The Latest: Pence doing “a little” studying ahead of debate


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. presidential race (all times EDT):

12:10 p.m.

Mike Pence says he’s spending “a little bit of time” preparing for next week’s vice presidential debate.

The Republican vice presidential nominee says that includes “a little bit of studying” and holding mock debate sessions with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. He was interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Monday.

Pence plans to attend Monday night’s debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, which he described as “the main event.” He plans to take the weekend off from campaigning to prepare for his Oct. 4 debate with Democrat Tim Kaine.

Pence says he is doing his “level best to be ready” by “brushing up” on issues outside of his day job as governor of Indiana.

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12 p.m.

Donald Trump’s running mate is calling Vladimir Putin a “small and bullying leader.”

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said that any statements he and Trump have made about Putin are not endorsements of the Russian president.

Trump has called Putin “a leader — unlike what we have in this country.”

Pence says the comments are an indictment of the leadership of President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Pence said Putin’s actions in Ukraine and elsewhere show that the U.S. has a weakened position in the world.

Pence was interviewed Monday on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

Pence is holding a rally in New Hampshire before traveling with Trump to attend Monday night’s presidential debate.

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11:30 a.m.

Mike Pence says he hopes the moderator in Monday night’s presidential debate does not fact-check Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The Republican vice presidential nominee said that moderator Lester Holt’s job should be to ask questions and allow the candidates “to take issue with one another where they feel inclined to do that.” Pence was interviewed Monday on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

Pence has his own debate coming up next week with Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential candidate. He said he hopes moderators in all future debates — including his own — will simply ask questions and let the candidates respond.

Pence said: “The rest of you people afterward can do all the commentating and let the American people decide.”

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10:50 a.m.

Fox Searchlight will hold voter registration enrollment in theater lobbies ahead of screenings of the Nat Turner slave rebellion drama “The Birth of a Nation.”

The film dramatizes the events leading up to the failed Turner-led revolt in 1831. Its release has been overshadowed by a 17-year-old rape case involving Nate Parker, the film’s director and star.

Fox Searchlight said Monday that the voter initiative will roll out nationwide during promotional screenings on Sept. 27, National Voter Registration Day, as well as on opening weekend, Oct. 7-9.

It said some 20 theater chains and independent theaters are participating.

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9:25 a.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager says her boss’ comment that presidential debate moderator Lester Holt is a Democrat isn’t a lie, because the candidate didn’t know Holt’s voter registration.

The Republican nominee tried to discredit Holt when he told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly last week that “Lester is a Democrat. It’s a phony system. They are all Democrats.”

Holt is the anchor of NBC Nightly News and is registered as a Republican in New York.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was asked about why Trump would make a definitive statement about something he didn’t know on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

She said, “He didn’t lie. A lie would mean he knew the man’s party affiliation.”

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8:15 a.m.

The two presidential campaigns disagree on whether moderators should fact-check the candidates’ comments during debates.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, says debate moderators should correct any false statements by Trump so Clinton can use her time discussing her plans instead of correcting her rival. But Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, says fact-checking Trump is tantamount to helping Clinton.

Mook told NBC’s “Today” show on Monday that the media need to hold Trump accountable and not use low expectations to judge his performance. “We don’t want Donald Trump’s lies, distortions to be a distraction,” he said.

Conway told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” the Clinton campaign is trying to “game the ref” — a reference to debate moderators — by pushing them to correct Trump’s statements.

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7:40 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager says Clinton’s priority at Monday’s debate is explaining her policies to the American public.

Robby Mook tells NBC’s “Today” show that Clinton knows she needs to earn voters’ trust. He said: “We want this to be about the issues. We want both candidates to explain their plans to the American people.”

Mook said his primary concern is that Trump will get “the most improved award,” but Clinton will get judged on “the fine points of policy.”

He added: “Donald Trump is an experienced reality show entertainer so he may decide this is a chance to show his chops.”

He said the campaign wants Clinton “to have as much time as possible to talk about how she’s going to make a difference.”

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7:10 a.m.

Donald Trump’s campaign manager says she’s confident he’ll do well in his debate with Hillary Clinton, saying the “natural connective tissue he has with people” will be on display.

Kellyanne Conway also says she expects Trump to say more about his plan to defeat the Islamic State group. She says “he’ll be happy to offer specifics without telling the enemy what we’re going to do.”

Speaking Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe, Conway said “people are just amazed” that Clinton outlined her strategy against IS on her website.

Asked about Trump’s preparations for the primetime television faceoff, Conway says he’s studied the issues and “I can see that this man is ready for tonight.”

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3:35 a.m.

After months of tangling from afar, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are preparing to confront each other face-to-face in the first presidential debate, laying out for voters their vastly different visions for the nation’s future.

The high-stakes Monday night showdown is the first of three presidential debates. It comes as both candidates are viewed negatively by large numbers of Americans, with Democrat Clinton facing questions about her trustworthiness and Republican Trump struggling to convince many voters that he has the temperament and policy depth to be president.

Interest in the presidential race has been intense, and the campaigns are expecting a record-breaking audience to watch the 90-minute televised debate at New York’s Hofstra University.

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