The Latest: White House applauds Clinton debate performance


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

1:30 p.m.

The White House is applauding Hillary Clinton for her debate performance, saying the candidate the president strongly supports is the candidate who performed “quite strongly.”

Spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama watched Monday’s debate from the White House Treaty Room. He said Clinton made a powerful case for building on the economic progress the United States has made during the Obama years in digging out of the biggest downturn since the Depression.

Earnest is also contrasting Republican Donald Trump’s unwillingness to release his tax returns to Obama’s decision to do so as a candidate and as president.

Earnest said that transparency is “good for the process and good for voters as they make a really important decision about the future of the country.”

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1:05 p.m.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is meeting with Gov. Scott Walker for debate preparation in Wisconsin.

Pence spokesman Marc Lotter says the Indiana governor was to meet with Walker on Tuesday, one week before Pence squares off against Democrat Tim Kaine in their only debate. Walker is standing in for Kaine in Pence’s debate preparation. They have previously held similar mock debate sessions.

Pence is also attending a fundraiser in Madison. He has no official public events in Wisconsin on Tuesday. He had previously announced an evening rally in the conservative city of Waukesha, but it was canceled because Donald Trump is going to be there Wednesday night

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12:55 p.m.

Former New Hampshire Gov. John H. Sununu is the latest Donald Trump skeptic to back the Republican presidential nominee.

Sununu says Trump is the only candidate who can “bring bold change” to Washington.

Sununu was White House chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush.

The Trump campaign touted Sununu’s endorsement Tuesday, after Sununu introduced vice presidential nominee Mike Pence at a rally Monday in the state.

But Democrats are pointing out that Sununu hasn’t always been a fan of Trump. He once told a Bloomberg reporter that Republicans’ chance of winning back the governorship would be hurt by Trump.

Sununu’s son, Chris Sununu, is the Republican nominee for governor.

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12:25 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden is questioning Donald Trump’s “moral center” as a result of the Republican presidential candidate’s comments about America’s housing collapse.

Biden told a Hillary Clinton rally at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Tuesday that Trump had bragged at Monday’s presidential debate about profiting from the failed housing market.

The vice president said Trump “is a guy who said it was good business for him to see the housing market fail.”

Biden added, “What in the hell is he talking about?”

At the debate, Clinton said Trump had rooted for the housing collapse in 2006 because he saw it as a way to go in and make money. Trump responded, “That’s called business, by the way.”

Biden said Trump “brags about gaming the system and bankruptcy.”

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12:15 p.m.

FBI Director James Comey says his agency granted immunity to Hillary Clinton’s former chief of staff because agents wanted to inspect her laptop as part of a now-closed FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Comey told a Senate committee on Tuesday that an immunity deal for Cheryl Mills was limited to information contained on her laptop. He added that the FBI’s collective judgment was that “we need to get to that laptop.”

Comey told Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, that Mills was acting as a member of Clinton’s legal team in the case. He said the FBI decided it would take too long to try to force Mills to turn over the laptop without an immunity deal.

The FBI investigated Clinton’s use of a private mail server for official communications while secretary of state, but no charges were filed.

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11:30 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is praising Donald Trump’s debate performance, saying he showed he can “go toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton.”

Ryan said Trump “gave a unique Donald Trump response to the status quo… I think he passed a number of thresholds.”

The Wisconsin Republican refused to comment on Trump’s attacks Tuesday morning on a Miss Universe contestant over her weight gain. He said he hadn’t seen Trump’s remarks.

Despite Ryan’s positive spin, some other House Republicans voiced some disappointment over Trump’s performance. Some said there were missed opportunities to attack Clinton over her family foundation and other issues that didn’t come up in the debate.

Congressman Bill Flores of Texas says Trump “wasn’t quite as consistent as I would’ve liked him to have been.”

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11:25 a.m.

A senior House Democrat says Donald Trump “came unhinged” during Monday’s debate and demonstrated that he is not qualified to be president.

Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, the chairman of the Democratic Caucus, told reporters Tuesday that Trump showed disrespect to Clinton and American voters by constantly “badgering and interrupting” the Democratic presidential nominee.

Becerra said: “Donald Trump essentially showed who he is.” He said: “He gave us a sense of his character and his temperament.”

Becerra says Trump “came unhinged” at several points, though the congressman didn’t cite specific examples.

He said “that’s the last thing you want for a president who will have his or her finger over the nuclear button.”

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11:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she’s feeling good after Monday night’s debate and is looking forward to the next two match-ups with Donald Trump.

The Democratic presidential candidate said the debate showed “clear differences” between the candidates’ temperaments and qualifications for the presidency.

Clinton spoke to reporters Tuesday on her campaign plane. She’s holding a rally and a fundraiser in Raleigh, North Carolina, later in the day.

She said her Republican rival cast the country in “dire and dark terms” and “That’s not who America is.”

She couldn’t resist a final dig on Trump as she returned to her seat at the front of the cabin. Trump had complained that he was given a “terrible” microphone during the debate.

Clinton said: “Anybody who complains about the microphone is not having a good night.”

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10:15 a.m

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine says the presidential debate showed Hillary Clinton has Donald Trump beat when it comes to stamina.

Trump doubled down at the end of Monday’s debate on his frequent criticism that Clinton lacks the “stamina” to be commander in chief. She shot back by ticking off the busy schedule she kept as secretary of state.

Kaine said Clinton looked like she could have debated for 11 more hours. But he said Trump looked “rattled” and like a boxer leaning on the ropes waiting for a knockout.

Kaine delivered his remarks Tuesday morning at an organizing event in Orlando, Florida.

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9:35 a.m.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is reacting to Donald Trump’s call for the alliance to do more to fight terrorism. He says it has long made fighting terrorism a top priority.

Stoltenberg told reporters in Slovakia Tuesday that “NATO has been focused on the fight against terrorism for many, many years and it’s not a result of the U.S. election campaign.”

He recalled that NATO activated its collective defense clause known as Article 5 for the first and only time to come to the aid of the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

He said: “Thousands of soldiers from European allies and Canada have been in Afghanistan as a direct result of the attacks on the United States.”

NATO took command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2003

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9:05 a.m.

Hillary Clinton apparently has the Google edge after the presidential debate.

Google Trends says more people looked up Clinton’s name than Republican Donald Trump’s in all 50 states following Monday’s debate. Google says Trump searches led in the majority of states before the debate.

The search giant says users looked up information on both candidates’ stances on immigration, abortion and guns most often while the debate was happening.

Many used Google to do their own fact-checking on the candidates’ claims. Google says the top fact check question for Trump revolved around his stance on the Iraq war. For Clinton, users wanted to follow up on her statement that stop-and-frisk police tactics had been ruled unconstitutional.

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8:30 a.m.

Donald Trump says he didn’t have the sniffles during the debate.

The Republican presidential nominee sounded like he was sniffling — and loudly — through much of the presidential debate Monday, eliciting comments and jokes on social media. The hashtag #sniffle became popular on Twitter.

But asked about that in a phone interview Tuesday morning on “Fox & Friends,” Trump denied there was any sniffling.

He said the microphone was very bad, “but maybe it was good enough to hear breathing. But there was no sniffles.”

He said he doesn’t have a cold or allergies.

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8:10 a.m.

The two vice presidential candidates unsurprisingly saw their running mates as debate winners.

Democrat Tim Kaine says Donald Trump “looked like he was running out of gas” and Republican Mike Pence accused Hillary Clinton of launching “an avalanche of insults” at Trump.

They appeared on morning news shows Tuesday after the first debate between Trump and Clinton.

On NBC’s “Today” show, Kaine, said he thought Trump offered few specifics on policies, adding, “I don’t think he was prepared.”

Pence countered that Trump was “focused on the issues that the American people care about.” Pence also said he thought Trump came off as an agent for change while Clinton epitomized the Washington “status quo.”

Kaine and Pence will appear together in a debate Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

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7:50 a.m.

Donald Trump is issuing his report card for Hillary Clinton for her debate performance: C-plus.

Trump also says moderator Lester Holt of NBC News earns a C or a C-plus. He says Holt asked him unfair questions.

But Trump isn’t giving himself a letter grade for his performance. He told Fox and Friends on Tuesday that he’s merely that he’s confident he did much better than Clinton in Monday night’s debate.

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7:40 a.m.

Donald Trump is floating the theory that debate moderators gave him a bad microphone on purpose.

Trump says his mic at Monday’s debate was “terrible.” He’s blaming it for what some listeners thought were sniffles by Trump during the debate.

Trump said Tuesday on “Fox and Friends” that it was going on and off and that his volume was lower than Hillary Clinton’s microphone.

Trump tells Fox News he wonders “whether that wasn’t set up that way on purpose.” He says “I don’t want to believe in conspiracy theories, but it was much lower than hers.”

Trump campaign manager Kellyann Conway told CNN that she heard from audience members that his mic sounded off. She said that from where she sat backstage, the mic sounded fine.

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7:20 a.m.

Donald Trump says it was a “real problem” when the 1996 Miss Universe gained significant weight after winning the pageant that he formerly owned.

Trump is responding to Hillary Clinton’s reference in the first debate to Alicia Machado’s claim that Trump called her “Miss Piggy” when she gained weight. In the debate, Trump repeatedly challenged Clinton over where she had heard that.

But Trump told “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday that Machado was “the worst we ever had,” referring to past winners of the pageant.

Trump says, “She gained a massive amount of weight. It was a real problem. We had a real problem.”

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3:45 a.m.

Donald Trump aggressively tried to pin the nation’s economic and national security problems on Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate, belittling the former senator and secretary of state as a “typical politician” incapable of delivering the change many Americans crave.

But Trump found himself on the defensive for much of the 90-minute showdown Monday night. Clinton was thoroughly prepared, not only with detailed answers about her own policy proposals, but also sharp criticism of Trump’s business record, his past statements about women, and his false assertions that President Barack Obama may not have been born in the United States.

The Democrat also blasted Trump for his refusal to release his tax returns, breaking with decades of presidential campaign tradition.

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