- Associated Press - Friday, October 21, 2016

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

7:50 p.m.

Donald Trump is touting his plan to invest in the nation’s military, including his pledge to build a 350-ship navy, at a rally in Pennsylvania’s politically crucial Bucks County.

Trump is tells a rally crowd of several thousand that his plan represents the “largest effort at rebuilding our military since Ronald Reagan” and would help boost jobs.

Trump is also pressing the need for major investments in the nation’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges he says are “falling apart.”

He says he’d pay for the investments with a combination of funding options, including public-private partnerships and tax incentives.

Independent analysts have concluded Trump’s economic plans would add significantly to the national deficit.


7:20 p.m.

Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is asking supporters to “pray for our country” ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

The Indiana governor is telling an enthusiastic crowd in Exeter, New Hampshire, that the country’s “trying times” call for people who are “inclined to bend the knee and bow the head.”

Pence says he’s not advocating that anyone pray for any particular party, candidate or outcome - though he is urging supporters to “do everything in your power to bring New Hampshire home … for the Trump-Pence team.”

Pence made five stops Friday in New Hampshire, a busier schedule that he usually has in any one state. New Hampshire hosted the nation’s first presidential primary and delivered Trump his first victory of the primary season earlier this year.


5:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is asking undecided voters in the battleground state of Ohio to think “seriously about what you really want to see.”

Clinton is reaching out to voters in Cleveland who may be considering Donald Trump. She says she knows they may still have questions and says she wants to earn their votes.

Clinton says this election “is our chance to send a very clear, unmistakable message about what kind of country and future we want.”

Clinton’s campaign is making a strong final push in Ohio.


5:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is telling supporters in Cleveland that Donald Trump is “threatening our democracy” by saying he may not concede if he loses the presidential election.

Clinton says losing an election doesn’t feel great, but America knows the “difference between leadership and dictatorship.”

Clinton adds that the “peaceful transition of power is one of the things that sets us apart.”

Trump has said he is reserving the right to contest the results of the election if the outcome is unclear or questionable.

Clinton also says she is glad the three general election debates are over, noting that the Wednesday night faceoff was the “third and last time I will ever have to debate Donald Trump.”


5 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she will be the country’s “designated worrier” if elected to the White House.

Clinton tells a Tampa radio station that as president she will be focused on healing the country’s divides. She says voters, particularly parents, are worried about their children’s future.

Her message is, “You live your life and I will do the worrying.”

She’s vowing to be a president who helps every American, even those who don’t support her.

The interview aired shortly before Clinton took the stage for a campaign rally in Cleveland.


4:50 p.m.

Donald Trump is vowing to bring jobs back to the steel town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, as he campaigns across the state Friday.

The Republican presidential nominee is assuring a crowd of thousands that he will revive manufacturing, steel mills and coal mining if he’s elected.

Trump is blaming “stupid people” for allowing jobs to move overseas and says cities like Johnstown have seen poverty rise as other countries “got the factories and the jobs and the wealth.”

He says, “your government betrayed you and I’m going to make it right.”


4:40 p.m.

Hacked emails show Hillary Clinton’s campaign wrestled with how to announce her opposition to construction of the Keystone XL pipeline without losing the support of labor unions that supported the project.

Messages posted this week to the website of the WikiLeaks organization show debate and confusion within the Clinton camp as it faced an unexpectedly strong primary challenge from Bernie Sanders.

As Clinton prepared to come out against the pipeline last year, Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon worried in an email whether the candidate’s “newfound position” would be greeted as a cynical “attempt to project sincerity.”

The emails were stolen from the accounts of Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, the latest in a series of high-profile hacks that U.S. intelligence officials have blamed on Russia.


4:35 p.m.

Mike Pence and New Hampshire Republicans are putting up a united front despite Donald Trump being such a divisive figure in the state.

The GOP vice presidential nominee visited a Republican Party campaign office Friday in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The office is adorned both with Trump-Pence signs and regalia for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who recently declared she will not vote for Trump.

Ayotte has distanced herself from the GOP presidential nominee as she tries to withstand a challenge from Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan.

State Republican Chairwoman Jennifer Horn greeted Pence at the door. Horn was a harsh Trump critic before he won the state’s first-in-the-nation primary in February. She later congratulated Trump on winning the nomination.


4:15 p.m.

Mike Pence is mixing politics and preaching as he campaigns in battleground New Hampshire.

The Republican vice presidential nominee ditched his standard campaign speech Friday at a Christian school in Nashua, New Hampshire. He urged students, parents and teachers to “pray for our country” and vouched for his running mate, Donald Trump. He noted Trump’s first primary victory came in New Hampshire in February.

Pence spent most of a half-hour delivering a scripture-laden life lecture. He encouraged dozens of high school students to “dream big, work hard … have faith.” He told them he was about their age when he first had “it in my heart to someday represent my hometown in our nation’s capital.”

Pence later met privately with area faith leaders and visited a local Republican campaign office.


4 p.m.

Karen Pence is traveling the country alongside Mike Pence, but she doesn’t usually speak publicly as her husband seeks the vice presidency.

She made an exception Friday at a Nashua, New Hampshire, Christian school, calling on her past experience as a Christian school art teacher.

Karen Pence laughed about how tough it was for her children to attend the school where she taught. But she praised Christian education and told students “you may not realize” its benefits “until years from now when those verses you hid in your heart” resurface at “opportune moments.”

Karen Pence did not mention Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump and only in her conclusion did she reference the campaign at all. She introduced her husband as the “next vice president of the United States.”


3:50 p.m.

Tim Kaine is poking fun at Donald Trump’s erratic campaign style.

Speaking to supporters at a rally at Penn State Friday, the Democratic vice presidential nominee jabbed Trump for his lack of discipline on the campaign trail.

Kaine said: “Sometimes your best friend is your opponent’s behavior.”

Kaine specifically mocked Trump’s decision to spend time this campaign attacking Alicia Machado, a 1996 Miss Universe pageant winner.

Machado, a Venezuela-born woman who is now a U.S. citizen, has publicly supported Clinton and criticized Trump for body-shaming her.

Trump has stood by his past criticisms of Machado’s weight, saying in a recent interview with Fox News: “She gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.”


3:45 p.m.

Mike Pence is continuing a familiar routine: Donald Trump grabs headlines with a questionable, even false statement, and his running mate sets out to refashion the boss’s argument.

The latest example is the Republican nominee’s refusal to say whether he’d concede defeat if Americans choose Hillary Clinton as the next president.

Pence’s take is that it’s a media-driven firestorm, just like the related controversy over Trump’s assertions of voter fraud being a big enough problem to tilt a presidential election.

His role as Trump translator fits his larger strategy of bridging the divide between Republicans wary of Trump and the GOP nominee’s core supporters who distrust party establishment figures like Pence.

Should Trump lose, that could position Pence as a key figure in Republicans’ post-election rebuild.


3:35 p.m.

Donald Trump says the Philippine president’s shift toward closer relations with China after decades of a pro-U.S. foreign policy shows that “America has grown weak.”

The Republican presidential candidate said that the Philippines is a “very important strategic ally” and China and Russia “are probably going to take it.”

Trump made the comments during a campaign speech in North Carolina Friday as he promised to build up the “depleted” U.S. military.

Trump implied that President Barack Obama had neglected his presidential duties as he was often campaigning for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

In China Thursday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he was separating from the U.S.

But in Manila Friday, Duterte said he would not cut ties and it was in his country’s best interest to stay with America.


2:10 p.m.

A House Republican is building up on Donald Trump’s “nasty woman” remark.

Brian Babin of Texas said in a radio interview that “sometimes a lady needs to be told when she’s being nasty.”

His comments came Thursday on Alan Colmes show on Fox News Radio. He was asked about Trump calling Democratic rival Hillary Clinton “such a nasty woman” during Wednesday’s debate.

Babin tried to duck Colmes’ questions, saying he is a “genteel Southerner.” But he said “I think she has done some nasty things.”

Trump’s comments have caused a stir and some women supporting Clinton have embraced the moniker.


1:40 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky still won’t address Donald Trump’s refusal to agree to abide by the results of the presidential election.

McConnell appeared Friday at the University of Louisville, where he introduced fellow Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa.

But McConnell never mentioned Trump, and he avoided reporters’ questions as he left after the event.

McConnell, who has endorsed Trump, has criticized him over the 2005 recording in which Trump is heard bragging about groping women. But McConnell has avoided commenting about him since then, including after Wednesday night’s debate when he wouldn’t commit to accepting the election results.

House Speaker Paul Ryan also has not commented on Trump’s stance on the election results.


1:30 p.m.

Donald Trump is taking a rare swipe at Michelle Obama.

For much of the campaign, the Republican nominee has avoided directly challenging the first lady. Polls show she is far more popular than her husband or the two presidential nominees.

But at a rally Friday in North Carolina, Trump complained that “all she wants to do is campaign.” He then accused her of attacking Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries.

He added that Mrs. Obama had said that if you “can’t run your own house,” you can’t run the White House, which Trump said was aimed at the Clintons.

Mrs. Obama did make that comment but she and her husband vehemently denied it referred to the Clintons and was instead about their own attempts to balance family and politics.


1:05 p.m.

Donald Trump says that he’ll be packing his schedule with events from now until Election Day so that he won’t have any regrets.

He said he never wants to look back and think that if he’d only held one more rally, he could have won a state.

Trump was speaking in Fletcher, North Carolina at the first of three rallies Friday. He said that “win lose or draw” he’ll “be happy” with himself.

But he says that, if all his supporters come out to vote, he’ll win on Nov. 8.


12:25 p.m.

Hillary Clinton has a new ad featuring the Muslim-American father of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq.

The father, Khizr Khan, was repeatedly criticized by Donald Trump after Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

In the ad provided by a Clinton campaign official, Khan talks about his son, Capt. Humayun Khan. He says his son sought to protect his unit from a suicide bomber. He concludes by asking: “Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your America?”

The ad will air in the battleground states of Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


12:10 p.m.

Hillary Clinton appears to be displaying strength in the crucial battleground states of North Carolina and Florida among voters casting ballots before Election Day.

Data compiled by The Associated Press show she may also be building an early vote advantage in Arizona and Colorado.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, appears to be holding ground in Ohio, Iowa and Georgia. Those are important states for Trump, but not sufficient for him to win the presidency if he loses states like Florida or North Carolina.

More than 4.2 million early votes have been cast, far outpacing the rate for this period in 2012. Balloting is under way in 34 out of 37 early-voting states.

In all, more than 45 million people are expected to vote before Election Day.


11:55 a.m.

Hillary Clinton plans to meet with Black Lives Matter activists in Cleveland.

Clinton’s campaign said Friday that Clinton will meet with two activists before an early voting event in Cleveland. A campaign aide said they will discuss how to “advance equity and opportunity in the African-American community.”

The Democratic presidential candidate has promised to work on race and criminal justice issues, including reforming the justice system, improving relationships between police and communities and improving education and job opportunities.

Clinton has drawn scrutiny over husband Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill. Critics say that resulted in mass incarceration disproportionately affecting blacks. Bill Clinton, who has tangled with protesters over the issue, has acknowledged the legislation contributed to high incarceration rates of black people for nonviolent crimes.


10:35 a.m.

A new ad promoting Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire says she’s needed in the Senate “no matter who the next president is.”

The ad by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows a tactic Republicans could use widely if Donald Trump continues to sink in the polls. If his loss seems inevitable Republican down-ballot candidates may start asking voters to return them to Washington to act as a check and balance against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The Chamber ad doesn’t make that explicit argument, but opens with an image of an empty debate stage as the narrator says: “America’s future is far from certain, but no matter who the next president is, New Hampshire needs a strong voice in the U.S. Senate.”

The ad was first reported by CNN.


7:50 a.m.

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan says there were “touching moments” between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at a charity dinner that was otherwise marked by barbed remarks by the presidential candidates.

Dolan told NBC’s “Today show” Friday that at one point at the dinner, Trump leaned in and told Clinton: “You are one tough and talented woman.”

According to Dolan, Clinton responded by saying: “Whatever happens, we need to work together afterward.”

Both candidates attended the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on Thursday. That is a white-tie gala in New York that is often the last time the two presidential nominees share a stage before Election Day.

At the dinner, Dolan called his seat between Trump and Clinton the “iciest place on earth.”


3:30 a.m.

Donald Trump is stepping back only slightly from his refusal to say during his debate with Hillary Clinton whether he would concede if he loses on Election Day.

Trump now says he will accept “a clear election result” but still reserves his right to “contest or file a legal challenge” if he loses - and he says he won’t lose.

Republicans and Democrats alike criticize Trump over an attitude some contend strikes at the heart of American democracy.

While Trump maintains he will win, numerous Republican leaders concede that he is heading for defeat barring a significant shift in the campaign’s closing days. The GOP’s top concern is turning to salvaging its majority in the Senate, followed closely by worries over the Republicans’ once comfortable grip on the House.

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