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Donald Trump campaigns in North Carolina and Pennsylvania on Friday. Hillary Clinton heads to the battleground state of Ohio.

  • Khizr Khan, father of slain Army captain,asks, 'Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your America?'
  • Hillary Clinton's campaign worried about aligning too closely with Tom Steyer
  • A crowd at a New York charity dinner booed Trump
  • Add Michael Steele to the list of Republicans not supporting Trump
  • Both Democrats and Republicans denounced and criticized Trump's after he said he wouldn't accept losing

Donald Trump set to speak in Gettysburg to outline first 100 days should he be elected

 (Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)
(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

Donald Trump is headed to Gettysburg, Pa., on Saturday to deliver his closing argument to the American people. 

Aides to the Republican presidential nominee told reporters late Friday that Trump will outline important issues he will address in the early days of his presidency should he be elected.

"Mr. Trump wants to lay out his solutions and his goals for the first 100 days," Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, said. "Change needs to come rapidly. ... What he pledges tomorrow and what he talks about on the campaign trail will form the basis for his presidency."

Aides did not release details of Trump's speech, and time for any sort of campaign reboot or turnaround seems to be dwindling. In several battleground states early voting is underway and polls show Trump struggling in his path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.  

In Pennsylvania, where Trump is set to hold two of his three rallies on Saturday, he trails Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by about 6 percentage points based on an average of polls from the state. 

As for any significance to Trump's speech in Gettysburg, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his 1863 address at the dedication of a cemetery for fallen Civil War soldiers, Trump's campaign said it is, among other things, a great location to remember military veterans.

Indiana State Police chief reports cases of voter fraud

Indiana’s top cop suggested Friday that investigators had uncovered many instances of voter fraud in the state, an allegation that adds fuel to a fiery debate over whether elections are “rigged” and subject to abuse.

Indiana State Police Supt. Douglas Carter said in a local TV interview that Gov. Mike Pence “absolutely did not misspeak” this week when he warned supporters of potential voter fraud during a campaign stop in Nevada. Carter said he believed there was voter fraud in “every state,” including Indiana. 

Carter refused to provide details about how many instances of voter fraud police have found, or the exact nature of the fraud — whether investigators found, for example, cases of people registering to vote multiple times or whether those ineligible to vote tried to register.

Column: Trump asks to exclude his comments about the Trump University judge from the Trump University trial

 (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

We may need a new definition of “chutzpah.”

Donald Trump targeted federal Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel in an an extended series of bigoted rants this summer, asserting that Curiel couldn’t rule fairly in cases alleging fraud by Trump University because of the judge’s Mexican heritage. “I’m building a wall,” Trump explained at one point to CNN’s Jake Tapper. 

Now that the case is heading toward trial, Trump is asking the same judge to exclude those comments from evidence in the case. In a motion filed Thursday in San Diego federal court, Trump's attorneys maintain that his own comments are “extraneous” and would be “irrelevant, and prejudicial.” Remarkably, they say that the plaintiffs in the case, who include students claiming they were ripped off by the so-called “university,” will use those statements “in an attempt to inflame and prejudice the jury.” Curiel has set a hearing on the motion for Nov. 10, two days after election day. Trial is set to begin Nov. 28.

Watch: Donald Trump rallies supporters in Newtown, Pa.

Clinton hits the ground in Ohio, encouraged by early voting numbers

 (Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images)
(Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton held her first campaign rally since the presidential debates came to a close earlier this week and the campaign moved into its final, frantic stretch. She chose Cleveland as the site, with her campaign feeling increasingly optimistic about its chances in Ohio.

Encouraging early voting numbers and the Democratic nominee’s strong performance in the debates drew Clinton to this battleground, which polls show is close to a dead heat.

“Ohio is a symbol of the progress we have made,” Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon said before she took the stage. He said Clinton is positioned to perform even better than President Obama did in driving early voting turnout in Ohio in 2012.  

“They have an internal civil war on the GOP side on the ground here in Ohio,” Fallon said. “We think that will only enhance our advantage. … The wind is at our backs.”

At the community college rally, Clinton took aim at Donald Trump’s suggestion during this week’s final debate that he may not accept the election results if he loses.

“By doing that, he is threatening our democracy,” she said. “We know in our country the difference between leadership and dictatorship, and the peaceful transition of power is one of the things that sets us apart. It is one of the things that holds us together.”

As the candidates battle for the votes of Ohio’s blue-collar workers hard hit by mass layoffs as globalization took hold in recent decades, Clinton accused Trump of adding to their problems through his business practices.

“Donald likes to say he is on the side of American workers, but his actions tell a different story,” Clinton said. “He has been buying cheap Chinese-made aluminum steel for his construction projects, when he should be buying good American steel that supports good American jobs. I’m going to let Donald try to explain it himself to the steelworkers filing for unemployment.”

Clinton also seemed to be looking beyond election day during her address Friday, turning her comments toward her goal of uniting voters of all ideologies as the end of this bitter race nears.

“I know you may still have questions for me,” she said. “I respect that. I understand. I want to to earn your vote.”

Trump finally responds to Michelle Obama: 'All she wants to do is campaign'

Donald Trump waited more than a week after Michelle Obama gave one of the most talked-about speeches of the campaign. But Friday, he finally responded.

“All she wants to do is campaign,” Trump said during a rally at a fairgrounds in North Carolina.

"But wasn't she the one that originally started the statement, ‘If you can't take care of your home — right — you can’t take care of the White House or the country'?"

Trump was referring to a comment Obama made eight years ago, during the Democratic primary. She had been talking about families and said, "If you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House," a remark some took as a slight against Hillary Clinton and her marriage to President Clinton.

Obama has denied that she was referring to the Clintons.

“She's the one that started that,” Trump added. “I said, 'We can’t say that, it’s too vicious.’”

The White House seems to have been anticipating an attack from Trump, perhaps even wishing for it, given that Obama’s approval rating in polls surpasses her husband's and those of both candidates running for president.

"I can’t think of a bolder way for Donald Trump to lose even more standing than he already has by engaging the first lady," Eric Schultz, deputy White House press secretary, told reporters last week.

WikiLeaks says top aide once wrote of Hillary Clinton's relationship with Al Gore: 'It's bad'

 (Mike Stocker / TNS)
(Mike Stocker / TNS)

So how exactly do those close to Hillary Clinton describe her relationship with Al Gore?

“It's bad,” top Clinton aide Huma Abedin apparently wrote in an email late last year. “There is no love lost in this relationship.”

The frank talk about tension between Clinton and the man who served as her husband’s vice president emerged in the latest batch of WikiLeaks disclosures Friday. The comments, revealed in a string of emails hacked from campaign chair John Podesta’s inbox, come into the public eye after Gore waited until the presidential race was almost over to finally endorse Clinton, which he did recently in Florida.

The Clinton campaign is declining to confirm or deny the authenticity of any of the WikiLeaks messages, which they charge were given to the organization by Russian operatives.

In the exchange involving Gore, Clinton’s advisors were discussing Gore’s refusal to make an early endorsement.

Clinton advisor Cheryl Mills expressed irritation with Gore: “He clearly expected her to endorse him" when he ran for president in 2000, Mills wrote. Abedin reminded her that Gore refused to endorse Clinton in 2008.

“I know that’s why I thought this time would be different,” Mills responded.

Hillary Clinton was advised to change her email system because her messages kept landing in spam folders

 (Kevin Lamarque / Associated Press)
(Kevin Lamarque / Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton has said she started using a private email address instead of a government account as secretary of State because it was more convenient, but newly released messages show it wasn't necessarily that easy. 

In fact, Clinton's emails kept winding up in people's spam folders, meaning messages from the country's top diplomat were sometimes getting missed.

"This is not a good system," she wrote to Huma Abedin, one of her closest aides, in November 2010.

Abedin wrote back later that day.

"We should talk about putting you on state email or releasing your email address to the department so you are not going to spam," she wrote. 

Abedin, who often helped Clinton troubleshoot tech problems, said the problem is "not the phone message system, its [sic] the device delay."

The messages were released by the State Department on Friday afternoon in response to a public records request.

Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Clinton, said the problem was resolved soon after these emails were exchanged, preventing Clinton's emails from being caught in spam filters. 

This story has been updated with a comment from Clinton's spokesman. 

Hillary Clinton backs black activists and urges healing after election

 (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton praised the Black Lives Matter movement and reflected on the rifts exposed by this year's presidential election in an interview with a Florida hip-hop and R&B radio station that was aired Friday afternoon.

Clinton, who was also meeting with black activists during her campaign stop in Ohio, said they've helped "confront systemic racism in America.”

“I’ve met with them, I’ve listened to them -- they’ve come up with a lot of recommendations," she said. "I think they’ve played a very constructive role."

Black Lives Matter has been criticized by some conservatives, who consider the movement to be anti-police, but Clinton has embraced its goal of reducing the number of black men who are shot and killed by law enforcement.

Clinton said it was "exciting and it’s humbling" to potentially become the country's first female president, adding that she regrets "how divisive" the campaign has been. 

“I’ve got to figure out how we heal these divides," she said. "It’s really heartbreaking to me that we have so much potential in front of us as a nation. The last thing we need to be is engaged in hateful rhetoric and bigotry and bullying.”

Clinton added, “Maybe that’s a role that’s meant to be for my presidency, if I’m so fortunate to be there.”

 

A year after passing on a presidential run, Biden is a determined Trump foe nonetheless

 (Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press via AP)
(Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press via AP)

Exactly one year ago, Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not run for president. But if there were any thought he might not inject himself into the campaign with typical vigor, he's put it to rest with a campaign schedule on behalf of Hillary Clinton and Democratic Senate candidates as busy as anyone's.

But that doesn't mean he's happy about the way the campaign is going. In fact, the famously blunt Biden is casting the choice before voters in especially stark terms, casting Donald Trump as either "stupid" or "dangerous" -- perhaps even both.

"The press always asks me, 'Don't I wish I were debating him?'" he said at a campaign event near his home town of Scranton, Pa., on Friday. 

"No I wish we were in high school. I could take him behind the gym."

There's no doubt that Biden's hope of being president himself did not fade after he became vice president. He was openly exploring the idea at the start of his second term until family crisis -- his son Beau's cancer diagnosis and ultimately untimely death -- made that third bid for the White House an impossibility. 

But while at times last year it seemed he might be eager to run against Clinton in the primaries, he's become a loyal foot soldier on her behalf -- not just because of their ideological and personal ties but because of how seriously he views the threat of a Trump presidency to the calling he has devoted his life to: public service.

On Thursday, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Biden shared a conversation he was having with another political journalist, trying to explain why he had this "nagging feeling of almost frustration" about this year's campaign.

His answer: Trump's unbreakable habit of making outrageous statements has prevented the public from the election it deserved: "a referendum on ideas."

"They're supposed to be a debate on ideas so that when whomever is elected, they can say with certitude the majority of people preferred my ideas over the other person. That's how you solidify a country," he said. But Trump "has been so outrageous" that reporters "have to cover these asinine assertions that are being made."

Friday, he referred to it as a "dumbing down of the American dialogue."

Biden's case for Clinton is a personal one, directed at the kind of middle-class voters he has long viewed himself as the avatar of. And as he prosecutes it, he sometimes is candid about Clinton's vulnerabilities and even inability to connect with those voters in the same way he can.

Friday, he said part of that was because of a "double standard" for male and female candidates. And to illustrate it, he offered a personal example from just the day before that reflected his own journey over the last year.

At an event in New Hampshire, a supporter approached him with two newborn children. The man had named one Beau, he told the vice president, after Biden's son.

"I started to cry. And the press said, 'Well that's just because Joe Biden's a decent, honorable father,'" Biden said. "If Hillary did that, she'd be accused of playing the women's card.

"It's not a surprise that this generous woman I know has closed up, is unwilling many times to show her heart," he added. "But she gets it, guys."

No, Hillary Clinton probably isn't going to win Texas

 (Ron T. Ennis / Associated Press)
(Ron T. Ennis / Associated Press)

Imagine San Francisco Giants fans pouring into Chavez Ravine to root the Dodgers to victory in the World Series. Imagine Donald Trump winning the White House and appointing Hillary Clinton his attorney general.

Now imagine something only somewhat less farfetched: Clinton defeating Trump and carrying Texas’ 38 electoral votes on Nov. 8.

Texas has long been a boneyard for Democratic ambitions. The party has not won a statewide office in more than 20 years. It's been four decades since a Democratic presidential candidate carried the Lone Star state.

But a recent batch of Texas polls showing the Clinton-Trump gap in single digits has raised speculation she could end that long dry spell.

The Democratic nominee, with perhaps more money than she knows what to do with, has even put up a limited-run TV spot, touting her endorsement from the Dallas Morning News — the first time the paper has backed a Democrat since 1940.

Comes now Jim Henson, head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas in Austin, along with his colleague, Joshua Blank, to throw a few pitchers of cold water on the prospect.

“While the trend line in Texas presidential polling certainly justifies this speculation, there are good reasons not to go too far down the road toward speculating … Texas turning blue,” the two of them wrote.

In a “back-of-the-envelope thought experiment,” they sifted through past voting performance, current voter registration figures and other political juju and concluded that a Clinton victory in the state is awfully darned unlikely.

“There is good reason to believe that polling is finding Texas leaning Republican rather than the solid Republican state it has been in presidential elections for most of the last three decades,” they concluded. “But the change in its tilt doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ready to fall the other direction without still more shaking at the foundations.”

Maybe in 2020 — but even then it will likely be an uphill trek for whoever is bearing the Democratic flag.

 (@latimesgraphics)
(@latimesgraphics)

Trump tries a surprising new tack: confronting the possibility of an election loss

 (Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images)
(Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump looked out at a sea of supporters inside an airy exhibition center Friday and noted the pink “Women for Trump” signs.

He mentioned the size of the crowd, which was smaller than usual but still substantial, and accused the media of failing to tell the truth. “I think we’re going to do well with women for Trump.”

It was a boast. Yet the usual bravado was tinged with bewilderment. Trump cited three polls that showed him leading the race — mentioning none of the many that show him behind — bucking himself up as much as speaking to the audience.

If Trump often sounds like a guy on a barstool when he gives a speech, he may be entering the phase when the euphoria of four beers gives way to wistful tales over a fifth.

The fiery rants about taking the country back and building a wall remain. He riffs about "crooked Hillary" and WikiLeaks.

But there’s a new element in the mix, tentative talk about confronting the possibility of a loss.

A few minutes into the speech at the fairgrounds in Fletcher, N.C., Trump broke off from a riff about American workers and promised that he, too, would work harder.

“There’s no doubt about it. I’ve got three stops today,” he said.

He promised four daily campaign appearances going forward, maybe just two on slow days, ”right up until the actual vote on Nov. 8.”

Then Trump said something approaching humility. It was, after more than a year of nonstop hyperbole, almost as shocking as some of the bombast.

“And then I don’t know what kind of shape I’m in, but I’ll be happy that at least I will have known, win lose or draw — and I’m almost sure if the people come out, we’re going to win — but I will be happy with myself,” he said.

“Because I don’t want to say, I don’t want to think back, if only I did one more rally,” he added. “I would have won North Carolina by 500 votes instead of losing it by 200 votes.”

“I never want to ever look back.”

Another prominent Republican, Michael Steele, will not back Donald Trump

 (Joe Giblin/AP)
(Joe Giblin/AP)

Add Michael Steele to the list. 

Steele, the former Republican National Committee chairman, will not vote for Donald Trump, the GOP presidential nominee. 

He made the announcement Thursday at a San Francisco dinner hosted by the liberal-leaning Mother Jones magazine, according to BuzzFeed. 

Trump, said Steele, has “captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life and gave voice to that.”

“I was damn near puking during the debates,” said Steele, adding that he believes Trump represents only 30% of the Republican Party.

In recent weeks, dozens of Republicans have condemned Trump for his lewd comments about women, and some have pulled endorsements, announcing they will not support his campaign. 

While some Republicans have said they will in turn support Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, Steele, who served as chairman from 2009 until 2011, is not one of them. 

“I will not be voting for Clinton,” he said, without announcing who he’ll support in next month’s election. 

And the jokes keep coming ... Clinton trolls Trump after New York charity dinner

Khizr Khan, father of slain Army captain, asks, 'Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your America?'

Among the many striking moments of the presidential campaign was the father of a slain Army soldier speaking out against Donald Trump at the Democratic convention -- and Trump's subsequent attacks on Khizr Kahn's family and its Muslim faith.

Khan appeared Friday in a Hillary Clinton ad in which the grief-stricken parent tells the story of his 27-year-old son, Capt. Humayun Khan, who died fighting a suicide bomber in Iraq. 

Khan describes the harrowing scene when his son threw himself on the bomber, saving his fellow troops. He was awarded military honors. 

"I want to ask Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your America?" he said.

The ad is short, simple, and heart wrenching, as the elder Khan makes his way through the family home, picking over pictures of his son.

Trump backers will not likely be swayed by the spot. Trump has called for a ban on Muslim immigrants from foreign hotspots like Syria, and his supporters largely approve of those proposals. 

But Clinton is trying to shore up her closing arguments, particularly with women and independent voters who could be moved by the ad.

She has said Capt. Khan and his family, who are immigrants and became citizens, "represent the best of America."

Watch: Donald Trump campaigns in North Carolina

Why Chris Wallace isn't talking to Roger Ailes, his former boss at Fox News

Roger Ailes in 2006 (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)
Roger Ailes in 2006 (Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

Chris Wallace went into Thursday's debate knowing there'd be questions about a Fox News anchor acting as the moderator.

“I was not just representing myself and my show, but my news organization in a way that I suspect that most of my colleagues at the other debates’ networks didn’t necessarily feel,” he told the Los Angeles Times in an interview Thursday.

“I had to do the job that I do and that a lot of my colleagues do every day, to show people who take the easy way out and just dismiss Fox News and that they don’t understand what we do every day and the kind of journalism we practice.”

Wallace, the son of legendary “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace, joined Fox News in 2003, the year after the channel first took the title of most-watched cable news network.

Wallace said he knew former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes' ties to the Trump campaign would concern some debate watchers.

Ailes came to Fox with a background as a Republican media consultant. Wallace said when Ailes ran the division he was never told which guests to book or what questions to ask on his program “Fox News Sunday.”

But he believes the reputation of Fox News was not helped by reports that Ailes was advising Trump on his campaign soon after leaving the company in July.

“I’m disappointed in Roger going to work for the Trump campaign,” he said. “We have had to fight back for a lot of years against claims that we’re an arm of the Republican Party. We aren’t. Anybody who watches me on ‘Fox News Sunday’ knows that I’m not. I think it has given people who don’t like Fox News in the first place something to talk about. It allows people to say, ‘I told you so,’ when it’s not really true.”

Wallace said he has not had any contact with his former boss since Ailes left amid sexual harassment accusations.

“I haven’t talked to him since he left, and I won’t talk to him,” Wallace said.

The Trump campaign has held two events in two weeks in the same rural North Carolina town. Here's why.

There are 50 states in this country, thousands of cities and towns and innumerable fairgrounds. Yet here we were Friday morning, driving a familiar set of roads toward a Donald Trump rally in the small town of Fletcher, N.C., to the same spot I’d been to last week to see his running mate, Mike Pence.

The orange hues of fall foliage have grown a bit redder since early last week, the air is nippier, the skies are slightly grayer. But I saw the same trees and the same cattle stalls as Trump's press bus rolled into the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center. I even recognized one of the volunteers, a nice woman named Sandra Norris who had directed me to the restroom last week.

It seems strange on the face of it, with a whole country to cover and tens of millions of people to persuade. Do these voters in and around the Great Smoky Mountains really need another valuable visit from the same presidential ticket, all within the space of a few weeks before the election?

Later on Friday, we will arrive in Johnstown, Pa., and on Saturday, it’s Gettysburg, Pa., two other places Pence went in recent days.

This stop in Fletcher may yet prove a strategic blunder, depending on how one assesses Trump’s best chances at what now seems a long-shot victory.

But the outsized attention to a few thousand voters has its own logic, reflecting how 21st-century campaigns work. Start with the narrow electoral map that leaves just a few states truly up for grabs every four years, North Carolina being one of the prized ones.

Then consider the demographics within a state. Democrats usually rack up votes in the cities, places like Charlotte and Raleigh. Republicans do best in rural areas like this one. But because they are more sparsely populated, it is most practical to find a central hub that is also accessible to local media whose coverage can amplify a candidate's message.

One Trump supporter, Cathy Murphy, said Friday that this was her fifth Trump rally. She was pleased it was a mere 50 miles from her home in Nebo, where she works as a prison supervisor.

Then factor in a candidate’s time, which puts a premium on event spaces near airports. This one happens to be right by the airport that serves Asheville, N.C.

Which all brings us back to Fletcher, where I sit behind a keyboard as the warm-up music blares.

Last week, for Pence, it was heavy on country – Toby Keith and Rodney Atkins. This week, we hear Trump’s favorite British invasion tracks – some Rolling Stones and a bit of Elton John, spiced up with vintage Backstreet Boys.

Trump, who draws bigger crowds than his running mate, has booked a larger hall on the grounds than the one Pence had.

But the voters, some of the same ones, swayed along joyously just the same until it was time to yell, "Lock her up!"

Clinton campaign worried about aligning too closely with Tom Steyer

When Hillary Clinton plotted her presidential run in early 2015, one question that gripped her key advisers was how big of a role to give California billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer.

The campaign decided that aligning Clinton too closely with Steyer could be damaging, new emails disclosed by WikiLeaks show.

At the time of the discussion in February of last year, soon-to-be campaign chairman John Podesta already had unsuccessfully lobbied President Obama to appoint Steyer his secretary of Energy. Now, Steyer was asking “whether he can have a formal campaign role like California co-chair,” according to a Podesta email that WikiLeaks disclosed Friday. The campaign is declining to confirm the authenticity of any of the hacked Podesta emails.

This particular message was written right before Steyer was to meet with Clinton, and Podesta was briefing her top aides on how to prepare. Podesta signaled that Steyer would be unlikely to drill down on Clinton’s plans for a carbon tax or for funding research into green technology, or even to press her on the Keystone pipeline, the fossil fuel project Steyer was taking a lead role in fighting and which Clinton had yet to come out against. But Podesta warned Steyer was likely to want clarity on what his role with the campaign would be.

Future campaign manager Robby Mook expressed concerns about giving Steyer a California chair position. “My gut: Don’t give him a title. He will be the story. Arch rival to the Kochs. His views may differ from hers.”

Mook also worried that Steyer’s playing such a role in the Clinton campaign while at the same time pouring tens of millions of dollars into his own climate change-focused political operation, Next Gen, would open Clinton to accusations of violating the spirit of campaign finance law. “The optics of a chair bankrolling independent work is not great.”

Podesta’s response was brief — and cautionary. “Maybe,” he wrote. “Could be leaving a lot of $ on the table.”

It's not just women and minorities. Donald Trump has a Mormon problem — and here's how it could cost him

No religious group has been more reliably Republican than members of the Mormon faith, who routinely vote in landslide numbers for the party’s presidential nominee.

But Donald Trump — with his garish personality, libertine attitude and caustic rhetoric toward immigrants, women and others — has caused many church members to search their souls and rethink their longstanding political allegiance, reshaping the presidential map in dramatic and unexpected ways.

Nevada, a neck-and-neck battleground, has started moving Hillary Clinton’s direction. Arizona, a Republican-leaning state once seen as far beyond the Democratic nominee’s reach, is now a tossup. Even Utah, the church’s wellspring, where four years ago President Obama barely mustered 25% support, has grown competitive.

All are states with significant Mormon populations where, normally, the GOP nominee could count on church members’ overwhelming support.

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