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The Latest: Obama says no one keeps democracy in 'suspense'

The Latest: Obama says no one keeps democracy in 'suspense'

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

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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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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