After Testy VP Debate, Trump Rebuffs Claim He 'Loves' Putin | NBC Southern California
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After Testy VP Debate, Trump Rebuffs Claim He 'Loves' Putin

Trump offered effusive praise for his running mate but also claimed credit for Pence's strong performance



    Evan Vucci, AP
    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, on Oct. 5, 2016, in Henderson, Nev.

    Donald Trump pushed back Wednesday on Hillary Clinton's accusation that he's cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin after Mike Pence found himself on the defensive over the issue in the vice presidential debate against Tim Kaine.

    Trump offered effusive praise for his running mate but also claimed credit for Pence's strong performance even as both campaigns acknowledged that the sole vice presidential debate was unlikely to alter the race's trajectory.

    Picking up where Pence left off, he said his relationship with Russia's leader would be determined by how Moscow responds to strong U.S. leadership under a Trump administration.

    "They say Donald Trump loves Putin. I don't love, I don't hate. We'll see how it works," Trump told a rally outside Las Vegas.

    Michelle Obama: When They Go Low We Go High By Voting

    [NATL] Michelle Obama: When They Go Low We Go High By Voting
    Presidential elections are decided on a “razor’s edge,” Michelle Obama told a crowd at a campaign event in North Carolina where she spoke after Hillary Clinton on Oct. 27. The first lady got a loud round of applause when she pointed out what previous generations sacrificed for the right to vote, and encouraged everyone to exercise that right.

    “Casting our vote is the ultimate way we go high when they go low,” Obama said, “Voting is our high.” (Published 4 hours ago)

    The billionaire candidate sought to take away an argument that Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, have ramped up in the final weeks of the campaign as they work to portray Trump as dangerous for American interests overseas. While U.S.-Russia relations nosedive over failed diplomacy in Syria, Trump has complimented Putin, calling him a strong leader and even encouraging him to track down Clinton's missing emails, though Trump later said he was being sarcastic.

    "You guys love Russia," Kaine said in Tuesday's debate. "You both have said Vladimir Putin is a better leader than the president."

    Trump Mixes Business With Politics at DC Hotel Ceremony

    [NATL]Trump Mixes Business With Politics at DC Hotel Opening Ceremony
    As Hillary Clinton traverses battleground states across the country in the final stretch of the presidential election, Donald Trump took a detour from the campaign trail for the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday of his Washington, D.C. hotel — but his remarks made clear the race to the White House was not far from mind. Trump claims the hotel is a symbol of what he'll do for America, noting it was completed "under budget and on schedule". (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    In a forceful rebuke, Pence described Putin as a "small and bullying leader," but blamed Clinton and President Barack Obama for a "weak and feckless" foreign policy that had awakened Moscow's aggression in Ukraine and meddling in the Middle East.

    The U.S. and Russia back opposing sides in Syria's civil war but both are fighting the Islamic State group there. The U.S. cut off talks with Russia about Syria this week after the latest cease-fire collapsed, blaming Russia for failing to fulfill its commitments under the deal.

    Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida

    [NATL] Crowd Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Clinton in Florida
    At an event in Coconut Creek, Florida, Hillary Clinton said that Trump is "attacking everything that has set our country apart for 240 years," pointing to his refusal at the final debate to commit to conceding the race if he loses. As she tried to make this point, the crowd erupted into singing her "Happy Birthday." Clinton turns 69 on Oct. 26. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    "I can say this: If we get along and Russia went out with us and knocked the hell out of ISIS, that's OK with me folks," Trump said, using an acronym for the extremist group.

    Since last week's debate, Trump has faced a barrage of questions over a leaked tax return showing he lost more than $900 billion in 1995. In turn, he's sought to reframe his life story as a comeback tale he hopes to recreate on behalf of a faltering nation.

    'Late Night’: Trump's Obamacare Fail

    [NATL] 'Late Night’: A Closer Look at Donald Trump's Obamacare Fail
    With the Obama administration announcing that premiums for health care would go up next year, Donald Trump had a substantial critique in his grasp. But, host Seth Meyers says, the Trump campaign missed the opportunity for a substantial critique, opting to instead make strange appeals to black voters. (Published Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016)

    "America needs a turnaround. American needs a comeback. America needs a change. And that's why I'm running," Trump said.

    Taking the stage in Nevada, Trump took his own victory lap for Pence's performance, which he called "phenomenal." So phenomenal, in fact, that Trump said it was "the single most decisive victory in the history of VP debates." Pence's cool demeanor contrasted with Trump's bluster during his own, top-of-the-ticket showdown against Clinton. However strong Pence's performance, Trump made clear he considers it a reflection of himself.

    Warren to Trump 'Nasty Women' Vote

    [NATL] Warren to Trump 'Nasty Women' Vote
    Hillary Clinton is joined by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on the campaign trail in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Oct. 24, 2016. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016)

    "I'm getting a lot of credit, because that's really my first so-called choice, that was my first hire," Trump said of Pence.

    Even Clinton's team wasn't claiming that Kaine had come out on top, despite the chest-puffing that usually follows a political debate. Perhaps former President Bill Clinton most concisely summed up Democrats' takeaway when he said underwhelming that his wife's running mate "did just fine."

    'Late Night’: Presidential Debate

    [NATL] 'Late Night’: Presidential Debate Between Clinton & Trump
    Host Seth Meyers presides over another “Late Night” presidential debate. Splicing and slicing clips between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Meyers presents the audience with a jousting of word between the two candidates. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    The big moment for their running mates behind them, both Clinton and Trump were shifting focus back to each other — and to Sunday's debate, the second of three showdowns between the nominees.

    Clinton was deep in debate prep Wednesday at her Washington home. She was huddling with campaign chairman John Podesta, top policy aid Jake Sullivan and her debate advisers.

    Trump Will Honor Election Results 'If I Win'

    [NATL] Trump Will Honor Presidential Election Results 'If I Win'
    Donald Trump said that he would accept the presidential election results if they were in his favor during a rally in Ohio on Oct. 20, 2016. (Published Monday, Oct. 24, 2016)

    Though Trump was on the campaign trail, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said he was preparing "constantly." Trump planned his own town hall in New Hampshire on Thursday, in an apparent dress rehearsal for the big event.

    Each campaign argued that Sunday's format — a town hall debate where voters ask questions — benefits their candidate. Conway cited Trump's experience engaging throngs of supporters at rallies, while Podesta pointed to Clinton's long history of holding her own town hall events.

    'Late Night’: Trump’s Closing Arguments

    [NATL] 'Late Night’: A Closer Look at Donald Trump’s Closing Arguments
    With the election nearing, host Seth Meyers looks at how Donald Trump’s campaign is wrapping up the election cycle. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016)

    With fewer than 5 weeks until Election Day, Sunday's debate marks one of Trump's final chances to show the race isn't slipping out of his grasp. Widely viewed as the loser of the first debate last week, Trump went into a multi-day tailspin over a decades-old tiff with a beauty queen. New public opinion polls show Clinton's standing on the rise in nearly all battleground states.