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Campaign 2016 updates - Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton cram for big debate

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton go through last-minute preparations ahead of Monday’s debate.

  • Between debate preparations, Trump rallies supporters in Virginia, where he calls school choice the “new civil rights issue” of our time.
  • In Twitter spat with Mark Cuban,Trump jabs at Bill Clinton sex scandal.
  • Ted Cruz endorses Trump despite their bitter primary battle.
  • Trump insists Hillary Clinton is “sleeping” instead of campaigning.
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Trump and Clinton hold separate meetings with Israeli prime minister in New York

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took a break from last-minute debate preparation Sunday to visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in separate, closed-door meetings in New York.

Netanyahu, who was in New York for last week’s United Nations General Assembly, first paid a visit to the GOP nominee’s home in Trump Tower. The two met for more than an hour, discussing military assistance and security, according to a release from the Trump campaign.

One item on the agenda, according to the campaign, was “Israel’s successful experience with a security fence that helped secure the borders,” echoing Trump’s own emphasis on building a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump also pledged to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, a long-held desire of the Israeli government and many Israel backers in America. Such recognition would mark a departure from long-standing U.S. policy. The United States recognizes Tel Aviv as the Israeli capital and maintains its embassy there, as do many other countries.

Clinton met with Netanyahu later on Sunday for just under an hour at the W Hotel.

Clinton “confirmed her unwavering commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship and her plan to take our partnership to the next level,” according to a senior campaign aide in a news release about the meeting.

Among the topics discussed was the controversial BDS movement, an effort gaining traction on college campuses that advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The Clinton campaign characterized such efforts as “attempts to de-legitimize Israel,” and said Clinton was committed to countering such protests.

Clinton and Netanyahu also discussed the long-standing Israel-Palestinian conflict. Clinton supports a two-state solution “negotiated directly by the parties,” and said in the meeting that she opposed any attempt by outside parties, including the United Nations Security Council, to impose a solution.

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McNamara: Why TV news needs to pull itself together for the Trump-Clinton debates

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times))

Once more unto the breach, Lester Holt, once more.

For the second time in less than two years, the eyes of the world are upon the former “Dateline” host. Tapped to step in for and then replace Brian Williams last year after the dethroned NBC news anchor was caught choosing self-promotion over the truth, Holt, as moderator of the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, now has an even more formidable task: Return television coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign to something approaching sanity.

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Scope of Trump’s falsehoods is unprecedented for a modern presidential candidate

(Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images))

Donald Trump says that taxes in the United States are higher than almost anywhere else on earth. They’re not.

He says he opposed the Iraq war from the start. He didn’t.

Now, after years of spreading the lie that President Obama was born in Africa, Trump says that Hillary Clinton did it first (untrue) and that he’s the one who put the controversy to rest (also untrue).

Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has. Over and over, independent researchers have examined what the Republican nominee says and concluded it was not the truth — but “pants on fire” (PolitiFact) or “four Pinocchios” (Washington Post Fact Checker).

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Presidential campaigns clash on whether debate moderator should point out when candidates lie

"NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt will moderate the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Monday.
(Los Angeles Times)

Campaign managers for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton disagreed Sunday on whether the moderator for Monday night’s debate, NBC News anchor Lester Holt, should challenge false assertions by the candidates.

NBC took flak after Matt Lauer, co-anchor of “Today,” questioned Trump and Clinton at a “Commander-In-Chief Forum” on Sept. 7.

Critics blasted Lauer for not objecting when Trump falsely claimed that he had opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq from the start. The New York businessman expressed support for the war in interviews at the time.

Clinton backers were angered when Lauer repeatedly focused on her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State. In July, FBI Director James Comey said Clinton had been “extremely careless” but had not committed a crime.

Blaming the moderator is not new in politics but is especially intense this year. It’s put pressure on Holt, who will ask the questions Monday night, the first time the two nominees appear on stage together.

On Sunday, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on ABC’s “This Week” that Holt should point out when Trump clearly lies, calling Trump a special case because he has repeated so many falsehoods.

“It’s unfair to ask for Hillary both to play traffic cop while with Trump, to make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people,” he said.

Appearing after Mook, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway praised Holt, a shift in tone from Trump’s complaint this week that he doesn’t think he’ll be treated fairly.

“He’s a respected, brilliant newsman. He’ll do a good job,” Conway said.

She also said it shouldn’t be up to debate moderators to fact-check the candidates.

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Trump campaign says Gennifer Flowers is not invited to the debate after all

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Monday in Ft. Myers, Fla.
(Evan Vucci / Associated Press)

The woman who nearly upended Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential run has not been invited to Monday’s night’s debate, Donald Trump’s running mate said Sunday.

Questions arose whether Gennifer Flowers, who alleged that she had an extramarital affair with Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas, would attend the debate following a tweet from Donald Trump on Saturday.

Flowers even accepted the tacit invite from the Republican nominee, her assistant told Buzzfeed News on Saturday.

Trump was responding to news that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a frequent Trump critic, had been invited to sit in the front row at Monday night’s debate.

Trump’s vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, said on “Fox News Sunday” that “Gennifer Flowers will not be attending the debate tomorrow night.”

The mini-dispute was the latest bit of pre-debate sparring as Trump and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, prepared for a televised face-off that is expected to draw tens of millions of viewers and could tip the increasingly tight polls.

Even though Trump backed down, he may have won the round by reminding voters of Bill Clinton’s infidelities, which angered voters at the time and ultimately led to his impeachment by the House. He was acquitted by the Senate.

On ABC’s “This Week,” Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump’s tweet was a response to the Hillary Clinton campaign inviting Cuban to attend the debate.

“He wants to remind people that he’s a great counter-puncher,” Conway said. “They started this one by saying they would give a front row seat to Mark Cuban.”

Bill Clinton denied the Flowers accusation at the time, but later acknowledged he did have a sexual encounter with her. Trump has repeatedly threatened to make Bill Clinton’s past an issue in the campaign.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, who appeared on ABC before Conway, said the debate isn’t about who the candidates invite.

“This debate is supposed to be about issues,” Mook said. “It’s supposed to be about how these candidates are going to make a difference in their lives. It’s a time for them to reveal their plans. If this is what Donald Trump wants this debate to be about, that’s up to him.”

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The race to 270 — which states are key?

(Associated Press)

A presidential candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the White House. Most states predictably vote red or blue, but a small handful swing either way and make up the main election battlegrounds.

What does it take to win the presidency?

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