| AspenTimes.com

Tipton holds comfortable lead

Republican incumbent Scott Tipton apparently won re-election to his 3rd Congressional District seat over Democratic challenger Gail Schwartz, but Schwartz was waiting for stalled returns from the most populous county in the district before conceding.

Computer server problems in Pueblo County slowed balloting, and final returns were not expected until sometime Wednesday as long lines of voters were still being accommodated after the polls closed at 7 p.m.

As of midnight, Tipton held a 54 percent to 41 percent lead over Schwartz, the former state senator from Crested Butte, with 17 of 29 counties in the district reporting. Libertarian Gaylon Kent of Hayden had 4.7 percent of the vote.

The Associated Press called the race for Tipton, but neither candidate was ready to make a statement until the Pueblo situation was rectified. Voters were in line at 7 p.m. had their hands stamped and were still being allowed to vote, according to a report in the Pueblo Chieftain.

Tipton first won election to Congress in Colorado's 3rd District when he defeated incumbent Democrat John Salazar from the San Luis Valley in the 2010 election. A former business owner in Cortez for 30 years, Tipton cruised to re-election in 2012 and 2014.

Schwartz, a self-described moderate Democrat who formerly lived in Snowmass Village when she represented Colorado's Senate District 5 in the state Legislature from 2007 to 2015. She was making her first bid for national office.

One of the most hotly contested congressional races in Colorado was being pointed to by Democrats nationally as one that could potentially turn from Republican to Democrat.

Tipton and Schwartz were nearly even in fundraising, with Tipton reporting $1.6 million in contributions as of mid-October and Schwartz taking in $1.5 million.

Among the issues in the campaign was Schwartz's criticism of Tipton for what she portrayed as his efforts to "sell off public lands" through his support of the Hunting, Education and Recreational Development, or HEARD Act, against the wishes of 3rd District constituents.

Tipton maintained that Schwartz's attack ads around that issue were simply untrue.

The HEARD Act can't grant the government an authority it already had, Tipton had said.

Schwartz was heavily criticized by Tipton for her support as a state senator of renewable-energy standards on utility companies serving Colorado. Tipton said that resulted in higher utility costs and the loss of Colorado jobs in the coal and oil and gas industries. Schwartz countered that those factors were driven by market forces, not the new energy standards.

Closer to home, a key issue for voters was the candidates' stances regarding protections against oil and gas drilling on forest lands in the Thompson Divide region west of Carbondale.

Schwartz argued that Tipton hasn't listened as a coalition of ranchers, farmers, recreation groups, hunting outfitters and conservationists banded together to try to buy out or have existing leases canceled, and to give permanent protections to the roughly 200,000 acres of mostly roadless back country.

The Thompson Divide Coalition had been working with Salazar on legislation aimed at buying out the undeveloped leases that were set to expire and withdrawing the area from future leasing, but Tipton never embraced that approach. Instead, he pushed for legislation to bring about a lease swap for the energy companies that held the leases, where they would give up the Thompson Divide leases for new leases on forest lands in Gunnison, Mesa and Delta counties.

Trump gains rattle world markets, as shares, dollar tumble

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Trump gains rattle world markets, as shares, dollar tumble

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AP Business Writer

HONG KONG — The rising prospect of a Trump presidency jolted markets around the world Wednesday, sending Dow futures and Asian stock prices sharply lower as investors panicked over uncertainties on trade, immigration and geopolitical tensions.

At one point, Dow futures plunged more than 4 percent and Japan's major index nosedived more than 6.1 percent, its largest drop in years. The Mexican peso likewise tumbled and investors looking for safe assets bid up the price of gold.

During the campaign, Trump threatened to rip up trade deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement. He pledged to greatly restrict immigration to the U.S and to build a wall along the United States' southern border and force Mexico to pay for it.

But the lack of clear policy details has left many worldwide uneasy over the future direction of the U.S. economy. Share prices began tumbling as soon as Trump first gained the lead in the electoral vote count.

As of 1:00 a.m. EST (0600 GMT), Trump had taken 244 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton's 215. It takes a minimum 270 votes to win.

Pricing in a possible Trump victory and presaging a gloomy Wednesday on Wall Street, Dow futures were down 3.7 percent or 679 points at 17,612.00 and S&P futures had dropped 4.4 percent to 2,041.70.

The Federal Reserve had been considered all but sure to raise interest rates at its next meeting in mid-December, reflecting a strengthened U.S. economy. But a Trump victory could make a rate hike less likely — especially if financial markets remain under pressure.

Trump's strong talk on trade also has left many in Asia deeply worried.

"This is going to work as a strong headwind for the economy," said Tomoyuki Ota, a senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo. He said a Trump victory could stifle spending during the critical year-end and Christmas shopping season.

Top officials from Japan's central bank and finance ministry were to meet later Wednesday to discuss how to cope with the gyrations in financial markets. The Nikkei 225 stock index closed 5.4 percent lower, recouping some losses, at 16,251.54.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slumped 2.7 percent to 22,294.38 and South Korea's Kospi shed 2.4 percent to 1,955.11. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.2 percent to 3,141.87 and Australia's S&P ASX/200 in sank 1.9 percent to 5,156.60.

Given Trump's stance on NAFTA and immigration, economists have said the Mexican economy could fall into a contraction if he wins. As results emerged Wednesday, the Mexican peso swooned 11.5 percent to 20.73 pesos to the dollar.

The price of gold, seen as a safe place for investors' money in times of uncertainty, was up 3.7 percent, at $1,321.40 an ounce.

The election uncertainty also jolted currency markets, sending investors fleeing from the dollar. The greenback plunged 3.5 percent to 101.22 yen from 105.46 earlier in the day. The euro rose to $1.1233 from $1.1020.

Energy markets were also roiled. Benchmark U.S. crude futures lost $1.26, or 2.7 percent, to $43.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 9 cents to close at $44.98 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid $1.07, or 2.4 percent, to $44.96 a barrel in London.


AP writers Yuri Kageyama and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

U.S. Sen. Bennet coasts to re-election over Glenn

DENVER — Colorado Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet won re-election Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Darryl Glenn, who was vastly outfunded and struggled to make his bedrock conservatism appealing to centrist voters.

Colorado's Senate race mostly was a sleeper this year — a far cry from a bitter 2014 race in which Republican Cory Gardner ousted incumbent Sen. Democrat Mark Udall, whose attempts to tie Gardner to restricting women's health rights backfired.

Bennet's fundraising prowess provided an early advantage against Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner who has never held statewide office and wasn't backed by the Republican National Senatorial Committee.

Glenn's grass-roots campaign struggled to compete, and he only faced Bennet twice in debate. He went after the Democrat for his votes for the Iran nuclear deal and the Affordable Care Act and his support for clean energy regulations that threaten to put the state's coal miners out of work.

Bennet stressed his work with Gardner on an "all-of-the-above" energy policy, defended the Iran deal and insisted the health care overhaul could be fixed to make premiums affordable. He campaigned on his willingness to work with Republicans in Washington on such issues as funding for Zika virus research, whereas Glenn stated emphatically early in the campaign that he was unlikely to work across the aisle.

Glenn called for the repeal of the health care program, an end to the "war on coal" and cuts in entitlement spending. On education and the economy, he argued that states best know how to fund schools and create jobs. He opposed amnesty for immigrants in the country without legal permission, in contrast to Bennet's work with the so-called "Gang of Eight" on an immigration reform bill.

In recent weeks, Glenn struggled to explain his support for Trump after the disclosure of Trump's lewd remarks about women.

In 2009, then-Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Bennet to the Senate to replace Ken Salazar, who had been named interior secretary by President Barack Obama. In 2010, Bennet defeated Ken Buck to win a full term. He previously worked at an investment firm owned by billionaire Phil Anschutz and as Denver Public Schools superintendent.

Thompson Divide stance looms large in 3rd CD race

A recurring argument in former state Sen. Gail Schwartz's campaign to unseat three-term incumbent Republican Scott Tipton in the 3rd Congressional District race is her opinion that Tipton turns a deaf ear to the desires of certain constituents.

It's something she says has rung true on a variety of issues, from "finger-pointing" and attempting to lay blame for job losses in the coal mining industry instead of working to rebuild the affected communities to, as she frames it, pulling the plug on funding that could help Silverton and the Animas Valley deal with the Gold King Mine spill.

In the Roaring Fork and Crystal river valleys, Schwartz says Tipton also didn't listen when a coalition of ranchers, recreation groups, back country outfitters and conservationists banded together to seek protection against oil and gas drilling on federal lands in the Thompson Divide region.

"These watersheds are so critical to their livelihood, and we have to protect them," said Schwartz, a Democrat from Crested Butte who used to live in Snowmass Village when she represented Senate District 5 in the Colorado Legislature from 2007 to 2015.

"I get that this (energy) resource is also there, but we don't need to undermine our outdoor recreation economy or our agriculture by threatening our watersheds and our water quality," she said of her support for canceling gas leases in the area immediately west of Carbondale, as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management now plans to do.

Before Tipton defeated former 3rd District Congressman John Salazar in 2010, the Thompson Divide Coalition had been working with Salazar on legislation aimed at buying out the undeveloped leases that were set to expire and withdrawing the area from future leasing.

Tipton was reluctant to continue on that track and has been opposed to the notion of permanent withdrawal, arguing that the resource should not be locked up in perpetuity.

He counters that he did hear out ranchers and others who have wanted to prevent drilling in the Thompson Divide area. But the companies that invested in those leases also have certain rights, he has maintained.

"My approach was to come up with something we thought to be solutions-oriented," Tipton said of a lease exchange proposed by the leaseholders, where they would give up the two dozen or so leases in the Divide area in exchange for new leases in Delta, Mesa and other nearby counties.

"If we start canceling contracts, that creates some challenges," Tipton said. "And the one sticking point for me is 'in perpetuity.'"

On the other hand, he said he was listening to constituents in Mesa and other parts of the 3rd District that welcome energy development on federal lands within their counties.

"They'd be happy to have some of those swapped leases, and would like to be able to see it take place there," Tipton said.

Tipton was criticized when he put forward a lease-swap bill, the language of which was lifted verbatim from the proposal put forth by the affected energy companies.

Schwartz said the lease swap would have merely transferred the same concerns to another watershed that also deserves protection.

"You have people on the other side of the hill saying, 'don't make your problem our problem,'" she said of residents in the North Fork Valley who also oppose drilling in certain sensitive areas.

Schwartz noted that the North Fork Valley is home to some 80 organic farms that also stand to be impacted.

When it comes to energy leasing policy on federal lands, a variety of factors need to be considered, from existing use of those lands to wildlife impacts and other environmental factors, she said.

"We need to identify areas of critical habitat and contiguous landscapes that are important for migration," Schwartz said. "We cannot have these areas fragmented with oil and gas activity."

There's also an achievable balance that includes oil and gas development and other mineral extraction where appropriate, she said.

"There should be special places," Schwartz said in reference to places like Thompson Divide. "We need balanced use of our public lands, and that includes recreation, oil and gas and mineral development, and agriculture.

"And we have to have a balanced conversation about that," she said.

Tipton said the Bureau of Land Management's own policy of "land of many uses" already recognizes that approach.

"There are a variety of different opportunities in order to be able to use the public lands, and that is central part of the mission of the BLM," he said.

"Sure, you want to be respectful of the areas, but you also want to make sure that what we're doing in the use of those lands can put people to work in our part of the country," Tipton said.

Mineral leasing is just one part of his own position on energy policy, as stated in his proposed Planning for America's Energy Future Act, or "all of the above" as Tipton often refers to it.

That includes finding ways to further renewable energy options such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal alongside advances in fossil fuels technology, he said.

APNewsbreak: Voter group says dead people likely registered


APNewsbreak: Voter group says dead people likely registered

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Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — A data analysis firm hired by a voter registration group said on Tuesday that its analysis of Indiana's voter database found thousands of people over the age of 110 who would likely be deceased and are still registered to vote.

TargetSmart conducted a review of the state voter file maintained by Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson's office on behalf of Patriot Majority, a voter registration group with deep ties to the Democratic Party, which has been the focal point of a state police probe of possible voter fraud.

But Patriot Majority said the data firm's findings show that the statewide voter database is riddled with errors and this does not mean there was fraud.

The review found 837,000 voters with out-of-date addresses when compared to the United States Postal Service address database, as well as 4,556 duplicate registrations, 3,000 records without dates of birth and 31 records of registered voters who are too young to cast a ballot.

"There is clearly bad, missing and incomplete data," said Tom Bonier, the CEO of TargetSmart, which is affiliated with the Democratic Party. "So if you're seeing a lot of names changing or dates of birth changing, that's likely because the information she had on the file is incorrect."

The analysis comes after Lawson's office last week raised the possibility that "thousands" of changes to voters' first names and dates of birth in her records could be cases of voter registration fraud. She later acknowledged that many of the changes could come from voters rushing to update their online information ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

State police launched the investigation of Patriot Majority in late August after a clerk in Hendricks County, near Indianapolis, flagged roughly a dozen registration forms that had missing or suspicious information. Since then it has expanded to 56 counties in the state. It has also become highly politicized both in Indiana as well as on the national level, where Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, have repeatedly raised the possibility of a "rigged" election without offering proof.

Experts say cases of actual voter fraud are low and Indiana has a voter ID law that requires people to show photo identification before casting a ballot.

Still, state police Superintendent Doug Carter said in an interview last week with RTV6-TV that he believes "there's voter fraud and voter forgery in every state of America."

Carter, a former Republican sheriff elected in Hamilton County north of Indianapolis, served as a GOP county commissioner before Pence appointed him to the state police job.

TargetSmart's analysis also identified inconsistencies in the state's voter file over the last year, including names, middle initials and dates of birth that either appeared or disappeared after an update.

Lawson spokeswoman Valerie Warycha said the secretary of state took control of maintaining the state's voter database in 2014 and has launched a highly publicized campaign to get voters to update their records. Warycha said individual counties previously were in charge of updating their voter files, but not all regularly did so. By federal law, Warycha said purging out-of-date registrations takes several years.

"We've been very proactive in making sure that Hoosier voters voting information is up do take," she said.

This is not the first time Indiana's voter database has come under scrutiny.

In 2006, the state reached an agreement with the Justice Department intended to bring the state into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act by purging its voter rolls of those who had died or were listed more than once. That agreement came after the Justice Department found that Indiana had hundreds of thousands of ineligible voters on its registration lists, including possibly 29,000 dead people, and 290,000 duplicates.

Two voter watchdog groups, Judicial Watch and True the Vote, then sued Indiana in 2012, accusing the state of failing to maintain clean voter registration lists as required by the National Voter Registration Act. The two groups dropped their suit in June 2014 after state lawmakers approved changes in Indiana's election laws the groups had sought.

In May 2014, a month before the suit was dropped, Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced that her office had started a postcard drive to identify invalid voter registrations that she said would help restore "integrity" to the state's voter rolls. She said at the time that "it is estimated that at least one in eight voter registrations contains inaccurate information."

Trump hits hard at ‘Obamacare’ after gloomy report

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Trump hits hard at 'Obamacare' after gloomy report

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Associated Press

DORAL, Florida — Hoping for a potent late-campaign issue against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump declared Tuesday that "Obamacare is just blowing up" after the government projected sharp cost increases for President Barack Obama's health care program.

Just two weeks before Election Day, the New York businessman addressed the health care development during an appearance at one of his Florida golf resorts that highlighted the extraordinary intersection of his business and political interests. His message in a state he described as a "must-win," was somewhat scattershot, leaving questions of how well he and his party can capitalize on a revived emphasis on "Obamacare."

"We're down in Florida. We're at Trump National Doral. And it's one of the great places on earth," Trump said during a visit to his golf club before encouraging his employees to praise him at the microphone. He suggested that many of his workers are having "tremendous problems with Obamacare" while highlighting a report that predicted premium increases of roughly 25 percent for the coming year.

The Doral general manager later clarified that 95 percent of the club's employees are on company-provided insurance.

Trump vowed anew to "repeal and replace" the president's signature health care overhaul. Clinton says she wants to keep the best of the program but make improvements.

The Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday that premiums will go up sharply next year under the health care program, and many consumers will be down to just one choice for their insurer. Before taxpayer-provided subsidies, premiums for a midlevel benchmark plan will increase an average of 25 percent across the 39 states served by the federally run online market. Some states will see much bigger jumps, others less.

The report gives some Republicans some new hope in the presidential contest's final days as Trump's path to the White House narrows.

Clinton has yet to comment on the projected health care increases. She has previously promised to address health care cost increases and the declining insurance options if elected.

On Monday, the Democratic nominee campaigned alongside New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is in a tight Senate race against Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte. The two Democrats got an assist from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was merciless as she seized on recent revelations of Trump's predatory sexual language and several allegations of sexual assault.

"He thinks that because he has a mouth full of Tic Tacs, he can force himself on any woman within groping distance," Warren charged. "I've got news for you Donald: Women have had it with guys like you."

Trump, in an interview with WGIR radio in New Hampshire, called the accusations "total fiction." He lashed out at his latest accuser, former adult film performer Jessica Drake, who said Saturday that he had grabbed and kissed her without permission and offered her money to visit his hotel room a decade ago.

"One said, 'He grabbed me on the arm.' And she's a porn star," Trump said. He added, "Oh, I'm sure she's never been grabbed before."

Trump, who must win Florida to have any chance at the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, is appearing at three Florida campaign events on Tuesday. Clinton, who can win the presidency with or without Florida, is making just one appearance, in the southern part of the state.

"I believe Florida's a must-win and I think we're winning it," Trump told Fox News Tuesday with most recent polls giving Clinton a slight lead.

While they spar from a distance, hundreds of thousands of Floridians are voting. Tuesday marks the second day of early in-person voting. Early voting by mail began two weeks ago.

Nearly 300,000 Florida voters showed up for the first day of in-person early voting on Monday, new totals from state election officials showed. Altogether, more than 1.6 million Floridians have voted so far.

Traditionally, Republicans have run up a large advantage in mail-in-ballots, while Democrats rely on early voting to boost their turnout numbers. But this year the parties are running nearly even. So far, slightly more than 665,000 Republican voters have cast ballots in the state, compared to slightly more than 658,000 Democrats. Another 300,000 voters with no party affiliation have also voted.

At the same time, a new national poll shows young voters turning to Clinton now that the race has settled down to two main candidates. Clinton now leads among likely voters 18 to 30 years in age by 60 percent to 19 percent, according to a new GenForward survey.

Young black voters already were solidly in her corner, and now young whites are moving her way, according to the survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.


Peoples reported from Washington. AP writer Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Florida contributed to this report.


Reach Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JonLemire and Peoples at http://twitter.com/sppeoples

Clinton camp preparing for possibility Trump won’t concede after Nov. 8 election

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Hillary Clinton's campaign is increasingly preparing for the possibility that Donald Trump may never concede the presidential election should she win, a development that could enormously complicate the crucial early weeks of her preparations to take office.

Aiming to undermine any argument the Republican nominee may make about a "rigged" election, she hopes to roll up a large electoral vote margin in next month's election. That could repudiate the New York billionaire's message and project a governing mandate after the bitter, divisive presidential race.

Clinton's team is also keeping a close eye on statements by national Republican leaders, predicting they could play an important role in how Trump's accusations of electoral fraud might be perceived. That's according to several Clinton campaign aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss internal strategy.

Campaign officials stress they are not taking the outcome of the election for granted. But Clinton and her team have begun thinking about how to position their candidate during the postelection period. Long one of the country's most polarizing political figures, Clinton has begun telling audiences she'll need their help in healing the country.

"I've got to figure out how we heal these divides," she said in a Friday interview with a Tampa radio station WBTP. "We've got to get together. Maybe that's a role that is meant to be for my presidency if I'm so fortunate to be there."

A refusal by Trump to accept the election results would not only upend a basic tenet of American democracy, but also force Clinton to create a new playbook for handling the transfer of power. And a narrow victory would make it more difficult for her to claim substantial political capital at the start of her administration.

"Donald is still going to whine if he loses. But if the mandate is clear, I don't think many people will follow him," said Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, in an interview Thursday with CNN's "New Day."

While Clinton's campaign has long focused on maintaining pathways to cross the threshold of 270 electoral votes, it's now looking to capture an expanded number of states that could also help determine control of the Senate — including Republican-leaning Arizona.

Polls indicate that Clinton has extended her advantage in several toss-up states during the three fall debates, giving her campaign more confidence. She has maintained stable leads in states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado, as well as a narrow edge in Florida and North Carolina.

"They're looking at it like this: We've got these doors of opportunity open, let's make sure we go down all of them,'" said Jeremy Bird, the national field director for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign who is helping Clinton's team.

If Clinton wins the White House, she will enter as one of the least popular first-term presidents in generations. While Trump has suffered from high unfavorable ratings, particularly among women, Clinton has been hampered by polls showing more than half of the public considers her to be untrustworthy.

Some Republicans are already preparing for Trump's defeat, downplaying the significance of a Clinton triumph.

"On Nov. 8, Clinton's claims of a mandate will fly in the face of reality. She only won by not being Trump," tweeted conservative writer Erick Erickson. Rolling up a big victory in the Electoral College would let Clinton push back against that notion and assert that voters had rejected what she has called Trump's mean, divisive message.

In a race against Trump and Independents Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, Clinton may struggle to reach 50 percent of the vote. But competing in states such as Arizona and pushing for Senate victories in Missouri and Indiana might help Democrats in their quest to recapture the Senate and give her a better chance of surpassing Obama's 332 electoral votes in the 2012 campaign.

Clinton's campaign is making a significant push in Arizona, which offers 11 electoral votes and has stayed in the Republican column in all but one presidential election since 1952. Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to carry the state, in 1996.

First lady Michelle Obama courted voters in Phoenix on Thursday, following appearances by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Clintons' daughter, Chelsea Clinton. The campaign is spending $2 million in advertising and toying with sending Clinton herself there before Election Day.

"I think it's clear that Hillary Clinton has a chance to win Arizona just like her husband did 20 years ago," said Rodd McLeod, a Phoenix-based Democratic strategist who helped Clinton's campaign during the primary.

Two other Republican-leaning states could prove tempting.

Georgia, which has had an influx of diverse voters in the Atlanta area, is considered a future battleground state, with many Democrats comparing it to North Carolina.

Utah overwhelmingly supported Mitt Romney, the nation's first Mormon presidential nominee, with more than 72 percent in 2012. But many of the state's Republicans have abandoned Trump and polls show Clinton and Trump in a tight contest against Independent Evan McMullin, a conservative former CIA officer who graduated from Brigham Young University.

If McMullin captures Utah, he will be the first Independent presidential candidate to win electoral votes since George Wallace in 1968.

Off his message again: Trump vows to sue all female accusers

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Steering his campaign toward controversy yet again, Donald Trump vowed Saturday to sue every woman who has accused him of sexual assault or other inappropriate behavior. He called them "liars" whose allegations he blamed Democrats for orchestrating.

Trump's blunt threat of legal action eclipsed his planned focus on serious-minded policy during a speech in Gettysburg. Though his campaign had billed the speech as a chance for Trump to lay out a to-do list for his first 100 days as president, he seemed unable to restrain himself from re-litigating grievances with Hillary Clinton, the media and especially the women who have come forward in recent days.

"All of these liars will be sued once the election is over," Trump said. He added later: "I look so forward to doing that."

Nearly a dozen women have publicly accused Trump of unwanted advances or sexual assault in the weeks since a 2005 recording emerged in which the former reality TV star boasted of kissing women and groping their genitals without their consent. The latest came Saturday, when an adult film actress said the billionaire kissed her and two other women on the lips "without asking for permission" when they met him after a golf tournament in 2006.

Trump has denied all the allegations while insisting some of the women weren't attractive enough for him to want to pursue.

"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign," he said. Without offering evidence, he surmised that Clinton or the Democratic National Committee had put the women up to it.

Clinton's campaign said Trump's threat of litigation was a troubling insight into a potential Trump presidency.

Trump's broadside against the women came at the start of an otherwise substantive speech that sought to weave the many policy ideas he has put forward into a single, cohesive agenda that he said he would pursue aggressively during his first three months in office.

The Republican nominee vowed to lift restrictions on domestic energy production, label China as a currency manipulator and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, familiar themes to supporters who have flocked to his rallies this year.

"This is my pledge to you, and if we follow these steps, we will once again have a government of, by and for the people," Trump said, invoking a phrase from President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Though mostly a recap of policies he's proposed before, Trump's speech included a few new elements, such as a freeze on hiring new federal workers and a two-year mandatory minimum sentence for immigrants who re-enter the U.S. illegally after being deported a first time. In a pledge sure to raise eyebrows on Wall Street, he said he'd block a potential merger between AT&T and media conglomerate Time Warner.

Translating his proposals into digestible bullet points, he offered to-the-point titles for the legislative vehicles he'd need Congress to approve to accomplish his goals, such as the "End Illegal Immigration Act" and the "Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act."

Throughout the GOP primary, Trump was criticized for shying away from detailed policy proposals. But his speech, which aides said would form the core of his closing argument to voters, underscored how the billionaire has gradually compiled a broad — if sometimes vague — policy portfolio that straddles conservative, isolationist and populist orthodoxies.

Yet any headway that Trump may have made was likely to be diluted by his legal threats against his accusers, just the latest example of Trump stepping on his intended message at inopportune moments. Days earlier, during the final debate, his otherwise well-received performance was marred by an alarming statement near the end that he might not accept the outcome of the election if he loses.

Trump didn't say what kind of lawsuits he planned to file against the women, but any libel litigation could be complicated by the fact that Trump, in the 2005 recording, bragged about the same kind of conduct the women now accuse him of perpetrating. Trump recently vowed to sue The New York Times for libel, but has not yet followed through on the threat.

With the debates now over, Trump and Clinton have few apparent opportunities to alter the course of the race substantially — a reality that benefits Clinton more than Trump. The Republican is trailing his opponent in most of the battleground states, while Clinton eyes potential upset victories in traditionally safe GOP territory, with Arizona at the top of the list.

An increasingly confident Clinton on Saturday made what's become her closing pitch in Pittsburgh, stressing unity and asking her backers to carry her message to any Trump supporters they meet.

"I understand that they need a president who cares about them, will listen to them, and I want to be their president," she said.

As Election Day nears, Clinton also is focusing on getting Democrats elected to Congress. She attacked the state's Republican senator, Pat Toomey, saying he has refused to "stand up" to Trump as she touted his Democratic challenger, Katie McGinty.

Her campaign headquarters in New York was back up and running after a scare over an envelope that arrived containing a white powdery substance. Initial tests showed the substance wasn't harmful.

Meanwhile, Clinton was getting a campaign boost Saturday from singer and pop icon Katy Perry, who was pushing early voting in Las Vegas.

More than 4.4 million votes have already been cast. Data compiled by The Associated Press found that Clinton appeared to be displaying strength in crucial North Carolina and Florida, while Trump appeared to be holding ground in Ohio, Iowa and Georgia.


Lederman reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Catherine Lucey in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

Donald Trump to campaign in Colorado Springs, Grand Junction on Tuesday

Donald Trump is planning a return trip to Colorado next Tuesday — just in time for the beginning of mail-in ballot season.

The upcoming visit to Colorado Springs and Grand Junction on Oct. 18 comes a day after Colorado's Secretary of State will start sending ballots to state residents.

It also comes at a tenuous time for the Republican nominee. His campaign has faced a barrage of criticism since a 2005 tape surfaced last week that showed Trump making lewd and disparaging comments about women.

Immediately afterward, two of Colorado's five congressional Republicans disavowed Trump: U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman. But he still enjoys support from U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck.

Read the rest of this story at http://www.denverpost.com.

Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump speaks Friday, July 29, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Stacie Scott/The Gazette via AP)
Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump speaks Friday, July 29, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Stacie Scott/The Gazette via AP)

Facebook co-founder pledging $20 million to defeat Trump

WASHINGTON — With a new promise of $20 million to help defeat Donald Trump, billionaire Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz becomes one of the top Democratic donors of the election

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur called the Republican presidential candidate dangerous and divisive and says his appeal to Americans who feel left behind is "quite possibly a deliberate con."

By contrast, Moskovitz said, Democrats and their nominee, Hillary Clinton, are "running on a vision of optimism, pragmatism, inclusiveness and mutual benefit."

Trump has struggled to gain traction among the tech elite, even though Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan have worked for years to strengthen the party's relationship with the industry.

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison gave $5 million to a super political action committee backing Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the primary. He has not made a presidential contribution since Rubio dropped out. Republican Meg Whitman, the chief executive officer of Hewlett Packard, so despises Trump that she has vowed to invest significant money in Clinton, whom she endorsed last month.

One of the few tech leaders to warm up to Trump is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and was a Trump delegate.

Yet the billionaire who pumped more than $2.4 million into efforts to elect Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul four years ago hadn't written the Trump campaign so much as a $201 check as of July. 31, records show.

Trump has made few fundraising trips to Northern California, while Clinton was there a little over two weeks ago — and returns next week.

Moskovitz wrote about his planned Democratic contributions in a Thursday night posting on the website Medium titled "Compelled to Act." Until now, Moskowitz had made only one federal campaign contribution, $5,200 in 2013 to Democrat Sean Eldridge. The husband of another Facebook co-founder, Eldridge unsuccessfully ran for a New York congressional seat.

Half of the $20 million Moskovitz and his wife, Cari Tuna, are giving will go to the League of Conservation Voters and to a political action committee called For Our Future. The latter group is a get-out-the-vote effort in battleground states that is paid for primarily by labor unions and hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

Moskovitz and Tuna also are giving directly to Clinton's campaign and to party committees helping Senate and congressional Democrats.

"As a nation, we need to figure out how to bring everyone with us, and we believe the Democratic platform currently is more aligned with ensuring that happens," he wrote.

"In comparison, Donald Trump's promises to this group are quite possibly a deliberate con, an attempt to rally energy and support without the ability or intention to deliver. His proposals are so implausible that the nation is forced to worry that his interest in the presidency might not even extend beyond winning a contest and promoting his personal brand."

Only Steyer has given more this year to Democrats, campaign finance records show. The Californian has put up almost $40 million so far to promote environmental issues and help elect Clinton and other Democrats.


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