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News Nation/World 2016 Presidential Election Trail Guide

Donald Trump tells supporters at a rally in Ohio that he fears the general election could be rigged while continuing to dodge criticism for insulting the parents of a fallen soldier.

No parks bond is getting passed this year

Donald Trump calls Hillary Clinton 'the devil' at Pennsylvania rally

Donald Trump has kind words for Paul Ryan's primary challenger

Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker, recently voiced support for the family of an Army captain killed in Iraq but never mentioned that they were in the news because of Donald Trump's attacks on them. 

Clinton makes a play for a single electoral vote, with help from Warren Buffett

In what could be a close election, every electoral vote matters. And so at an event in Omaha on Monday to encourage a huge voter turnout there on Nov. 8, billionaire Warren Buffett was offering free rides to the polls.

Hillary Clinton did one better.

“Warren and I will dance in the streets of Omaha together,” she promised, saying she'd return as president if voter turnout in the district is highest in the country.

Nebraska, unlike every other state but Maine, does not simply award its electoral college votes to the winner of the statewide popular vote. Instead, just two of its five electoral votes go to the statewide winner, while one additional vote is awarded to the winner of each of its three congressional districts.

In 2008, the Obama campaign contested Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District — mainly the city of Omaha — and managed to pick off its vote. Aides dubbed it "Obamaha," but the president’s campaign failed to replicate it in 2012. Now, Hillary Clinton is making another run at it.

Buffett noted that one political analyst had recently predicted a 269-269 electoral vote tie.

“I am looking at the people who can change that 269 to 270,” he said.

Buffett said he was committed to making voter turnout in the congressional district the highest of any in the country, and said he’d personally arrange for transportation via trolley to the polls for anyone in the district who might need it.

“I’m going to be on it all day," Buffett said of the trolley. "I’m going to do selfies, whatever it takes. Let's give America a civics lesson! How about it?”

Even if Clinton fails to carry the district, the stop could help boost her standing nearby. The Omaha media market reaches into western Iowa, a swing state in November.

Black Lives Matter has signed onto a platform in time for the presidential election. Here's what it says

Protesters rally against police brutality near New York City Hall. (Drew Angerer / AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters rally against police brutality near New York City Hall. (Drew Angerer / AFP/Getty Images)

Days after the close of the Republican and Democratic conventions, Black Lives Matter-related groups on Monday endorsed a wide-ranging platform intended to influence political candidates before the November election.

It marks the first time that Black Lives Matter, better known for its widespread protests against police shootings of black Americans, has officially entered the national political fray in terms of policy. The group’s members have been criticized for being heavy on protest and light on policy.

The platform, which calls for “black liberation,” makes 40 policy recommendations. Some are mainstream, such as calling for an end to the death penalty — something the Democratic Party has also endorsed in its platform. Others are more radical, such as reparations, including free public tuition to public universities, for “past and continuing harm” against black people.

It also advocates a ban on deportations; federal and state laws that will “acknowledge the lasting impacts of slavery”; and government investment in education, mental health and job initiatives for black Americans.

Warren Buffett challenges Trump: Let's release our tax returns together

Clinton campaign officials like to say that one of the many reasons not to entrust Donald Trump with the presidency is his thin skin.

And over and over again, they seem eager to get under it.

The latest example came Monday as one of the world's richest men, the so-called Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, made an offer he hopes Trump can't refuse.

Noting that Trump's refusal to release his tax returns is a break from past presidential hopefuls, Buffett cast doubt on Trump's explanation that he can't because he's under audit.

Buffett, a fellow billionaire, said he, too, is under audit - and that nothing prohibits them both from releasing their returns.

"You will learn a whole lot more about Donald Trump if he releases his tax return," he said. 

"I would be delighted to meet him any place, any time between now and election day. I'll bring my tax return, he can bring his."

Buffett also criticized Trump's recent public feud with the Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father of a fallen U.S. service member who questioned whether Trump had ever sacrificed anything for his country. Trump responded by pointing to his record of creating jobs.

"We both have done extremely well," Buffett said. "Donald Trump and I haven't sacrificed anything."

Warren Buffett recalls McCarthy era, asks Donald Trump if he has 'no sense of decency'

Warren Buffett recalled McCarthyism while he skewered Donald Trump for his criticism of the parents of a fallen solider.

Buffett asked Trump if he has "no sense of decency" while introducing Hillary Clinton in Nebraska, referencing the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s.

Warren Buffett to Donald Trump: Let's both answer questions about our tax returns

Berkshire Hathaway Chief Executive Warren Buffett challenged Donald Trump to meet with him so they could both answer questions about their tax returns. Both Buffett and Trump are currently being audited, and Trump has cited the audit as the reason he will not release his tax returns.

Buffett told Hillary Clinton supporters in his native Nebraska that they are the reason the Republican nominee is afraid to release his tax returns.

"You're only afraid if you have something to be afraid about," Buffett said. "He's not afraid because of the IRS. He's afraid because of you."

At Koch retreat, Paul Ryan stays mum on Trump, touts economic agenda

On the final day of a swanky retreat here for conservative donors, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan regaled the audience with his plan to bolster House Republicans in the 2016 election.

He'd put forth an economic agenda to reduce poverty, tackle corporate loopholes and reform the tax code, all based on the conservative ideals of open markets, free trade and slashed government spending.

"We want to be known for this. We want to run on this. We want to earn the right to put this in place," Ryan told attendees Monday afternoon at the Koch brothers-organized event. "That’s the kind of validating election we’re seeking."

Then came Donald Trump.

Ryan made no mention of the Republican presidential nominee during his half-hour remarks, but Trump's more populist economic stances -- from skepticism on free trade to a reticence to retool entitlement programs like Social Security --loomed large as Ryan laid out his vision to remake the Republican Party.

Ryan said he had once envisioned joining forces with the GOP nominee to campaign on their agenda during the election year.

"We have a different kind of nominee now," Ryan said, prompting laughs from the audience. "It’s unique."

Still, Ryan insisted House GOP members would continue to tout the plan in their respective races.

"This is nothing short than our legislative road map, our agenda, our timeline for 2017," Ryan said.

The speaker also decried the rhetoric around markets and trade as being framed as a zero-sum game, an implicit rebuke to Trump's constant charge that America is losing at the expense of other countries because of free trade.

“It’s really more about collaboration … not about competition between a winner and a loser," he said.

Ryan returned to a familiar theme he has pushed in recent years: urging Republicans to be more active on poverty reduction. He said the GOP had ceded the "moral high ground" on the issue to the left.

Referencing his Catholic upbringing, he touted the concept of "subsidiarity," which says political decisions should be made at the local level -- a philosophy often espoused by California Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.

But he also challenged Republicans to rethink their relationship to corporations, charging the party's cozy relationship to businesses sometimes leads it astray from small-government principles.

"Our challenge is to be a pro-market party and not a pro-business party," Ryan said.

Navigating that distinction, he added, is "the fight for the soul of our party."

Ryan was led in a question-and-answer session with Daniel Garza of the Koch-backed LIBRE Initiative, which focuses on appealing to Latino voters. He was not asked about the latest controversy roiling the presidential race: Trump's contentious back-and-forth with the parents of a Muslim Army captain who died in Iraq.

Checking in on a die-hard Trump supporter after a tough week for the candidate

Peggy Hayes, a Donald Trump supporter, is a self-employed personal trainer in Virginia. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Peggy Hayes, a Donald Trump supporter, is a self-employed personal trainer in Virginia. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Donald Trump has had a rough patch over the past week, so I called a die-hard Trump supporter whom I profiled in April to see what she thought of all the news.

Peggy Hayes, a personal trainer who lives outside Fredericksburg, Va., compared the presidential campaign to an ever-changing tennis match, with news and information changing rapidly, and momentum bouncing back and forth.  

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” she said.

Hayes said she is trying nonetheless to follow all the news; she watched as much of the party conventions as she could, despite a busy work schedule and home life.

“It’s an ever-changing landscape, but I’m still in the Trump train,” Hayes said.

That does not mean she has been happy with everything Trump has said. She thinks the media overdid the controversy last week surrounding Trump’s comments that Russia should find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails and release them. Yet she thought Trump was in the wrong this past weekend when he criticized the parents of a soldier who lost their son in the Iraq war.

“That was horrible,” she said of Trump’s comments. “That should not have been said.”

Still, Hayes also brought up Clinton’s latest problems, including her false statement statement on "Fox News Sunday" that FBI Director James Comey had called Clinton’s statements about her private email server “truthful.”

Hayes agreed with commentators who found the GOP convention dark. But she said she also found the Democratic convention dark, pointing out the staging that included mothers who had lost their sons in police shootings and what she perceived as a pained look on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ face.

Trump, in Ohio, tries to get past his self-imposed controversies, but is only partly successful

Before an audience of Ohio loyalists, Donald Trump tried Monday to revert to his usual pitch, pledging that he would repeal Obamacare, dramatically lessen regulations governing business and rebuild the nation’s manufacturing base.

But the distractions that have cost his campaign four precious days surfaced nonetheless.

Trump did not mention his verbal battle with the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who died in Iraq, nor was he asked about it by any of the three questioners at a town hall here that was dominated by his own remarks.

He did defend himself over a secondary weekend maelstrom, his Sunday remarks to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that seemed to imply that he was unaware that Russian troops had already invaded Ukraine, in 2014.

Trump insisted, as he had in a statement released Sunday, that he meant to say that Russia would not invade Ukraine on his watch.

But then he suggested a softening of the U.S. approach to Russia, which the Obama administration has condemned for its actions.

“The person said, ‘But they’re already in Ukraine.’ I said, ‘Yeah, well, that was two years ago,’" Trump told his Ohio audience.

“I mean, do you want to go back?  Do you want to have World War III to get it back? “ he asked.

“Wouldn’t it be  great if we actually got along with Russia — am I wrong in saying that?” Trump asked.

He also asserted that dislike of President Obama had pushed Russia and China together in an alliance. Trump’s softer stance concerning Russia goes against generations of Republican orthodoxy — not that Trump has hewed to that much in his campaign.

Other than delving into Ukrainian matters, Trump kept to his usual condemnations of “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, his November adversary. And he asserted, without explaining why, that he was “afraid the election's going to be rigged. I've got to be honest."

He spent only some of his time on the most important element of his argument to Ohioans — the iffy state of the economy. He repeated details of a 4-day-old report that showed meager economic growth in the last quarter — a report that but for his self-induced controversies might have served as a means for Trump to cut into Clinton’s post-convention momentum last week.

“We’re sinking, we’re sinking,” he said, adding that “they call it the Rust Belt for a reason” — meaning that factories now unused had rusted out.

Clinton, he said, would be “all talk, no action.”

If Ohio, perhaps the most important state in the general election, votes for Clinton, “you’re going to be let down,” Trump said.

Trump’s visit to Columbus got off on a sour note when hundreds of supporters were denied entrance to his event at the local convention center.

Trump made himself available to reporters before his speech, where he fumed that “They’ve all been turned away. … That’s politics at its lowest.”

He blamed the fire marshal. Officials with the marshal and convention center offices told reporters that the room reserved by the Trump campaign had reached capacity. The Columbus Dispatch said hundreds were turned away, not the thousands claimed by Trump.

The audience was one of the smallest in memory for the Republican nominee.

Donald Trump alludes to saving Ted Cruz after RNC speech

Donald Trump alluded to saving Ted Cruz after his speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland earlier this month during a rally in Ohio. Trump said he "saved" the life of a "certain man" after Cruz was booed during his speech at the convention.

Trump fears presidential election might be 'rigged'

Donald Trump told his supporters he fears the general election might be rigged after he discussed Bernie Sanders at a rally in Ohio.

Donald Trump touts July fundraising totals in Ohio

Donald Trump praised his July fundraising totals at a rally in Ohio on Monday afternoon. He specifically cited that the average donation to the campaign was $69.

How Trump supporters are pushing back against the Khan controversy

While many Republicans have rebuked Donald Trump for attacking Khizr Khan and his wife — who lost their U.S. Army captain son, Humayun, in the war in Iraq — some of Trump's allies are rallying to his side and, in the process, attacking Khan.

Trump's longtime ally, political consultant Roger Stone, who has a long history as a controversialist, set the pattern on Twitter Sunday night by linking to an article that accused Khan, an immigration lawyer from Virginia, of being an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood, an inflammatory and unproved charge.

Here is what else you can expect to hear from some of Trump's backers as the controversy builds:

—Hillary Clinton, they say, is not being called out adequately for contradicting Pat Smith, another Gold Star mother, whose son Sean was one of the Americans killed in the attack in 2012 on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Smith blames Clinton for misrepresenting the cause of the attack that took her son's death, and ultimately for the death itself.

—Khan, they note, once worked for a law firm that represented Saudi Arabia, which has donated to the Clinton Foundation. 

—They argue that because Clinton voted for the war in Iraq, she should be called to account for the death of Humayun Khan, who died 12 years ago in a suicide bomb attack. Trump supported the Iraq war at the time, although he now claims to have opposed it.

—The Khans, some Trump supporters say, opened themselves to criticism by taking the stage at a political event, thus politicizing their son's death.

Obama targets Trump over comments on military, Gold Star family

Donald Trump’s continued online sparring with the parents of a fallen Iraq war veteran drew an implicit rebuke from President Obama, who honored Gold Star families during a speech in Atlanta on Monday as “a powerful reminder of the true strength of America.”

Obama never named the Republican nominee as he addressed a convention of disabled veterans. But he clearly took issue not only with Trump’s reprisals to Khizr and Ghazala Khan after their emotional appearance at the Democratic convention, but his rhetoric about the U.S. military and commitment to U.S. alliances like NATO.

“As commander-in-chief, I'm pretty tired of some folks trash-talking America's military and troops,” he said. “We have the most capable fighting force in history, and we’re going to keep it that way. And no ally or adversary should ever doubt our strength and our resolve.”

Obama’s only explicit reference to the Democratic National Convention was to the Gold Star mother he said he asked to introduce him before his prime-time speech. A Gold Star is presented to family members of soldiers who die while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

“No one -- no one has given more for our freedom and security than our Gold Star families,” he said. “They serve as a powerful reminder of the true strength of America. And we have to do everything we can for those families. And honor them. And be humbled by them.”

Trump, who has tweeted that Mr. Khan “viciously” attacked him, answered Khizr Khan’s challenge that he had not sacrificed anything for his country by discussing his business career.

Obama said that Gold Star families “have made a sacrifice that most of us cannot begin to imagine.”

“This is a group that understands sacrifice,” he added at the Disabled American Veterans convention.

Obama’s visit to Atlanta includes a more overt political stop: his first appearance at a fundraiser for Clinton’s campaign.

The event at a private home will generate at least $1 million for the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account between Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Pocket Constitution becomes bestseller after Khizr Khan's convention speech

It's one of the most important documents in the history of democracy. And now, thanks to an emotional speech delivered at the Democratic National Convention last week, a pocket-sized version of the U.S. Constitution is one of the most popular books in the country.

As of Monday morning, a 52-page, pamphlet-sized version of the document was the No. 2 bestselling book on Amazon, second only to the newly released "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child."

Without naming Trump, Obama defends U.S. military and veterans' families

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