No re­grets, Trump vows; Clin­ton eyes his sup­port­ers

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OBITUARIES - By Josh Le­d­er­man and Cather­ine Lucey

CLEVE­LAND >> Hil­lary Clin­ton ramped up her pres­sure on Don­ald Trump in the elec­tion’s most com­pet­i­tive states Fri­day with an emo­tional TV ad tar­get­ing his crit­i­cism of a Mus­lim-Amer­i­can fam­ily. Trump vowed to go all-out in the fi­nal three weeks so he’ll have no re­grets — even if he loses.

The nom­i­nees re­trenched be­hind fa­mil­iar ar­gu­ments a day af­ter ap­pear­ing to­gether at a char­ity event that veered into cut­ting per­sonal at­tacks, an un­ex­pected metaphor for this year’s take-no-pris­on­ers pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. Clin­ton’s new ad fea­tures Khizr Khan, whom Trump as­sailed af­ter Khan spoke at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

In the minute-long ad, which Clin­ton’s cam­paign said was air­ing in seven bat­tle­ground states, Khan retells how his son, Cap­tain Hu­mayun Khan, died in Iraq seek­ing to pro­tect his U.S. mil­i­tary unit from a sui­cide bomber.

“Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your Amer­ica?” the fa­ther asks, tear­ing up as the ad fades to black.

Trump fo­cused some of his crit­i­cism on Michelle Obama, who has emerged as one of the most ef­fec­tive voices for Clin­ton. One of the coun­try’s most pop­u­lar Democrats, the first lady for years has been loath to de­vote sig­nif­i­cant time to cam­paign­ing, but has done so in re­cent days with sear­ing in­dict­ments of Trump’s treat­ment of women.

“All she wants to do is cam­paign,” Trump said as he ral­lied sup­port­ers in North Carolina. He cited com­ments Mrs. Obama made dur­ing her hus­band’s 2008 cam­paign in which she said some­one who can’t run their own house can’t run the White House. “She’s the one that started that,” Trump said.

The typ­i­cally self-as­sured Trump was un­usu­ally can­did about the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing the elec­tion, a prospect that’s grown in like­li­hood as Clin­ton so­lid­i­fies her lead in bat­tle­ground states that will de­cide the elec­tion. Trump said he is pack­ing his sched­ule with cam­paign events through Elec­tion Day so he will know he spared no ef­fort even if ul­ti­mately un­suc­cess­ful.

“I will be happy with my­self,” he said.

Trump and Clin­ton were still sharply at odds over his un­prece­dented as­ser­tion in the fi­nal de­bate on Wed­nes­day that he may not con­cede if he loses.

She said Fri­day at a Cleve­land cam­paign stop, “Make no mis­take, by do­ing that, he is threat­en­ing our democ­racy.” She said that Amer­ica knows “the dif­fer­ence be­tween lead­er­ship and dic­ta­tor­ship.”

Trump, mean­while, has said he’s merely re­serv­ing the right to con­test the re­sults if the out­come is un­clear or ques­tion­able. Un­der­pin­ning his threat is his con­tention — pre­sented with no ev­i­dence — that the elec­tion is “rigged” against him and may be soiled by wide­spread voter fraud. He’s urged sup­port­ers to “mon­i­tor” polling places for po­ten­tial shenani­gans.

Fan­ning those flames, Rus­sia’s gov­ern­ment has asked Ok­la­homa and two other states to al­low Rus­sian of­fi­cials to be present at polling sta­tions on Elec­tion Day, to study the “US ex­pe­ri­ence in or­ga­ni­za­tion of vot­ing process.” Al­le­ga­tions by the U.S. gov­ern­ment that Rus­sia is try­ing to in­flu­ence the elec­tion by hack­ing Demo­cratic groups has fed a Clin­ton camp claim that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin is sid­ing with Trump.

The Ok­la­homa sec­re­tary of state’s of­fice said Fri­day it had de­nied the Rus­sian re­quest, in line with state law. At the White House, press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest said it was un­clear what Moscow was try­ing to do.

“It’s ap­pro­pri­ate that peo­ple might be sus­pi­cious of their mo­tives,” Earnest said.

Early vot­ing is un­der­way in more than 30 states. Clin­ton, reach­ing for vot­ers who may be re­con­sid­er­ing their sup­port for Trump, said in Ohio that she knows they still have ques­tions about her. “I want to an­swer them,” she said. “I want to earn your vote.”

With the fi­nal de­bate be­hind them, the two can­di­dates ap­peared to­gether Thurs­day night for likely the last time in the cam­paign, at a Catholic fundraiser that turned un­usu­ally hos­tile.

At the din­ner, a tra­di­tion in­tended as a dis­play of na­tional unity, Trump drew boos when he re­ferred to Clin­ton be­ing “so cor­rupt” and said with­out ap­par­ent hu­mor that she was ap­pear­ing at the event “pre­tend­ing not to hate Catholics.”

But Car­di­nal Ti­mothy Dolan, the New York arch­bishop seated be­tween them at the din­ner, de­scribed a less an­tag­o­nis­tic mo­ment back­stage af­ter he in­vited them to pray.

“Af­ter the lit­tle prayer, Mr. Trump tuned to Sec­re­tary Clin­ton and said, ‘You know, you are one tough and tal­ented woman,’ and he said this has been a good ex­pe­ri­ence,” Dolan told NBC’s “To­day” on Fri­day. “And she said, ‘Don­ald, what­ever hap­pens, we need to work to­gether after­wards.’”

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton ar­rives to board her cam­paign plane at Westch­ester County Air­port in White Plains, N.Y., on Fri­day to travel to Cleve­land for a rally.

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