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Barbara Kinney for Hillary For America(WASHINGTON) — For political junkies who are sick of the presidential horse race — and for those who just can’t get enough of it — there is plenty of action below the top of the ticket, starting with a slate of close swing-state races that could determine which party controls the Senate next year.

The results in those races will be crucial to determining the next president’s ability to translate his or her agenda into legislation — and Congress’ ability to turn those bills into laws –- not to mention other key responsibilities like voting on a Supreme Court nominee.

Republicans have long been playing defense in a crowded Senate map, with 24 seats in play, at least 10 of which are in swing states, compared to Democrats’ 10. Democrats need a total of four or five new seats, depending on who wins the White House, to retake Senate control.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged the rough terrain for his party during an end-of-term press conference in late September.

“It's pretty obvious this was going to be a really challenging cycle for us. And we have a lot of incumbents who are up in purple states,” he said. “It's sort of like a knife fight in a phone booth.”

Republicans have tried to minimize the damage of having the volatile Donald Trump at the top of their ticket by trying to ignore him entirely and instead highlight candidates’ accomplishments within the states they’re seeking to represent.

“Republican Senators are talking to voters like they’re running for sheriff. Every message is highly targeted and purposefully local,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Andrea Bozek wrote in an email.

Case in point: Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio, whose campaign ran several ads focusing on his work combating the prescription drug and heroin addiction crisis in his state. Portman has maintained steady leads ahead of his Democratic opponent, former Gov. Ted Strickland, so far insulating himself from the much closer race between Trump and Clinton in the Buckeye State.

But the “Trump effect” has managed to seep into some critical races despite Republican candidates’ discipline in ignoring questions about him on the trail, and despite many of them, like Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, renouncing their endorsement of him after a 2005 video emerged of him making lewd comments about women.

New Hampshire’s Ayotte suffered a Trump-related setback after saying during a debate that she would “absolutely” encourage children to look at the businessman as a role model, though she quickly walked those comments back.

Since that flub earlier this month, at least one poll has shown Ayotte trailing Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, although several other surveys showed the race in a virtual tie.

And while up until recently, former North Carolina state Rep. Deborah Ross has focused on hitting her opponent Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as a consummate Washington insider, instead of as a Trump ally, her campaign has changed its tone lately, releasing one ad Friday that notes that Burr is an adviser to Trump.

“It’s imperative for our campaigns to highlight how their Republican opponents have failed people in their states,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokeswoman Sadie Weiner said in an email. “A part of that includes their support for Donald Trump as they were complicit in helping build the Party of Trump.”

Another factor that could help Democrats in the race for Senate control is the Clinton network turning its attention to down ballot races.

Last week, the Clinton campaign contributed $2.5 million each to the Democratic Senate and House campaign committees — a fraction of the $100 million it's made in total contributions this cycle — and pledged $6 million for mail and digital ads in seven battleground states, including Ohio and New Hampshire.

“Since the start of the campaign, Hillary Clinton has been committed to winning races up and down the ballot. Every Republican who put their party ahead of the good of the country to back Donald Trump, even if they try a last minute political conversion, should be held accountable," Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in an email.

The top Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA, also shifted some resources to Senate races, a reflection of its confidence in a Clinton victory at the top of the ticket.

As part of that effort, it released a new ad Thursday in New Hampshire, one of the only ads there that explicitly ties Ayotte to Trump, playing the debate moment in which Ayotte says he would be a good role model.

“For months and months of this,” a narrator’s voice says, followed by clips of Trump’s most eyebrow-raising comments — “Kelly Ayotte stood by him… But now,” the ad continues, “she’s running away. Trying to save her political career.”

While the Clinton campaign and Priorities are legally barred from communicating or coordinating, both seem to share a strategy for winning the Senate: Start explicitly tying Republican candidates to their presidential nominee.

Clinton campaign spokesperson Jen Palmieri indicated as much during a gaggle on the campaign plane: “These are leaders of the Republican Party that legitimized Donald Trump’s candidacy.”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton has vaulted to a double-digit advantage in the inaugural ABC News 2016 election tracking poll, boosted by broad disapproval of Donald Trump on two controversial issues: His treatment of women and his reluctance to endorse the election’s legitimacy.

Likely voters by a vast 69-24 percent disapprove of Trump’s response to questions about his treatment of women. After a series of allegations of past sexual misconduct, the poll finds that some women who’d initially given him the benefit of the doubt have since moved away.

Fifty-nine percent of likely voters, moreover, reject Trump’s suggestion that the election is rigged in Clinton’s favor, and more, 65 percent, disapprove of his refusal to say whether he’d accept a Clinton victory as legitimate. Most strongly disapprove, a relatively rare result.

All told, Clinton leads Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in the national survey, her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent.

The results mark a dramatic shift from Clinton’s 4 points in the last ABC/Post poll Oct. 13. That survey was conducted after disclosure of an 11-year-old videotape in which Trump crudely described his sexual advances toward women, but before the events that have followed: A series of women saying he sexually assaulted them, which Trump has denied; his continued refusal to say whether he’d accept the election’s legitimacy; and the final debate, which likely voters by 52-29 percent say Clinton won.

This inaugural 2016 ABC News tracking poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, was conducted Thursday through Saturday among 1,391 adults, including 874 likely voters. This is the first in what will be daily ABC News tracking poll reports from now to Election Day. The Washington Post will join ABC’s tracking survey later this week.

The previous ABC/Post poll found a sharp 12-point decline in enthusiasm for Trump among his supporters, almost exclusively among those who’d preferred a different GOP nominee. Intended participation now has followed: The share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote is down 7 points since mid-October.

Vote preference results among some groups also are striking. Among them:

• Clinton leads Trump by 20 percentage points among women, 55-35 percent. She's gained 12 points (and Trump's lost 16) from mid-October among non-college-educated white women, some of whom initially seemed to rally to Trump after disclosure of the videotape.

• Clinton has doubled her lead to 32 points, 62-30 percent, among college-educated white women, a group that’s particularly critical of his response to questions about his sexual conduct. (Seventy-six percent disapprove, 67 percent strongly.)

• That said, Clinton's also ahead numerically (albeit not significantly) among men, 44-41 percent, a first in ABC News and ABC/Post polling.

• Trump is just 4 among whites overall, 47-43 percent, a group Mitt Romney won by 20 points in 2012. Broad success among whites is critical for any Republican candidate; nonwhites, a reliably Democratic group, favor Clinton by 54 points, 68-14 percent.

Even with the gender gap in candidate support, the results show damage to Trump across groups on the issue of his sexual conduct. While 71 percent of women disapprove of his handling of questions about his treatment of women, so do 67 percent of men. And 57 percent overall disapprove “strongly” – 60 percent of women, but also 52 percent of men. By partisan group, 41 percent of Republican likely voters disapprove of Trump on this question, a heavy loss in one’s own party. That grows to 70 percent of independents and nearly all Democrats, 92 percent.

For comparison, 59 percent of likely voters disapprove of Clinton’s handling of questions about her email practices while secretary of state, including 31 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of independents and 84 percent of Republicans. Forty-five percent overall disapprove strongly, again a high level, if well fewer than strongly disapprove of Trump on the misconduct issue.

On Trump’s claim of a “rigged” election, 23 percent of Republican likely voters say he’s trying to make excuses in case he loses, rather than raising a legitimate concern; this view swells to 57 percent among independents and 91 percent among Democrats. That said, 74 percent of Republicans, and 84 percent of Trump supporters, say it’s a legitimate issue.

Further, one in three Republicans – 34 percent – disapprove of Trump’s refusal to say whether he’d accept the election’s outcome if Clinton won. That jumps to 65 percent of independents and, again, 91 percent of Democrats. Not only do 65 percent overall disapprove, but 53 percent feel strongly about it.


This ABC News poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Oct. 20-22, 2016, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 874 likely voters. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 36-27-31 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt-SRBI of New York, N.Y. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Michael Davidson for Hillary for America(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Hillary Clinton has employed a large group of high profile surrogates including President Obama to campaign across the country ahead of election day, but none of the surrogates have been more effective at making the case against Donald Trump than first lady Michelle Obama.

Clinton's campaign announced Sunday that the two women will campaign together for the first time on Thursday in North Carolina.

"She has exceeded our expectations in terms of how many events she has been able to do, willing to do," Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon said of the first lady. "Her team keeps surprising us with additional availability and we can't, from our vantage point, we can't get her out there enough. She's been an absolute rock star."

So far, Michelle Obama has appeared for Clinton six times since the first lady gave a powerful speech on night one of the Democratic National Convention. At a speech earlier this month in New Hampshire, Obama said that Trump's remarks about how he women will let him do "anything" because he is a "star" heard in a leaked video have "shaken me to my core," and she called on voters not to dismiss them as "just another day's headline."

"Last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. I can't believe I'm saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women," Obama said.

The first lady has drawn large crowds at her events in battleground states, making a trip to Arizona on Thursday where 7,000 supporters came out in the middle of the day. Never mentioning Trump's name, the Obama has had so much impact that she seemed to get under the Republican nominee's skin.

Trump brought up a speech Obama gave during the 2008 primary when her husband was running against Clinton and interpreted the remark as a hit against Bill Clinton's affairs.

"I see how much [Michelle Obama] likes Hillary," Trump said at a rally 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?' Where's that? I don't hear that. I don't hear that."

The first lady claims her 2008 remark was about balancing family and politics and not an attack on Clinton.

"In light of this joint appearance, if he wants to resort to that again, we’ll see how that works out for him," Fallon said.

"She's one of the most admired people in America period. And I think it's exceptional to have the opportunity to have a strong woman like the first lady attest to another strong woman like Hillary Clinton who is running for president," he said. "In terms of the idea that voters are looking for someone who they can envision as a role model in the job of president is something that is a really effective way to make the case as to why Donald Trump is unacceptable."

Fallon added that Michelle Obama has become their "not-so-secret weapon" and as Clinton spends more time in North Carolina, a place the Clinton campaign considers a must win for Donald Trump, they believe Obama will help make the case even better than Bill Clinton or the sitting president.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(LAS VEGAS) -- President Obama continued his assault on down-ballot Republicans in Nevada Sunday, criticizing Senate candidate Joe Heck and the GOP at large for enabling Donald Trump, while urging Nevadans to send Democrats to Congress.

"Presidents can't do everything on their own," Obama said. "We can't elect Hillary [Clinton] and saddle her with a Congress that is do-nothing."

He ripped Heck, who had endorsed Trump until the "Access Hollywood" episode, for telling donors he wants to support Trump after publicly urging him to withdraw from the presidential race.

"When Donald creates his TV station, I'm sure Joe Heck will be up on there, giving interviews," he said.

A fiery Obama, who periodically led chants of "Heck no!" accused GOP leaders of tolerating conspiracy theories about his birth and paving the way for Trump's rise.

"Donald Trump didn't start it. He just did what he always did -- which is slap his name on it, take credit for it, and promote it. That's what he does," he said.

He also pushed back on Republicans' emerging argument for voters to send Republicans back to Congress to check a President Hillary Clinton.

"A vote for them is basically more gridlock," he said.

The attack, delivered at a Clinton rally in Las Vegas, is Obama's second direct rebuke of a GOP senator in the past week, and comes as Clinton maintains her lead over Trump just over two weeks before Election Day.

Speaking in Florida Thursday, Obama slammed Sen. Marco Rubio for continuing to endorse Trump for president while standing by his numerous criticisms of the presidential candidate during the primary.

The race to replace retiring Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada is one of the few where Republicans are on offense, and have a chance to flip a Democratic seat.

While he's going after Republicans on the trail, Obama is also lending Democrats a hand in down-ballot races across the country.

He's appeared in a handful of radio and television ads for House and Senate candidates, and plans to endorse roughly 150 candidates in all.

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ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) -- A purportedly leaked email exchange from the account of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta has brought attention to an academic study that found that the super wealthy and business interests in the U.S. have substantially more say on public policy than average citizens.

The email exchange was in 2014, before Clinton officially announced her candidacy and prior to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders entering the race and making concerns about income inequality and the concentration of wealth and power at the top a major theme of the Democratic primary election.

The messages are among thousands posted on the WikiLeaks website recently that are purported to have been hacked from Podesta’s inbox. The Clinton campaign has said little to confirm or deny the authenticity of the emails or their content.

The campaign's chief strategist, Joel Benenson, said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week" that while he hasn't spent a lot of time reading the purportedly leaked emails, "I know I've seen things that aren't authentic, that we know aren't authentic." He declined to elaborate, saying he wouldn't "go into details."

Podesta released a statement that blamed the Russians for what he called "the illegal hack”: “It is now clear that the illegal hack of my personal email account was —- just like the other recent, election-related hacks —- the work of the Russian government," the statement said.

The email exchange about the study suggesting the U.S. is now an oligarchy was -- if the messages are authentic -- between James Sandler and his father Herbert Sandler of The Sandler Foundation, both of whom have donated to Democratic causes or candidates.

James Sandler appears to have initiated the exchange with an email that linked to a story on the liberal blog Talking Points Memo about the study, with a headline declaring that the U.S. is no longer an actual democracy.

"I guess it takes a study to point out the obvious," Sandler purportedly wrote.

Podesta does not appear to comment on the study, instead referring to a New York Times op-ed about Israeli politics moving to the right.

"US is no longer a democracy" "Guess it takes a study to point out the obvious" billionaire to Clinton chief https://t.co/szXz5clpuu pic.twitter.com/w4f33gFp5j

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 22, 2016

Herbert Sandler responds that he has "read it and circulated it," though it's unclear if he's referring to the Talking Points Memo article or the study itself.

He adds that this is precisely what he and his wife "have believed for some time ... It is horrible."

ABC News requested comment from the Sandler Foundation but did not immediately hear back.

In the , political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page of Northwestern University found that a small number of super wealthy people, the "economic elites," and organized groups representing business interests in the U.S. have far greater influence on public policy than "average citizens."

"We believe that if policy-making is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened," the authors stated in the study.

Bernie Sanders made this theme a tenet of his primary campaign against Clinton.

"[W]e are moving rapidly away from our democratic heritage into an oligarchic form of society," Sanders said said in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. in February 2015. "Today, the most serious problem we face is the grotesque and growing level of wealth and income inequality. This a profound moral issue, this is an economic issue and this is a political issue."

Sanders also sought in his campaign to portray Clinton as less focused on this issue and too concerned with the interests of Wall Street.

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Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton’s chief strategist and pollster refuted claims that Democrats are responsible for inciting violence at Donald Trump's campaign rallies, saying the blame lays squarely on the rhetoric of the GOP candidate.

“Donald Trump, day after day, on the stump, was inciting people,” Joel Benenson told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” "We have video of Donald Trump saying, 'punch him in the mouth. I want him carried out on a stretcher.'”

Over the past week, Trump frequently referred to a secretly recorded video recently released by conservative activist James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action. The video appears to show a Democratic operative bragging about deploying troublemakers at Trump rallies.

Benenson confirmed to Stephanopoulos that two Democratic operatives associated with the video have resigned.

He also said he is "pretty confident" that there are not any others engaged in such activities.

Referring to O'Keefe, the Clinton campaign strategist said, "We're talking about a guy who has a track record of doctoring videos."

Benenson added that if the Trump campaign wants to talk about O'Keefe instead of the Republican candidate, "it's showing a sign of desperation" in the last weeks before the election.

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George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Riding a surge of support in polls in Utah, independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin said he feels "very good" about his chances of winning the state, and accused the nation's Republican leaders of putting the interests of their party ahead of conservative principles and the good of the country.

"The reality is that the vast majority of Republican leaders are putting party ahead of principle and putting power over the interests of their own country," McMullin told George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on ABC's "This Week."

McMullin argued that the GOP is going in the wrong direction with Trump as the nominee, and that he is skeptical the party can quickly make the changes needed to both return to conservative principles and appeal to a broad swath of American voters.

"It's going in the wrong direction, not the right direction, in its nomination of Donald Trump, but then also in standing by Trump even as he continues these bigoted, sexist, xenophobic messages to the United States," he said. "If the Republican Party can't make the changes, as it wasn't able to do after 2012 [presidential election], the conservative movement will need a new political vehicle."

That call for a new conservative party could take off with a win in Utah, which McMullin says would send a strong message to the country that voters "still stand on principle."

No independent candidate in a general presidential election has won all of a state's electoral votes since 1968, when segregationist George Wallace won the southern states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

McMullin is surging in polls in Utah and drawing crowds of Republican-leaning voters at his rallies who are apparently unhappy with their party's nominee but uninterested in Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton or Libertarian Gary Johnson, both of whose liberal stances on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage turn off the heavily Mormon electorate in the Beehive State.

Still, McMullin, a former CIA operative and Republican congressional staffer, struggles from a lack of name recognition and a national party to support him. Asked if he hoped to gain a public endorsement from former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a fellow Mormon, to boost his chances, McMullin said the support his campaign cares about is from "regular people across the country."

"They are the ones who are funding our campaign," McMullin said. "They are supporting us. They are carrying our message online, on social media. And that's the support that we care about."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Eric Trump commented on his father's vow to sue every women who has accused him of sexual misconduct, saying, "He's a fighter ... and he believes in calling out right and wrong."

"My father's a guy who will fight. He'll fight for this country. And he's always fought for himself and, quite frankly, throughout this whole process he's needed to fight for himself," the son of the Republican presidential nominee told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview on “This Week.”

"Quite frankly, he's a great fighter, and he believes in calling out right and wrong," Trump said.

Donald Trump spoke Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on his plan for his first 100 days in office if he is elected, but began his address by criticizing the “dishonest” media, the “rigged” political system, and pledging that after the election he will sue every woman who has accused him of sexual misconduct.

"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication," the Republican nominee said in his speech at a hotel near the historic Gettysburg battlefield. "The [alleged] events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over."

Eric Trump also addressed a claim by People magazine reporter Natasha Stoynoff, who wrote about an alleged instance when Donald Trump pushed her against a wall and forced "his tongue down my throat," in the mid-2000s.

The Republican nominee's son dismissed Stoynoff's account as somehow tied to the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, telling Stephanopoulos, "I just don't believe it."

He said he was warned months ago to "get ready for October ... What the Clinton machine will throw at you, you know, the dirty tricks, the things that will come out, the things that they'll orchestrate."

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Specner Platt/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Aside from the qualifications and policy proposals of the two major-party presidential nominees, Americans say it's important that the country's next president has a sense of humor. But 40 percent said neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton is funny.

The two candidates took turns making jokes and jabbing at each other at Thursday's Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner in New York City, a tradition for presidential candidates every four years, although this year's event had an edgier tone.

ABC News partnered with SSRS survey research firm to ask Americans how important it is for the next president to have a sense of humor.

Seventy-four percent said it is somewhat to very important for the president to have a sense of humor, with 55 percent saying it is somewhat important, and 19 percent very important. Only 7 percent said it's not at all important for a president to have a sense of humor.

Asked which of the two major candidates in this election has a better sense of humor, respondents gave the Democratic nominee a slight edge. Thirty percent of Americans say Clinton has the better sense of humor of the two candidates compared to 28 percent who chose Trump. Forty percent said neither is funny.

In contrast, more than two-thirds of respondents, 68 percent, said President Obama has a good sense of humor. Obama has showcased his comedic timing at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner over his two terms as president, and at the most recent dinner in April poked fun at both Trump and Clinton. The president has also shown his gift for comedy as a guest on late-night talk shows.

The ABC News/SSRS Poll was conducted using the SSRS Probability Panel. Interviews were conducted online from October 21 – October 22, 2016 among a nationally representative sample of 250 respondents age 18 and older. The margin of error for total respondents is /-7.8% at the 95% confidence level. Design effect is 1.6. The SSRS Probability Panel is a probability-based, online panel of adults recruited from random digit dialed landline and cell phone numbers. For more information, visit http://ssrs.com/research/ssrs-probability-panel/.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Charles Moran, a gay Trump delegate from California, was standing just feet from the stage at the Republican National Convention when he heard billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel give his now-famous speech.

“Every American has a unique identity. I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican,” Thiel told a cheering crowd at the RNC in Cleveland this past July.

Thiel made history that night as the first openly gay RNC speaker, and this week he doubled down on his Donald Trump endorsement, donating $1.25 million to his campaign.

Thiel sits on the board of Facebook, and so when many in the online community lashed out at him for supporting Trump, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stepped in to defend him, writing in a post, “There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault.”

Moran said listening to Thiel’s speech was an “incredible” moment.

“This is my Republican Party,” Moran said. “This is what I'm here for. This is the candidate I'm here to nominate. The guy who brings somebody like Peter Thiel to the deck and puts him up on stage -- that's my Republican Party.”

As Trump’s chances of winning the election appear to continue to drop in the waning days of his campaign, many gay conservatives, an unexpected segment of the Republican Party, are still backing him.

“Donald Trump is the best candidate that the LGBT community has ever seen come out of the Republican Party,” Moran said. “We see a consistent line from Donald Trump that being pro LGBT and pro inclusion is a good business decision and I believe he’s going to bring that with him in the White House."

Trump earned a lot of credibility with gay Republicans when he became the first GOP presidential nominee to positively refer to the gay community in a convention acceptance speech, saying, “As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.”

When that comment drew applause from the audience, Trump then ad-libbed -- “And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”

Moran said he was not expecting Trump to talk about the LGBTQ community in that speech.

“Right after his speech people were starting to text me, ‘What does the ‘Q’ stand for?’” Moran said. “So I said, ‘It’s either queer or questioning’ -- an instructional moment. And I like being able to have those with the Republican Party.”

Moran points to Trump’s LGBTQ inclusiveness at Mar-a-Largo -- Trump’s Florida country club -- where he says Trump broke with tradition by allowing gay members. Moran also notes that Trump publicly supported Elton John’s marriage to David Furnish.

“We see a consistent line from Donald Trump that being pro-LGBT and pro-inclusion is a good business decision and I believe he’s going to bring that with him in the White House,” Moran said.

Despite the fact that Trump’s Christian conservative running mate Mike Pence enacted anti-LGBTQ laws as governor of Indiana, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Moran said he’s comfortable with Pence because he’s “not running for president.”

Moran notes that Pence later amended the religious freedom law after meeting with LGBTQ groups, which he says shows Pence is willing to listen.

Moran said he does get a lot of flak from his friends for being a Trump supporter.

“The running joke is that it’s so much easier to be gay in the Republican Party than it is to be a Republican in the LGBT community,” he said.

Juan Hernandez is a gay Hispanic Trump supporter who also witnessed Thiel and Trump's history-making speeches at the RNC this summer. But said he has encountered violence for being pro-Trump, adding that an anti-Trump protester attacked him at a Trump rally in San Jose.

“I saw a fist come in and hit my nose and my nose just instantly started pouring blood,” Hernandez said.

He said the incident left him with a broken nose and the realization that supporting his candidate in the mostly liberal San Francisco Bay Area can be dangerous.

“I do know a lot of Trump supporters that are in the closet in the Bay area and we all have the same fear that we don't know what can happen to us,” he said.

Hernandez said he’s so afraid of more retaliation that he won’t even put Trump signs in his front yard.

“I do not want to put a Trump sign out there. And that sucks,” he said. “It shouldn't be like that in that I should feel fear of putting out a Trump sign and the person who I want to support, of the person that I want to be in office.”

Hernandez says he’s also criticized for being Mexican and still supporting Trump.

“They need to listen to the whole thing that he believes,” he said. “He's not against the Mexican culture or the Mexican community -- he's against illegal immigration.”

But he hopes that being a gay Mexican Trump supporter and sharing his story will give hope to others in the gay community.

“Some of the youngsters that have reached out to me, contacted me, and said that they come from an ultra-conservative family and they don't know anyone else who else is gay and that they see me on the media and for them that's huge because they can see someone else that they’re a Republican and that they're gay,” Hernandez said.

Trump’s support for the gay community hasn’t been that clear on the campaign trail. Since the massacre in June at an Orlando gay nightclub, Trump has positioned his support of the gay community within the context of the Islamic extremism.

“Hillary took $25 million from Saudi Arabia and much more from others, where being gay is also punishable by death,” Trump told supporters at a Florida rally in June.

The Log Cabin Republicans, the party's pro-LGBTQ group of which Moran and Hernandez are members, declined to endorse Donald Trump for president. While acknowledging Trump's positive references to the community, the Log Cabin Republicans said their "trust would be misplaced" in endorsing a candidate who has "concurrently surrounded himself with senior advisors with a record of opposing LGBT equality."

Six months ago, Trump seemed to avoid having to state his position on marriage equality, only telling reporters at a news conference in March, “I’ve made it very strong, we have policy on it.”

Regardless of what happens this November, Hernandez says in some ways gay conservatives have already won.

“This has been the most inclusive president[ial candidate] that we've had in the Republican Party and it is so exciting that the movement is here,” he said.

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Twitter/@nbcsnl(NEW YORK) --  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton continue to provide "Saturday Night Live" with plenty of fodder.

This week's episode spoofed last Wednesday's third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas, which was moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace. Guest host Tom Hanks played Wallace.

Round 3! #HanksOnSNL pic.twitter.com/BwEP9Ndm0j

— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) October 23, 2016

As in weeks past, Alec Baldwin and "SNL" cast member Kate McKinnon impersonated Trump and Clinton, zeroing in on the most eccentric and quirky aspects of their behavior.

"I'm going to start this debate in the quietest voice possible," said Baldwin's Trump, in a nod to the GOP candidate's initial subdued tone during the debate. "In the past I have been big and loud, but tonight I am a sweet little baby Trump."

"Sweet little baby Trump." #HanksOnSNL ???? pic.twitter.com/9howDLSNOu

— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) October 23, 2016

The fictional Trump's tone soon changed, when he was asked about reproductive rights. Baldwin yelled, "They are ripping babies out of vaginas!"

McKinnon's Clinton was visibly shocked, and responded, "Listen, Chris, I'm glad you raised this topic because what two better people are there to talk about women's issues? Me, a woman who has had a child and has taken birth control, and him, a man who is a child and whose face is birth control."

Trump and Hillary on reproductive rights. #HanksOnSNL pic.twitter.com/LMlE6LjLx5

— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) October 23, 2016

Not surprisingly, the sketch acknowledged the allegations of sexual assault against Trump. When Hanks' Wallace asked Baldwin's Trump if he still maintains his innocence, he responded, "Chris, of course I do. I'm completely innocent. I've said this before and I will say this again. No one has more respect for women than I do." Clips of crowds hysterically laughing were then shown, followed by Hanks' Wallace, saying, "Alright, settle down, settle down, entire planet."

The sketch also poked fun at Trump's remarks about the election being rigged and not conceding if Clinton wins.

"It has become very clear that you are probably going to loose," Hanks' Wallace says to Baldwin's Trump, who responds, "correct."

He is then asked if he will accept the election's results. "I will look at it at the time," says Baldwin. "Because quite frankly, this whole thing is rigged. Even the media. Every day I turn on the news and all of the newscasters are making me look so bad ... By taking all of the things I say and all of the things I do and putting them on TV."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump kicked off a speech Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, about his plan for his first 100 days as president by announcing that he will after the election sue every woman who has accused him of sexual assault.

"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication," the Republican presidential nominee said. "The [alleged] events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over."

Trump also launched attacks on the "dishonest" media, the "rigged" political system and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. He questioned why Clinton was even allowed to run due to her handling of emails as secretary of state.

"The system is also rigged because Hillary Clinton should have been precluded from running for the presidency of the United States, but the FBI and the Justice Department covered up her crimes," Trump said.

Referring to the proposed mega deal for AT&T to buy Time Warner, the GOP nominee decried the concentration of ownership of the country's media in the hands of "too few."

The nation's mainstream media is "corrupt," Trump said. "They lie and fabricate stories to make a candidate that is not their preferred choice look as bad and even dangerous as possible. They're trying to poison the mind of the American voter."

Trump then laid out some plans for his first 100 days in office if elected, including pledging to deport millions of what he called "criminal illegal aliens," who are "drug dealers" and "killers.".

The real estate developer also reiterated his vows to get rid of Obamacare.

He delivered the speech in the historic town near where President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in 1863.

"President Lincoln served in a time of division like we have never seen before," Trump said. Now also, he said, "We are a very divided nation."

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MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Attorney Gloria Allred called Donald Trump's vow to sue the women who have accused him of sexual assault after Election Day "bullying tactics," and brought forward yet another woman making allegations against the Republican presidential nominee.

Speaking in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Trump opened a speech billed as a policy address that would outline his first 100 days should he be elected by saying that he would sue all the women who have made accusations against him.

Allred, who has previously held news conferences with two of those women, responded to Trump's vow by saying women would "not be intimidated into silence by Donald Trump."

"If Mr. Trump thought that such bullying tactics would silence his accusers and prevent other women from coming forward, he will be sorely disappointed," Allred said. "Women will not be intimidated into silence by Donald Trump. If he sues them, we are confident that an army of lawyers will step forward to represent them, and we believe that the public will financially support their legal defense."

Allred said that Trump dishonored the sacrifice of service members who died at Gettysburg "by threatening wives, mothers and daughters who have made accusations against you."

"It is a new low even for you. Mr. Trump, your threat is below the dignity of the office you are seeking and I say to the women of this great country, we shall overcome," she said.

Allred appeared with another woman who came forward accusing Trump of kissing her without her consent and offering to pay her to spend time with him. The adult film star Jessica Drake says that he kissed her and two other women without their consent 10 years ago.

During the press conference, Drake provided a picture of herself with Trump.

The Trump campaign directly addressed the woman's accusations in a statement saying: "This story is totally false and ridiculous. The picture is one of thousands taken out of respect for people asking to have their picture taken with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump does not know this person, does not remember this person and would have no interest in ever knowing her. This is just another attempt by the Clinton campaign to defame a candidate who just today is number one in three different polls. Anyone who would pay thugs to incite violence at a rally against American citizens, as was released on video, will stop at nothing. Just another example of the Clinton campaign trying to rig the election."

Allred and the accuser declined to provide names of people they said could back up the story.

ABC News has not been able to independently verify Drake's account.

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Barbara Kinney for Hillary For America(NEW YORK) -- Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton criticized her Republican rival, Donald Trump, on Saturday for threatening to sue the women who have accused him of groping or inappropriately touching them.

Clinton made the remarks with her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, aboard her campaign plane. The two are in the midst of a joint campaign swing through the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

"I saw where our opponent Donald Trump went to Gettysburg, one of the most extraordinary places in in American history, and basically said if he's president he will spend his time suing women who have made charges against him based on his behavior," Clinton said. "Tim and I are going to keep talking about what we want do if we're given the great honor of serving as president and vice president."

Earlier Saturday, Trump spoke in Gettysburg, site of a three-day battle seen as the turning point of the Civil War, to give what his campaign billed as a plan for his first 100 days in office. He also attacked Clinton and his accusers.

"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication," the Republican presidential nominee said Saturday afternoon. "The [alleged] events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over."

Clinton's running mate Kaine joined Clinton in picking apart Trump's Gettysburg speech.

"Donald Trump today, was a first-100-days speech, but the parts of it that grabbed everybody's attention and that he seemed most personally invested in, were all the scores that he needs to settle with people that he's mad at. So women who've come out and complained about his activities with respect to them and continuing this thing about going after his political opponents," Kaine said.

Since a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape came out with audio of Trump describing grabbing women inappropriately, several women have come forward to accuse the businessman turned politician of inappropriate contact. Trump has called the accusations false and said the accusers have been orchestrated by the Clinton campaign.

Clinton denied that she and her campaign have played a role in Trump's accusers coming forward.

"That is just not accurate," Clinton told reporters.

Reporters asked Clinton about Trump's repeated assertion that there is a vast media conspiracy against him.

"I debated him for 4 1/2 hours. I don't even think about responding to him anymore. I'm going to let the American people decide between what he offers and what we offer. So he can say whatever he wants to. He can run his campaign however he wants to. He can go off on tangents. He can go to Gettysburg and say he's going to sue women who've made accusations against him. I'm going to keep talking about what we want do, what we think the country deserves from the next president and vice president," Clinton said.

Clinton and Kaine describe the last 17 days before the election as their time to make their closing argument.

"The other point is today we're making our closing argument. We're talking about what is at stake in the election, drawing contrasts, but we're giving people something to vote for, not just against," Clinton said.

When asked if she had begun thinking about whom she would put in her Cabinet if she were elected, Clinton wouldn't allow herself to think that far.

"You know, I'm a little superstitious about that. We've got a transition operation going, and I haven't really paid much attention to it yet because I want to focus on what our first task is and that is convincing as many Americans as possible to give us the chance to serve," Clinton said.

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Michael Davidson for Hillary For America(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) -- Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and her running mate Sen. Tim Kaine campaigned together in the battleground state of Pennsylvania Saturday, boasting about their campaign's momentum and giving a glimpse of how the two, if elected, would approach uniting the country after an election year of divisive and heated rhetoric.

"I know there are a lot of people right here in Pennsylvania who have a lot of questions. They want to know how do we move forward better?” Clinton said. "They are upset about what they see happening around them. I get that. But anger is not a plan.”

Clinton talked about what she thinks is motivating Donald Trump's base and asked the crowd of 1,800, "If you do know people who are thinking about voting for our opponent -- well, you may. I hope you will stage an intervention."

The two walked on stage together, with Kaine often resting his hand on Clinton's back as the two smiled, waved and fist-pumped. This was their first campaign appearance together since Labor Day. At one point during her remarks, Clinton acknowledged Trump's language that if he were president, she would be in jail.

"You know, every time Donald Trump says he wants to jail his opponent, meaning me, I think to myself, you know, we don't do that in America," she said. "We actually have laws and courts and an independent judiciary."

Kaine invoked Trump's rigged election claims and tailored it to Pennsylvania, saying the Republican nominee will never accept responsibility.

"It's got to be somebody else's fault. Just like when 'The Apprentice' didn't win an Emmy award one year. And he said it was clearly rigged. This guy clearly can't take responsibility for anything," Kaine said.

The Virginia senator also emphasized the historical context of the election, using fresh lines to describe the significance of Clinton becoming the first woman president if she is elected.

"Hillary's mom was born before women had the right to vote. And Hillary's daughter Chelsea will now get to vote for her mom to be president," Kaine said. "That is the kind of generational progress that this country holds for all of us when we do our best work."

Both Clinton and her running mate emphasized their momentum in traditionally red states like Arizona. The campaign has dispatched top surrogates like first lady Michelle Obama to Arizona and said states like Utah may also be winnable.

"I want to tell you this in states where early voting has already begun we are already seeing huge spikes at the polls in activity behind our ticket. Support for the Clinton-Kaine ticket is surging even in red states like Arizona," Kaine said as he warmed up the crowd for Clinton.

With the tight Senate race in Pennsylvania between Democrat Katie McGinty and Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, the Democratic nominee tied Toomey to Trump in her remarks focusing on the down-ballot race.

"I think it's clear when you look at Katie's opponent. He still refuses to stand up to Donald Trump. Now, you know, a lot of Republicans have. They have had the grit and the guts to stand up and say he does not represent me," Clinton said. "How much more does Pat Toomey need to hear? If he doesn't have the courage to stand up to Donald Trump after this, can you be sure he'll stand up for you when it counts against powerful interests?"

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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