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Campaign 2016 updates: Donald Trump expresses ‘regret’ for some of his past comments

Hillary Clinton widens her supporter base while Donald Trump narrows his, a poll analysis shows.

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Obama criticized for golfing while Louisiana grapples with deadly flooding

President Obama is facing a backlash for continuing his annual Martha’s Vineyard vacation as widespread flooding has damaged tens of thousands of homes and killed at least 13 people in Louisiana.

A newspaper in the state editorialized that Obama ought to cut his vacation short to visit “the most anguished state in the union” and show “his solidarity with suffering Americans.”

“We’ve seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don’t deserve a sequel,” the Advocate wrote Wednesday. “In 2005, a fly-over by a vacationing President George W. Bush became a symbol of official neglect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The current president was among those making political hay out of Bush’s aloofness.”

Obama has received regular briefings on the storm, declared it a federal disaster earlier in the week, and dispatched Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to the region.

But conservative voices juxtaposed pictures of the floodwaters with images of Obama golfing on Thursday. A Fox News headline read: “Bias alert: Media that ripped Bush on Katrina ignores Obama on La. flooding.”

Some residents also said they would appreciate a presidential visit.

“It would be great if he could come, give us moral support,” said Mary Green King, as she rested at a shelter south of Baton Rouge in flood-ravaged Ascension Parish. “He’s been to disaster areas.”

King, 67, had just been informed by her landlord that she had 48 hours to move her belongings from her home in the bedroom community of Gonzalez, La. But when Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy visited the shelter with some aides, King shared her problems with them and felt encouraged.

“He said they would see what they can do,” she said from her cot in the shelter that’s still housing 524 people.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump plans to visit the state Friday, and opened his Thursday evening rally by talking about the tragedy.

“Our prayers are with the families who have lost loved ones, and we send them our deepest condolences,” he told supporters in Charlotte, N.C. “Though words cannot express the sadness one feels at times like this, I hope everyone in Louisiana knows that our country is praying for them and standing with them to help them in these difficult hours.”

Mehta reported from Los Angeles and Hennessy-Fiske from Baton Rouge.

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Donald Trump expresses ‘regret’ over past comments

For a candidate who proudly stands behind his most caustic comments, it was a mea culpa of sorts.

On Thursday, Donald Trump expressed some regret over his behavior on the campaign trail, saying he hadn’t always used the “right words” in speeches and television interviews.

“Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing,” the Republican presidential nominee told supporters at a rally in Charlotte, N.C. “I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.”

Trump, using a teleprompter, did not say which specific incidents he regretted.

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Clinton Foundation to bar foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton wins

The Clinton Foundation will stop accepting foreign and corporate donations if Hillary Clinton is elected president, a spokesman for the foundation said Thursday.

The announcement comes as Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, has faced a drum beat of questions over the foundation’s donors, including their access to her when she served as secretary of State.

Former President Bill Clinton announced the decision during a staff meeting on Thursday, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the news. He also said that after this year the foundation would no longer hold an annual global conference that has been attended by world leaders, luminaries and celebrities.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus dismissed the announcement as “too little, too late.”

Priebus said the foundation “should immediately cease accepting foreign donations and return every penny ever taken from other countries, several of which have atrocious human rights records and ties to terrorism.”

Priebus added, “The fact that the Clinton Foundation and its entities continue to accept foreign donations while Hillary Clinton runs for the White House is a massive, ongoing conflict of interest that gets bigger by the day.”

The Clinton Foundation was created after Bill Clinton left the White House in 2001, and has raised an estimated $2 billion for charitable efforts from individual donors, corporations, foreign countries and other groups.

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Trump predicts he will be deemed ‘Mr. Brexit’

Donald Trump predicted on Thursday that he would soon be known as “Mr. Brexit,” an apparent reference to the United Kingdom’s surprising vote to leave the European Union this year.

“They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!” Trump tweeted.

Brexit, of course, was the nickname given to the British referendum in June over whether to leave the European Union. Polls were tight ahead of the vote for Brexit – or British exit – but nonetheless showed a slight edge for a vote for Britain to stay.

Trump didn’t clarify what he meant, but one likely explanation was that he was referring to his own struggle in the polls right now. He significantly trails Hillary Clinton nationally and in most swing state polls.

But Trump has a much steeper hill to climb to match the surprise results of the Brexit vote. Polling in Britain was more competitive three months before election day than it is now in the presidential campaign.

Regardless, Mr. Brexit was soon trending on Twitter, and whatever Trump meant, the Internet quickly delivered many amusing responses:

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Hillary Clinton won praise as America’s top diplomat, but time has tarnished her record

Hillary Clinton’s service as America’s third female secretary of State produced few dramatic diplomatic initiatives but was generally highly regarded by foreign policy experts when she stepped down nearly four years ago.

Now the uproar over Clinton’s use of a private email server while at the State Department, plus a partisan clash over her response to the 2012 Benghazi attack and the relentless wear-and-tear of global crises, have overshadowed her achievements and could undermine a pillar of her presidential campaign.

After losing her first White House bid in 2008, Clinton became the top U.S. diplomat during President Obama’s first term. She joined a powerful team of rivals who debated and advocated policies inside the White House.

By most accounts, Clinton had Obama’s ear on critical issues and helped bring professionalism back to a diplomatic corps that was often demoralized under President George W. Bush.

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Donald Trump will finally air his first television ads of the general election

Donald Trump, down in swing state polls and undergoing his second campaign leadership shakeup in two months, is about to do something he has eschewed so far in the general election: air a television ad.

Trump is set to dole out nearly $5 million in television ads in five battleground states, according to an official with Kantar Media, which tracks political ad spending. The states, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, are crucial for Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, this fall.

Clinton and her allies have spent nearly $91 million on television and radio advertising, a report released last week by NBC and Advertising Analytics showed. In the ads, Clinton hammers Trump for his rhetoric about women and immigrants, labeling him as a divisive figure unfit to lead.

By contrast, Trump’s campaign had spent no money, while his allies, including the National Rifle Assn., have spent about $8 million.

A spokesman for Trump’s campaign would not describe the contents of the ads the campaign will be airing.

Trump was to rally Thursday night in North Carolina. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll showed Trump down 9 percentage points to Clinton in the state.

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Poll: Americans don’t expect much from their next president, no matter who it is

(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

A deeply divided electorate has at least one thing in common: Few expect big things from the next president.

Fewer than one-third of registered voters surveyed said they think Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would make a good or great president, with higher shares seeing either as being “terrible” in the Oval Office, a new Pew Research Center poll found.

Expectations are only slightly better for Clinton than Trump. Thirty-one percent said she would be a good or great president, 22% say average, 12% poor and 33% terrible. Forty-three percent of voters surveyed said they think Trump is likely to be a terrible president, accounting for the biggest discrepancy between the two candidates; only 27% said he would be a great or good president.

Those figures were little changed since a March survey, and reflect a relative ambivalence even among the nominees’ supporters. Fewer than one in four Clinton or Trump supporters said they expect their candidate to be a great president while more decisively predicting the worst about the opposing candidate: 72% of Trump supporters said Clinton would be terrible, while 83% of Clinton backers said that of Trump.

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New poll analysis finds a wasted summer for Donald Trump and a boost for Hillary Clinton

(John Ehlke / West Bend Daily News)

The last six weeks have been a time of tumult in the presidential campaign — two conventions and a fistful of controversies, many of them created by Republican nominee Donald Trump himself.

With the campaign moving toward a final general election sprint, Trump finds himself in a dangerous place. He has narrowed his support to a segment of the electorate, and curbed his own momentum, according to an analysis of six weeks of findings in the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times presidential tracking poll.

Over the same period, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has built support — even among groups previously arrayed against her — into demonstrable advantages.

The poll was first published July 10 and is in its seventh week. The analysis covered the six full weeks, and thus did not chart any effect from Trump’s high-profile speeches this week, or his midweek decision to shake up his campaign’s leadership.

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Naked Trump statue appears in Hollywood

The Southland was not spared the nude statues of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump that sprung up in major cities around the country on Thursday.

The larger-than-life protest artwork appeared in front of a shop on the 4600 block of Hollywood Boulevard, according to LAist. Media reports around the nation say similar statues appeared in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and elsewhere.

The title for the statue cannot be printed in a family newspaper, but the statues were created by an art collective known as INDECLINE, according to the Washington Post.

The group was partly inspired by “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the short Hans Christian Anderson story about a leader who was promised a fine suit that could only be seen by the wise, the Post reported. The emperor then paraded around the town naked and everyone pretended to be able to see the suit until a child cried out that the man was naked.

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Poll shows close race between Clinton and Trump in Nevada

(Associated Press)

Donald Trump is down in polls in most swing states, but a new survey from Nevada found the Republican presidential nominee locked in a close contest with Hillary Clinton.

The Suffolk University poll released Thursday pegged Clinton at 44% and Trump at 42% in the Western battleground state with less than three months until election day. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson netted 5% support.

Nevada, which has six electoral votes, has been a perennial swing state, but with its large Latino electorate, some political analysts believe that Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about Mexican immigrants could hinder his chances of winning.

The Suffolk poll, one of few conducted in Nevada this summer, showed a gender divide: Clinton outpaced Trump among women, 44% to 39%, and Trump led among male voters, 54% to 43%, in the survey of 500 likely voters taken this week.

Among Nevadans ages 18 to 34, Clinton leads Trump, 49% to 32%, according to the poll.

Several recent polls from swing states such as Ohio and Florida have shown Clinton’s lead over Trump expanding amid a series of self-inflicted controversies for the Republican nominee, including his public battle with the parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq.

This week, he added additional staff and on Thursday, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, tried to put a positive spin on his deficit in the polls.

“It helps us to be a little bit behind, and we are. It lights a fire under us and reminds us what we need to do,” she said on CNN.

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Democrats focus on Trump’s hidden tax returns

Democratic senators urged Donald Trump to release his tax returns on Thursday, arguing that the Republican presidential nominee is breaking with four decades of precedent and is hiding something from the American people.

“The president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world and the American people deserve to know whether the president of the United States is making decisions in order to advance the best interests of the citizens of this country, or in the best interest of his wallet,” said Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut in a conference call with reporters.

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said there were unanswered questions about whether Trump paid federal taxes, the rate he was taxed, his foreign investments and his amount of his charitable giving.

“For 40 years, there has been a good-government transparency-in-politics standard that presidential nominees release their returns, and what has happened in the last few months with Mr. Trump flies in the face of that standard, and in my view is an affront to hard-working Americans,” Wyden said. “The bottom line is, you just don’t get to hide your tax returns from public view when you’re running for president of the United States.”

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has been increasingly attacking Trump for failing to release his returns, and on Thursday began running an advertisement about it.

Clinton released her 2015 return earlier this month, and last year she released eight years of returns. Decades of her prior returns have been made available when she and her husband held elected offices.

Trump had previously said he would release his returns, but is now refusing to do so because he says he is being audited.

Wyden and Murphy said they plan to propose legislation requiring major parties’ presidential nominees to release their tax returns once the Senate is back in session in September.

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Ivanka Trump buys jewelry, and the proceeds are donated to Hillary Clinton

A New York jewelry maker had a special Instagram message this week for customer Ivanka Trump.

Captioned “Dear @ivankatrump, #thanksbutnothanks #payitFORWARD,” Lady Grey wrote Trump a tongue-in-cheek note for her purchase of an $84 ear cuff. The company informed Trump, the daughter of Donald Trump, that the proceeds of the sale would be donated to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as well as to the American Immigration Council and Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group.

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Donald Trump says he’d ‘throw out’ father of Orlando gunman

Donald Trump has suggested that “extreme views” would be grounds to be thrown out of the U.S. to protect the country from radical Islamic terrorists.

He said that he would deport Seddique Mateen, the father of the Orlando, Fla., nightclub gunman.

“I’d throw him out,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity during a town hall that aired Wednesday. “If you look at him, I’d throw him out.”

Trump later added: “Whether it’s racial profiling or politically correct, we’d better get smart. We are letting tens of thousands of people into our country. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing.”

The Republican presidential nominee first suggested the use of racial profiling in June during an interview with CBS News. He called it a way of using “common sense” to protect Americans.

Trump also clarified that his plan to shut U.S. borders to Muslims and people deemed a threat doesn’t mean he will abandon the needs of those displaced by war in Syria. He said rather than bring them to the U.S., he would send supplies and secure their safety at home.

“We take care of people. We’ll build safe zones over in Syria. We’ll do something,” he said.

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Trump needs to stay ‘comfortable about being in his own skin,’ new campaign manager says

Donald Trump’s new campaign manager said Thursday that her mission was to “sharpen” the candidate’s message and let Trump flourish as his authentic self.

“We’re going to make sure Donald Trump is comfortable about being in his own skin, that he doesn’t lose that authenticity that you simply can’t buy,” newly promoted Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on CNN’s “New Day.”

The Republican nominee can still be spontaneous, Conway explained. But the campaign also will embark on a more policy-oriented push, planning speeches in coming weeks on immigration and education.

Conway also downplayed any concerns about Trump falling behind Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in polls.

“It helps us to be a little bit behind, and we are,” she said. “It lights a fire under us and reminds us what we need to do.”

Former Breitbart News head Stephen Bannon and Conway assumed leadership positions in the campaign Wednesday, Trump’s second shake-up of the summer as he increasingly trails Clinton in polls nationally and in battleground states.

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Before Trump, Americans hadn’t worried this much about nuclear weapons since the Cold War

A nuclear warhead is a museum piece at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
A nuclear warhead is a museum piece at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

California Gov. Jerry Brown, who has seen much to worry about in his five decades in public office, said recently that he had a particularly heavy concern: the nation’s obliviousness to how close it is to nuclear catastrophe.

“There is virtually no conversation about this, and it is damned dangerous,” Brown said to journalists and politicians in Philadelphia last month, after steering the conversation to the threat of nuclear warheads exploding. “We really ought to wake up.”

Soon, the public did wake up. Donald Trump saw to it.

Trump has suggested America use nuclear weapons to bomb Islamic State. He has proposed that Japan and maybe even Saudi Arabia build their own arsenals. And he may have weakened the deterrent effect of nuclear missiles in Europe by suggesting a Trump administration would not come to the aid of NATO members who owe the alliance money.

But the public most took notice, perhaps, when MSNBC host Joe Scarborough told an anecdote about Trump asking a foreign policy expert three times during a briefing why the U.S. doesn’t use its nuclear weapons. Trump’s campaign denies any such query took place.

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