Obama chides Trump for voter fraud claim, telling Republican to ‘stop whining’
Ruadhán Mac Cormaic in Las Vegas
Donald Trump will have one of his last major opportunities to halt Hillary Clinton’s campaign momentum when the two candidates go head-to-head in the final presidential debate in Las Vegas on Thursday morning (Irish time).
Less than three weeks from polling day, Mrs Clinton goes into the third debate with a seven-point lead over her Republican opponent, according to a national average compiled by Real Clear Politics.
In a clear sign of confidence that she can push traditional “deep red” Republican heartlands into the blue column, Mrs Clinton’s campaign has in recent days been targeting Arizona, Georgia and Utah, as well as more established battleground states such as Florida and Pennsylvania.
The 90-minute debate, which begins at 9pm eastern time (2am in Ireland), will consist of six 15-minute segments on debt and entitlements, immigration, the economy, the supreme court, foreign conflicts and fitness to be president.
It will be moderated by Chris Wallace of Fox News, and will revert to the same formula as the first debate, with Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump facing direct questions from Mr Wallace.
Confidence has been surging in the Clinton camp since the second debate, with polls in the past two weeks suggesting Mr Trump suffered a dip in support after revelations that he had boasted about sexually assaulting women.
As the gap in the polls has widened – the national average puts Mrs Clinton at 46 per cent with Mr Trump at 38.9 per cent – and a steady flow of party colleagues have lined up to repudiate his campaign, the Republican nominee has intensified his attacks and warned in recent days that the election was rigged against him.
On Tuesday President Barack Obama chided Mr Trump for the claim, telling the Republican to “stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.” Referring to Mr Trump’s assertions, Mr Obama said: “It’s unprecedented. It happens to be based on no facts.”
Mrs Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Mr Trump’s attack on the voting system was an act of desperation. “He knows he’s losing, and is trying to blame that on the system. This is what losers do,” Mr Mook told reporters.
Mr Trump also pounced on the release on Monday of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents that he alleged showed “felony corruption”. The documents cited an FBI official as saying a senior state department official sought to pressure the bureau in 2015 to drop its insistence that an email from Mrs Clinton’s private server contained classified information.
Mrs Clinton’s decision to use a private server while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 has drawn criticism that she was careless with national security.
“This is worse than Watergate, what’s going on with this,” said Mr Trump.
Separately, the latest Wikileaks email dump indicated that Apple chief executive and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were among 39 people who appeared on an early list of possible vice presidential running mates for Mrs Clinton. The list, apparently contained in an email from campaign chairman John Podesta, included many politicians, including Bernie Sanders, Michael Bloomberg and the eventual pick, Tim Kaine. But also among the names were a number of other technology and busines leaders, including Howard Schultz and Mary Barra, chief executives of Starbucks and General Motors, respectively.