- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) - Joe Biden offered a searing takedown of Donald Trump’s views on American democracy and foreign policy on Thursday and urged New Hampshire voters not to elect a “demagogue.”

“This is a time to embrace the future, appeal to the better angels of the American people,” the vice president said at a rally in Nashua, where he campaigned on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Biden focused in particular on the Republican nominee’s repeated assertions that the election is being “rigged” against him, a claim that reached new heights at Wednesday’s debate when Trump refused to say he would accept the results of the election if he lost.

Biden, like fellow Democrats and some Republicans, characterized the remarks as a threat to the core of American democracy.

“No democratic process can be sustained without a sense of trust,” Biden said. “He’s questioning not the legitimacy of our elections, (but) the legitimacy of our democracy.”

Biden went on to describe Trump as disrespectful of American intelligence officials and the U.S. military. He raised his voice to a shout when discussing Trump’s claim that intelligence officials don’t really know who is behind the hacks of Clinton campaign emails. Officials have said Russia appears to be behind the attacks in an attempt to influence the election, but Trump says he doesn’t believe that.

“He said our country has no idea,” Biden said. “What an indictment of who we are, what an indictment of our capabilities, what an indictment of our military.”

Biden then added: “Ladies and gentleman, this guy is far beyond a bad character with women.”

While he saved his firepower for Trump, Biden made a personal case for Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is running for U.S. Senate against Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Biden, unlike many Democrats, didn’t personally attack Ayotte and even said that he likes her.

But he told voters that Hassan is a true fighter for people’s best interests, pointing to her work as governor to increase job training programs and expand Medicaid.

“Our system is built on a notion of consensus,” Biden said. “Maggie knows how to do that without yielding on principle.”

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