The Latest: Clinton super PAC has best fundraising month

AP News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2016 9:50 PM
The Latest: Clinton super PAC has best fundraising month

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

8:45 p.m.

The deep-pocketed super PAC backing Hillary Clinton had its best fundraising month yet, just in time for the final stretch of the election.

Priorities USA told federal regulators Thursday that it raised nearly $25 million in September. A $6 million chunk of that came from one donor, Donald Sussman, a billionaire investor based in Florida. He's now given upward of $16 million to Priorities, which has spent more than any group except the Clinton campaign on presidential advertising.

The super PAC also picked up a pair of $2.5 million contributions, one from hedge fund manager Steve Mandel and another from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.

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9:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton isn't holding back against Donald Trump at the annual Al Smith dinner in New York.

Clinton joked that if Trump didn't like what she was saying, then he could "shout 'wrong.'" She added that she was surprised Trump let her go second because "I didn't think he'd be OK with a peaceful transition of power." And she said Trump "looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a four."

During Trump's remarks, he drew boos from the crowd as he described Clinton as "crooked."

Clinton joked, "After listening to your speech, I will also look forward to listening to Mike Pence deny that you ever said it."

Clinton also took some shots at herself. She opened by saying she had taken "a break from my rigorous nap schedule to be here."

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9:23 p.m.

After earning hearty laughs for many of his early jokes at the annual Al Smith dinner, Donald Trump appeared to lose the crowd as he crossed the line from jokes to deeply personal insults aimed at rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump was repeatedly booed when he described Clinton as corrupt and latched onto information contained in hacked emails from her staff. That included a hit on Clinton for "pretending" not to hate Catholics as she sits at a Catholic charity event.

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9:19 p.m.

Donald Trump is roasting himself and rival Hillary Clinton as he kicks off the annual Al Smith Dinner a day after the pair's final contentious debate. After suggesting that he's best known for his modesty, Trump joked that the gathering is Clinton's "largest crowd of the season."

He later took a shot at the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server as secretary of state, saying that after she bumped into him, she'd said, "pardon me."

Clinton immediately got the joke and tossed her head back to laugh.

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7:53 p.m.

Talk about an awkward dinner party.

Rivals Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have arrived and been seated at the annual Al Smith dinner in Manhattan.

But the pair declined to shake hands as they entered the room.

Clinton was introduced first, followed by Trump. The pair are sitting with just one seat between them. That's being filled by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who will be tasked with playing peace-maker.

Also seated on the dais are a host of political and business leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was quietly booed by some in the room when he walked in.

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7:15 p.m.

Donald Trump walked out of two interviews in Ohio after being asked about being labeled a racist, sexist, and accusations about sexually assaulting women.

In the first incident, Trump had been speaking with NBC4 in Columbus about his debate comments and his economic plans when the interviewer noted he'd been called sexist and racist.

"Thank you very much," Trump responded, and then proceeded to walk away.

The reporter followed up, asking how Trump would respond to those accusations.

Trump turned back and declared, "I am the least racist person you've ever met," before walking away.

The Republican presidential candidate also marched off when he was asked by the local CBS affiliate, WBNS-10TV in Columbus about the allegation from yet another woman accusing him of groping. Trump replied, "I know nothing about" it, and walked away.

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6:56 p.m.

Donald Trump's campaign blew through about $70 million last month, more than double what it spent in August.

The spree came as he contended with cratering poll numbers. New campaign finance filings show he spent more than $23 million on TV and radio advertising.

Trump showered his longtime digital firm Giles-Parscale with more than $20 million in September, nearly as much as it had been paid the entire rest of the campaign.

Another big expense last month: long-ago ousted campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who received a total of $100,000. The campaign said earlier that it was paying out the rest of his contract. He's since become a paid contributor to CNN.

Democrat Hillary Clinton's September filing is expected later on Thursday.

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6:54 p.m.

WikiLeaks is taunting Democratic vice presidential Tim Kaine and interim chairman of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile.

The organization, which has been posting stolen emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta, said in a tweet that it has a "surprise in store" for Kaine and Brazile.

Kaine ignored a reporter's questions about the tweet following a rally in Durham, North Carolina. But he has questioned the authenticity of WikiLeaks' releases and said the emails were hacked as part of an effort by the Russian government to try and influence the presidential campaign.

Republican Donald Trump has focused on a previously leaked email concerning Brazile, which he said showed that she improperly used her job at CNN to give Clinton advance warning on a question at a debate.

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6:35 p.m.

The blunt-spoken Maine governor who described himself as "Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular" has advice for the Republican presidential nominee: "Get over yourself."

Republican Gov. Paul LePage made the remark on WGAN-AM on Thursday after hearing Trump has declined to commit to accepting the election results. He called Trump's comments an "absolute stupid move" and advised him to "take your licks and let's move on."

LePage saved his harshest criticism for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He described her campaign as a "criminal enterprise" and said she's "buying the country."

He says he agrees with Trump that the election is "rigged." But he says it's because the media have given Clinton "a free pass."

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6:05 p.m.

Michelle Obama says that Donald Trump's refusal to say he'd accept Nov. 8 election results if he loses is an insult to millions of Americans who are voting in the presidential election.

She told more than 7,000 supporters of Hillary Clinton in Phoenix that Americans decide elections and Trump was threatening to "ignore our voices and reject the outcome of this election." The first lady said that's the same as "threatening the very idea of America itself."

Mrs. Obama is in Arizona, which has voted for Republican presidential candidates since 1952 — except for 1996, when it chose Democrat Bill Clinton. Polls show Trump and Clinton running close there with fewer than three weeks until Election Day.

Trump said during Wednesday's debate that he'll keep the nation "in suspense" about whether he'll accept the vote outcome.

Mrs. Obama says: "You don't keep American democracy in suspense."

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5:35 p.m.

Michelle Obama says Donald Trump can't see the human beings inside people who are different from him.

She told a crowd in Phoenix that "maybe that's why he calls communities like the one where I was raised, 'hell:' Because he can't see all the decent, hardworking folks like my parents." She suggested that Trump's life in a tower in New York City has kept him away from regular Americans.

The first lady was born in Chicago to a city water plant employee and a homemaker. Michelle Obama went to Princeton and Harvard, where she got her law degree.

She was campaigning for Democrat Hillary Clinton in Arizona, a state that has voted for Republican presidential candidates since 1952 — with the exception of Democrat Bill Clinton in 1996.

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5:17 p.m.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence says he and Donald Trump will "accept a clear result" on Nov. 8.

The Indiana governor told an enthusiastic crowd in Reno, Nevada, on Wednesday that the media is exaggerating Trump's statements that he might not concede defeat to Hillary Clinton even if she wins.

Pence told Reno crowd that just "as Donald Trump said earlier today in Ohio ... we will accept a clear election result" but also "reserve the right" to challenge a "questionable result."

Trump did use almost those exact words in Delaware, Ohio, on Wednesday. But the nominee also said he "will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win."

Pence did not address that caveat in his Nevada remarks.

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4:47 p.m.

President Barack Obama is encouraging voters at a rally in Florida to take advantage of voting early, beginning Monday, saying you can "reject somebody who proves himself unfit to be president every single day in every single way."

Obama is referring to Donald Trump as he stumps for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at Florida Memorial University.

Obama says he doesn't believe Trump represents the values of Florida. He says Trump hasn't paid employees who have worked for him in the past, and he's not releasing his tax returns as other major party candidates have done in recent decades.

Obama is also criticizing Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for continuing to support Trump even though he's called Trump a "con artist," calling it the height of cynicism. "Come on man," Obama says.

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3:20 p.m.

The top spokesman for Al Gore's 2000 White House bid says Donald Trump's lieutenants are misrepresenting history.

Trump advisers point to Gore's 2000 recount battle with George W. Bush as a precedent for Trump refusing to say he'll concede if Hillary Clinton wins Nov. 8. Gore conceded to Bush on election night 2000 but retracted amid a razor-thin finish in Florida.

Chris Lehane noted that Florida law triggered an initial recount. He said Gore never questioned "the legitimacy of the election" process before Election Day or during the recount.

When the Supreme Court later stopped the recount, Lehane noted Gore gave a speech within hours "making clear that Bush was the legitimately elected president."

Lehane highlighted another difference: Gore won the national popular vote. Polls show Trump clearly trailing Clinton.

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2:50 p.m.

A Catholic leader in Kansas, where Tim Kaine grew up, is calling the vice presidential candidate an "orthodox" Democrat and a "cafeteria Catholic."

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City said in his weekly column that Kaine is "picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient." Kaine grew up in Overland Park and attended a Jesuit high school in nearby Kansas City, Missouri.

At times, his governing choices as Virginia's governor and senator have been interpreted to run directly against his Catholicism.

Kaine is morally opposed to the death penalty but signed off on 11 executions during his four years as governor. After opposing gay marriage in his 2005 gubernatorial run, he later supported it. He's personally against abortion but has consistently voted in favor of abortion rights.

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2:40 p.m.

Joe Biden is offering a searing takedown of Donald Trump's views on American democracy and foreign policy.

The vice president says Trump's claim the election may be "rigged" is an attack on "the very essence" of democracy. Biden was speaking Thursday in New Hampshire while campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

Biden said Trump's assertion in Wednesday's debate that the U.S. doesn't know who is behind hacks of the Clinton campaign emails undermines the legitimacy of U.S. intelligence officials. They've said Russia appears to be behind the attacks. Trump says he does not believe that.

Biden said, "Ladies and gentlemen this guy is far beyond a bad character with women."

Biden also said Trump has made so many "asinine assertions" that a debate over policy ideas has been drowned out.

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2:25 p.m.

Tim Kaine says there needs to be greater voter protection efforts because of Donald Trump's refusal to say he will accept the results of next month's election, regardless of who wins.

The Democratic vice presidential nominee said he does not expect there to be there to be trouble with voter intimidation on Election Day. But said the Hillary Clinton campaign will be well-prepared in case there is.

Kaine said: "We can't just take it as a joke when somebody like Donald Trump is attacking a very pillar of our democracy."

Campaigns typically use volunteer poll watchers to ensure voting laws are followed on Election Day.

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2:10 p.m.

The No. 3 Senate Republican is criticizing Donald Trump for refusing to say he'll accept the results of next month's election.

John Thune of South Dakota said in a statement Thursday that America's electoral process is "the cornerstone of our democracy" and that "suggesting otherwise undermines an electoral system that is a model for nations around the world."

Thune did not mention Trump by name. At Wednesday's debate, the Republican presidential nominee refused to commit to accepting election results, citing unsubstantiated concerns about massive voter fraud.

Thune has wavered in support of Trump. He had said Trump should withdraw from the race after a video surfaced of Trump crudely talking about grabbing women. But Thune later said he would still vote for Trump.

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1:50 p.m.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has expressed confidence in the American election system, saying she doesn't see a threat to the integrity of the outcome.

Lynch spoke in Rome on Thursday, the day after Donald Trump refused to say whether he would honor the results of the election should he lose.

She told reporters that all 50 states have tools in place to protect voting systems "from attacks and hacks and the like." She added that it would be very difficult for "any outside actor to try to actually impact or alter election results."

Lynch says officials would investigate allegations of interference, but "at this point I don't think that it is helpful to speculate about what has not occurred, and we don't see as an actual threat."

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1:40 p.m.

A group supporting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's candidacy is airing advertising in Georgia.

That's a sign that the normally Republican-leaning state is now viewed as competitive with less than three weeks left until Election Day.

Priorities USA officials say the group has reserved roughly $2 million in advertising in Georgia. Its first ad will feature the parents of a girl who has a congenital birth defect. The couple express disdain for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's on-camera mockery of a New York Times reporter with a different congenital condition that impairs his limb movement.

The ad was first run in June by the group in more typical battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida. The advertising comes as Republican pollsters say Clinton is competing neck-and-neck with Trump in Georgia.

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1:28 p.m.

Hacked emails show Hillary Clinton personally pushed for a Clinton Foundation summit in Morocco last year that stoked public controversy over her family charity's reliance on large sum donations from foreign governments.

Clinton confidant Huma Abedin bluntly said in the January 2015 email that "if HRC was not part of it, meeting was a non-starter" and then warned: "She created this mess and she knows it."

It was uncharacteristic remark from an aide known for her abiding loyalty to Clinton over the years.

The hacked email was among more than 4,000 messages posted Thursday on the website of the WikiLeaks organization. The emails were stolen from the accounts of John Podesta, the chairman of the Democratic nominee's presidential campaign.

The king of Morocco committed $12 million to host the event.

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1:20 p.m.

First lady Michelle Obama is emerging as perhaps the most effective Donald Trump critic in the Democrats' lineup and she's done it without ever uttering two key words: Donald Trump.

The first lady has never mentioned the Republican presidential nominee's name, in the five speeches she's given campaigning for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and isn't expected to today when she headlines a rally in Arizona.

As close as she's come is referring to "a candidate" or "this candidate," while dedicating much of her time to a searing indictment of Trump's words and positions.

The Clinton campaign and Obama's staff are reluctant to discuss the motives for the obvious omission. But Obama's rhetoric shows her trying to balance her position of first lady -- a figure long viewed as out of the political fray -- while also holding back little in a race she clearly feels strongly about.

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