NATION POLITICS TRAIL GUIDE

Campaign events for each candidate slow Friday as the teams prep for the first presidential debate.

  • Ted Cruz endorsed Donald Trump despite their bitter primary battle
  • Here's how the candidates are preparing for Monday's debate
  • Trump insists Hillary Clinton is "sleeping" instead of campaigning
  • Mike Pence says there's "far too much talk" about racism and policing.
  • Trump still faces an uphill battle to a win, even with swing states in which he and Clinton are tied

Hillary Clinton puts Charlotte trip on hold

Clinton had originally planned to visit Charlotte this Sunday, the day before the first presidential debate on Monday. But the city's mayor had asked presidential candidates to delay their plans because police have been dealing with protests after a recent shooting. 

Trump and Clinton agree. Both oppose Obama veto of bill letting Sept. 11 families sue Saudi Arabia

The Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls found rare common ground Friday in opposing President Obama's decision to veto legislation that would give Sept. 11 victims' families standing to sue the Saudi government over the deadly attacks.

But there was a marked difference in tone as they expressed solidarity with supporters of the bipartisan legislation.

In a statement, Donald Trump blasted Obama's veto as one of the low points of his presidency.

“That President Obama would deny the parents, spouses and children of those we lost on that horrific day the chance to close this painful chapter in their lives is a disgrace,” he said.

In his veto message, Obama expressed sympathy for families of victims, but warned the legislation could prompt retaliatory moves by foreign governments. 

Clinton, Obama's former secretary of State and New York's junior senator during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, did not comment publicly herself. But a spokesman said Clinton would sign the legislation if she were president.

Referring to New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, spokeswoman Jesse Lehrich said in a statement, "Secretary Clinton continues to support the efforts by Sen. Schumer and his colleagues in Congress to secure the ability of 9/11 families and other victims of terror to hold accountable those responsible.” 

Clinton's support for the legislation potentially complicates White House efforts to win over Democrats ahead of an expected override vote next week.

Eric Trump says his father, who inherited a fortune, came from 'just about nothing'

 (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
(Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Eric Trump has a pitch to millennial voters on why they should support his father for president. 

"He’s been an entrepreneurial guy,” Eric Trump said Friday on Fox News' "Outnumbered" as he compared his father, GOP nominee Donald J. Trump, to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. 

“He’s built an amazing company. He’s become the epitome of the American dream. He’s gone from just about nothing into, you know, a man who ..."

“Nothing? He got a million bucks,” interrupted Julie Roginsky, the show’s co-host,  noting a $1-million loan that Donald Trump received in 1978 from his father, a New York real estate tycoon considered one of America's richest men at one point. “Wait, come on.”

Eric Trump added that his father "built an unbelievable empire."

"He’s epitomized what America is all about ― opportunity and working hard and being able to achieve your dreams,”  he said.

Reporters have struggled for years to figure out how much money Trump inherited, borrowed or earned, or his net worth. Unlike every major presidential candidate since the 1970s, Trump has refused to release his tax returns.

What's clear is his father, Fred C. Trump, helped pave the way for his ultimate business empire.

Donald Trump benefited from numerous loans and loan guarantees, as well as his father’s connections, to expand the family's real estate business from Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan, records have shown.

Trump's father also set up lucrative trusts to provide steady income. When he became overextended in the casino business, his father bailed him out with a $3.5-million casino-chip loan that regulators later said was illegal, and Trump also borrowed $9 million against his future inheritance.

Trump often downplays how much help he got. Last October, while speaking at a townhall-style event in New Hampshire, he portrayed his life as a battle against adversity.

"My whole life really has been a 'no' and I fought through it," he said. "It has not been easy for me. And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars."

That drew scorn from fellow Republicans vying for the party's nomination. 

Trump responded that he had repaid the loan with interest and that compared to the billions of dollars he claims he has made over the years, "a million dollars isn't very much."

Cruz once called Trump 'a serial philanderer' and 'pathological liar.' Now he's backing him for president. Here's why.

 (Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)
(Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press)

Sen. Ted Cruz announced Friday that he is backing GOP nominee Donald Trump for the presidency, setting aside their bitter rivalry because, he said, Hillary Clinton must be defeated.

“Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way,” Cruz wrote on Facebook.

The move was remarkable given how brutal the contest became between the Republican standard-bearer and the man who came in second in the race for the nomination.

READ MORE ...

Hillary Clinton will visit Charlotte on Sunday

 (Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
(Sean Rayford / Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton is heading to the North Carolina city that has been rocked by protests after police shot and killed a black man this week. 

However, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts told CNN late Friday it would be ideal if Clinton and Donald Trump could delay any visits as the city deals with the unrest. 

I am greatly honored by the endorsement of Senator Cruz. We have fought the battle and he was a tough and brilliant opponent. I look forward to working with him for many years to come in order to make America great again. 

Donald Trump in a statement on Friday after receiving the endorsement of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

In July, however, Trump said he would not accept an endorsement from Cruz. 

Ted Cruz announces his support for Donald Trump

The Facebook post represented a sharp turnaround for the Texas senator, who declined to endorse Trump during a speech at the Republican National Convention.

It also comes after Cruz harshly criticized Trump during the primary, when the New York businessman falsely suggested Cruz's father may have played a role in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cruz called Trump a "pathological liar" in an emotional conversation with reporters.

Hillary Clinton campaign wants debate moderator to correct any lies

 (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

With the first of three presidential debates around the corner, Hillary Clinton's campaign is urging moderators to quickly correct any lies from Donald Trump. 

"This is the role of the moderator ... to call out those lies, and do it in real time," said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director, on a Friday conference call with reporters. “To not do that is to give Donald Trump a very unfair advantage.”

The campaign released a long list of Trump statements that were ruled false by fact checkers, such as his claim he opposed the 2003 Iraq war before it started or that Clinton wants to abolish the 2nd Amendment.

"Any candidate who tells this many lies clearly can’t win the debate on the merits," Palmieri said. 

She added, “His level of lying is unprecedented in American politics." 

The conference call was also an attempt by Clinton's campaign to set expectations for the debate. With so much focus on Trump's temperament, Palmieri said he shouldn't receive high marks just because he avoids becoming "unhinged."

The first debate, which takes place on Monday at Hofstra University, is being moderated by NBC's Lester Holt.

Trump has said moderators shouldn't try to correct the candidates.

"I don’t think you want that," he told Fox News on Thursday. "No, I think you have to have somebody that just lets ’em argue it out."

Cincinnati Enquirer spurns Donald Trump to endorse first Democrat in nearly 100 years

 (John Minchillo / Associated Press)
(John Minchillo / Associated Press)

The Republican Party's decision to nominate Donald Trump for president continues to force some unusual decisions by newspaper editorial boards. 

First the Dallas Morning News broke with decades of tradition by endorsing Hillary Clinton, its first Democratic choice since before World War II.

Then the New Hampshire Union Leader ended a century of endorsing Republican candidates and backed libertarian Gary Johnson.

On Friday, the Cincinnati Enquirer joined the ranks of staunchly Republican editorial boards spurning Trump. 

"The Enquirer has supported Republicans for president for almost a century — a tradition this editorial board doesn’t take lightly," the editors wrote. "But this is not a traditional race, and these are not traditional times."

Calling Trump "a clear and present danger to our country," the newspaper is backing Clinton. 

"Our reservations about Clinton pale in comparison to our fears about Trump," the editors wrote.

They added: "In these uncertain times, America needs a brave leader, not bravado. Real solutions, not paper-thin promises. A clear eye toward the future, not a cynical appeal to the good old days."

Donald Trump puts one of his Republican critics on a new shortlist of possible Supreme Court nominees

Sen. Mike Lee (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)
Sen. Mike Lee (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

Donald Trump has put a Utah senator at the top of his list of new potential Supreme Court picks. The Republican’s response: Thanks, but no thanks.

The Republican presidential nominee is set to release a list of 10 additional names he would consider to fill a vacancy on the high court. He first proposed potential picks after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the Senate’s refusal to consider President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace Scalia.

According to NBC News, Sen. Mike Lee is among the new group, the only elected official on a list that includes appeals court, district court and state supreme court judges.

Lee, who is seeking reelection this year and had endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz in the GOP primaries, has refused to back Trump. A spokesman sidestepped the question of whether Lee would accept the nomination if offered next year.

"Sen. Lee already has the job he wants, which is why he is campaigning to represent the great people of Utah again this year,” spokesman Conn Carroll said.

He added that the new list of potential justices, and his inclusion on it, “does not change Sen Lee's mind about Trump in any way whatsoever.”

Trump put out an initial list of 11 potential picks in May, a move meant to offer reassurance to Republicans for whom the balance of the Supreme Court is a top priority. He said conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society helped draft the list.

That initial list included another name that raised eyebrows: Diane Sykes, the former wife of a conservative radio host who has been an outspoken Trump critic. It also included Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee, the senator’s brother.

Turkey's Erdoğan says Trump's Muslim ban not possible

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, along with the nation's current parliamentary speaker Ismail Kahraman, left, and former president Abdullah Gul. (Sedat Suna / EPA)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, along with the nation's current parliamentary speaker Ismail Kahraman, left, and former president Abdullah Gul. (Sedat Suna / EPA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan doesn’t think Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims traveling to the U.S. is “remotely possible.”

“Politics is a marathon and it's a long process,” Erdoğan said in a translated interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday. “Many things can be said throughout the rallies before elections and things will turn out to be very different post-elections.”

After the primaries, Trump altered his proposed ban to target those from countries affected by terrorism, but critics say even the modified program could be overly broad and difficult to implement.

Turkey, a mostly Muslim nation and a frequent target of terrorist attacks, is a key Middle East ally of the U.S.

Erdoğan warned that leaders can’t shut themselves off from the world around them.

“No political figure, no politician in this world, is confined to their own local grounds,” he said.

Erdoğan, who recently came under fire for launching a brutal crackdown against his political enemies in Turkey following a failed coup attempt, refused to throw his support behind either candidate and said he would leave that choice to American voters.

New Clinton ad asks voters to confront Trump's misogynist rhetoric

A striking new ad from Hillary Clinton's campaign ends with a simple question about Donald Trump: Is this the president we want for our daughters?

The question follows images of young women looking at themselves in mirrors or even a smartphone, while audio of Trump disparaging women's appearances plays.

"She's a slob," he's heard saying. "She ate like a pig." "A person who's flat-chested, it's very hard to be a 10."

Clinton's campaign has released several ads using Trump's words to tell the story. Other ads show young children watching video of coarse rhetoric at Trump rallies, or veterans watching his comments about the U.S. military.

The campaign says the new spot will air in seven battleground states: Ohio, New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as nationally on cable television.

Never been worse for blacks? An 8-year-old knows better than Trump, Obama says

No, President Obama doesn't agree with Donald Trump's view that life in America today has never been worse for African Americans.

"I think even most 8-year-olds would tell you that whole slavery thing wasn’t very good for black people. Jim Crow wasn’t good for black people," the nation's first black president said in an interview with ABC from the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. "What we have to do is use our history to propel us to make even more progress in the future."

Obama also addressed the civil unrest in Charlotte, N.C., in response to another police shooting, suggesting that demonstrators should find more constructive ways to channel their energies.

"Looting, burning buildings, breaking glass, those things are not going to advance the cause," he said. "I want all Americans to be engaged and speak out on the things that they care about. But there is a right way of doing it and a wrong way of doing it."

Obama's debate advice to Hillary Clinton: Be yourself

President Obama has simple advice for Hillary Clinton ahead of Monday night's presidential debate.

"Be yourself and explain what motivates you," he told ABC's Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" on Friday.

"I’ve gotten to know Hillary and seen her work, seen her in tough times and in good times. She’s in this for the right reasons," he added.

The president knows firsthand what a formidable adversary Clinton can be on the debate stage, having faced off with her during the 2008 primaries, many times one-on-one.

"She beat me at least the first half, and then I just barely could play her to a draw," Obama said in July when he joined Clinton for the first time on the campaign trail. "I always had to be on my game because she knew every fact and she knew every detail."

But in the ABC interview, Obama commented again on what he sees as a hidden factor holding Clinton back in the race.

"There’s a reason why we haven’t had a woman president before, so she’s having to break down some barriers," he said. "There’s a level of mistrust and a caricature of her that just doesn’t jive with who I know -- this person who cares deeply about kids."

Opinion: Hillary Clinton would make a sober, smart and pragmatic president. Donald Trump would be a catastrophe

 (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

American voters have a clear choice on Nov. 8. We can elect an experienced, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable public servant or a thin-skinned demagogue who is unqualified and unsuited to be president. 

Donald J. Trump, a billionaire businessman and television personality, is the latter. He has never held elected office and has shown himself temperamentally unfit to do so. He has run a divisive, belligerent, dishonest campaign, repeatedly aligning himself with racists, strongmen and thugs while maligning or dismissing large segments of the American public. Electing Trump could be catastrophic for the nation. 

By contrast, Hillary Clinton is one of the best prepared candidates to seek the presidency in many years. As a first lady, a Democratic senator from New York and secretary of State in President Obama’s first term, she immersed herself in the details of government, which is why her positions on the issues today are infinitely better thought-out than those of her opponent.  

The debate might be the nominees' last big chance to sway voters. Here's how they're preparing for it

The first presidential debate is Monday. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)
The first presidential debate is Monday. (Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Ask Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump how they are preparing for the debate Monday that could upend the presidential race, and they might just change the subject.

Their aides, of course, are handing them briefing books detailing where the cameras will be placed and what the price of milk is. They’re studying each other’s hand gestures and talking points on endless streams of video. They’re acting out scenarios designed to replicate the conditions onstage at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y..

The campaigns are cagey about preparations as they aim to lower expectations, refusing even to say who they’re using as stand-ins to role-play the other candidate, if anyone. But the nominees are leaving little to chance leading up to what is often the most dramatic, and least predictable, moment in a presidential election.

“It’s like preseason and regular season in football,” said Chip Englander, a GOP consultant who advised Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and then Florida Sen. Marco Rubio during the primary season. “You can simulate, but there’s nothing like the real thing. Do I think it helps? Yes. Do I think it perfectly replicates it? No.”

By the numbers

All things Clinton | All things Trump

First debate scorecard: Our analysts say Clinton outpunched Trump

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