support several of the party’s most prominent members of Congress.

The mass endorsement is the latest attempt by Pence to smooth over turmoil within the Republican Party stirred by Trump in recent days.

Trump previously refused to endorse Arizona Sen. John McCain, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Before issuing the blanket endorsement Thursday, Pence on Wednesday endorsed Ryan in his GOP primary, which is next week.

___

6:21 p.m.

Donald Trump says the best deal he could negotiate as president would be “peace all over the world.” And no, Trump adds, he’s not quitting the presidential race despite one of the most difficult weeks of his campaign.

He tells a Maine newspaper that “we fought very hard, I spent tremendous numbers of hours and days and months winning…and here I am.” He adds that he’s “really happy with his standing, despite a week in which he’s clashed with Republican Party leaders, kicked a crying baby out of his rally and kept up a spat with the Muslim American parents of an Army veteran killed in Iraq.

Asked by the Portland Press Herald on Thursday what’s the best deal he could negotiate as president, Trump replied, “Peace all over the world.”

He added, “And I think I would know how to do it better than anybody else.”

___

5:39 p.m.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence spent the last year trying to avoid talk about conservative social issues. Now that he’s Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee, he’s happy to wade in.

Pence told a questioner at a town hall rally in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Thursday that civil rights protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people are best addressed at the local level - not nationally.

Pence has deep support from social conservatives. But his approval rating in Indiana took a dive after he signed a religious objections law that critics said sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians on religious grounds.

Critics viewed it as an attempt to overrule local ordinances granting LGBT civil rights protections. The law was changed to prohibit discrimination after it provoked a national backlash.

___

5:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama has a suggestion for Donald Trump and his claims that the election will be rigged: “Go out there and try to win the election.”

Obama said Trump’s recent suggestions that this fall’s election won’t be completely fair are “ridiculous.”

He added, “Of course the election will not be rigged. What does that even mean?”

Obama noted that the federal government does not run the presidential election. Rather, that’s a function carried out by states and local governments. But he said the federal government will “take seriously our responsibility” to monitor and preserve the integrity of the election and Americans’ voting rights.

___

5:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama says that Donald Trump’s suggestion that the U.S. election process is rigged is “ridiculous.”

The president addressed Trump’s comments Thursday at a White House briefing.

Trump said this week that elections are rigged after several states repealed laws that restricted the types of voter IDs that would be widely accepted at polling stations.

___

5:00 p.m.

President Barack Obama says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should receive classified security briefings as the presidential nominees because it’s both tradition and required by the law.

He adds that he expects them to “start acting like a president” and keep them secret.

Obama had been asked during a Pentagon press conference whether he is concerned about Trump getting classified security briefings as the Republican presidential nominee.

___

4:45 p.m.

Mike Pence says his running mate, Donald Trump, does not have time for the “thousands of rules of political correctness.”

The Indiana governor and Republican vice presidential nominee told a crowd on Thursday in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that Trump speaks “straight from his heart, straight from his mind.”

It was just the latest instance of Pence attempting to smooth over controversy provoked by Trump, who has feuded with the family of a slain Army captain and refused to endorse prominent Republicans facing re-election.

Earlier Pence said that he and Trump “have different styles.” And he added that his even keeled demeanor was partly intended to balance out Trump’s personality.

___

4:40 p.m.

Secret service agents stepped on stage next to Hillary Clinton after protesters interrupted a Thursday campaign rally in Las Vegas.

The protesters were animal rights activists.

“Apparently these people are here to protest Trump because Trump and his kids have killed a lot of animals,” Clinton said.

Trump has said his sons “love to hunt.” They’ve been pictured with dead exotic game animals, including a leopard and elephant tail. Killing endangered species is highly controversial and illegal in some places.

___

4:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is attacking rival Donald Trump for outsourcing at his companies, saying he’s sending overseas the very jobs he’s promised to create back at home.

Clinton said after touring an electric manufacturing company : “Everything he’s made he’s made somewhere else. He’s not put Americans to work.”

She said: “I’ve met people who were destroyed by Donald Trump, so take a look at what he’s done, not what he says.”

Clinton is campaigning in Las Vegas where she’s been talking about her economic plans. She’s been hitting Trump for manufacturing his branded products, including ties and clothing, at overseas factories.

Clinton aides see the attacks as a way to undercut Trump’s business credentials, which have formed the core of his campaign message.

___

4:15 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump is praising House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom he has thus far declined to endorse in his primary race.

Trump told supporters at a rally in Maine, that “Paul Ryan’s a good guy.”

Trump said in an interview this week that he’s “just not quite there yet” when it comes to endorsing Ryan, who has not shied away from criticizing the Republican nominee on a number of issues.

The mention of Ryan drew some boos from the crowd.

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, on Wednesday delivered a full-throated endorsement of Ryan on Wednesday, marking a break from the nominee,

Trump said Pence called him to ask if he’d mind the endorsement. “I said go ahead and do it, 100 percent,” Trump said.

He also dismissed reports that the endorsement suggested there was “a fissure” between the two.

___

4 p.m.

Protesters holding pocket U.S. Constitutions are interrupting Donald Trump’s rally in Portland, Maine.

At least three groups of protesters have stood up to voice their opposition to the Republican presidential nominee.

As one group was led out by private security officials, a Trump supporter tried to grab at the documents.

The protesters appeared to be referencing Khizr Khan, a vocal Trump critic whose son was killed in the Iraq war. Khan delivered an emotional appeal at the Democratic National Convention, holding up a copy of the Constitution as he challenged Trump.

The protesters were met by boos and chants of “USA!” from Trump supporters.

Trump’s rallies used to be marked by constant protesters, but they have died down in recent weeks.

Trump responded by saying, that he “sort of missed my protesters.”

“We need law and order,” he said.

___

3:50 p.m.

Republican Donald Trump is again referencing footage of Iranians off-loading $400 million in cash from a plane that his campaign says he didn’t see.

Trump repeated at a rally in Maine that he saw footage distributed by the Iranians showing the cash being delivered to Tehran in January.

“They want to embarrass our president” he said.

But Trump’s campaign said earlier Wednesday that Trump was simply referring to old footage shown “on all major broadcasts this morning” when he mentioned the video. That footage was not taken in Iran and did not show Iranians offloading money.

The Washington Post said the footage Trump saw was grainy nighttime video of people getting off a small plane, holding bags. “Geneva, January 17,” the footage is clearly labeled.

Trump apparently mistakenly assumed that this footage depicted the cash transfer.

___

3:35 p.m.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine says he has an answer for reporters who keep asking whether he still supports his party’s nominee, Donald Trump.

“The answer’s very simple: Yes. More than ever,” he said at a mid-day Trump rally in his state.

LePage is introducing Trump in Portland, where he is campaigning Thursday.

LePage said the media has been “very tough” on Trump since the beginning of the race, but is giving rival Hillary Clinton a “free pass.”

“They attack him every single day,” he said. “They love to sensationalize a few comments and then they make a big deal about it.”

Trump’s supporters responded to his mention of Clinton by chanting, “Lock her up!”

LePage labeled her the “queen of corruption.”

____

3:30 p.m.

A Koch brothers group is announcing a new $1 million ad buy in the Wisconsin Senate race to support Republican incumbent Ron Johnson.

The announcement Thursday comes two weeks after the group, Freedom Partners Action Fund, acknowledged it was canceling $2.2 million in ad reservations in the state. That earlier move was widely interpreted as Republicans writing off Johnson’s chances against Democrat Russ Feingold, who has led in polls.

Freedom Partners fund spokesman James Davis says the decision to get back into the race reflects “some shifts in the polls” and that it was a “false interpretation” to think the group had given up on Johnson.

Johnson is one of the most vulnerable senators this election cycle.

Billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are major donors to Republicans.

___

12:45 p.m.

A Colorado congressman is the first House Republican to expressly distance himself from Donald Trump in a campaign ad.

Rep. Mike Coffman faces a tough challenge in Colorado’s most ethnically diverse congressional seat, in suburban Denver. His Democratic opponent repeatedly compares him to Trump.

Coffman starts a new television ad talking about his party’s presidential nominee. Coffman looks at the camera and says he’s always asked about Trump and then says, “Honestly, I don’t care for him much.”

Coffman promises that if Trump is elected, “I’ll stand up to him.” Coffman adds that he would also stand up to Hillary Clinton.

The 30-second ad begins airing in Denver Friday. Politico first reported the ad.

___

12:30 p.m.

Mike Pence came under harsh questioning at a campaign event. His interrogator: an 11-year old.

At a town hall Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina, Pence, Donald Trump’s running mate, took a question from a boy who identified himself as 11-year old Matthew.

Matthew said Pence has been “softening up on Mr. Trump’s policies and words” and questioned whether that would be his role in a Trump administration. That prompted an outburst of laughter from the crowd and led Pence to predict that Matthew will be governor of North Carolina someday.

Apparently alluding to controversial comments by Trump, Pence said, “sometimes things don’t always come out like you mean.”

Pence added that he and Trump “have different styles - you might have noticed that.”

___

___

This story has been corrected to reflect Obama’s quote “Go out there and try to win the election.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide