Oct 16, 2016 10:26 PM

The Latest: NC GOP office damaged by fire, Nazi graffiti

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign (all times EDT):

4:17 p.m.

A local Republican Party office in North Carolina has been damaged by fire and someone spray-painted an anti-GOP slogan referring to "Nazi Republicans" on a nearby wall, authorities said Sunday.

A news release from the town of Hillsborough said someone threw a bottle filled with flammable liquid through the window of the Orange County Republican Party headquarters overnight. The substance ignited and damaged furniture and the interior before burning out.

The news release says an adjacent building was spray-painted with the words: "Nazi Republicans leave town or else."

State GOP director Dallas Woodhouse says no one was injured, but a security alert is being sent to party offices around the state.

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2:32 p.m.

Hacked emails released Sunday by WikiLeaks show Hillary Clinton's aides fretting over how to respond to backlash from the LGBT community after Clinton lauded Nancy Reagan for starting a "national conversation" about AIDS in the 1980s.

Activists blame President Ronald Reagan for what they view as a devastatingly slow response to the AIDS crisis.

Clinton immediately tweeted an apology after her initial remarks last March. But her aides felt the LGBT community was unsatisfied and agreed to release a more detailed response.

"I don't want this to fester," wrote Clinton's campaign's LGBT outreach director, Dominic Lowell.

An initial draft of Clinton's statement began with stating "I made a mistake." The line was changed to "I said something inaccurate" with the phrase "I made a mistake, plain and simple" added later.

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1:33 p.m.

Republican strategists nationwide are conceding that Hillary Clinton has a firm grip on the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

They even suggest she may be headed for well above that threshold.

GOP pollster Whit Ayers says Republican Donald Trump, in contrast, "is on track to totally and completely melting down."

Things can change before the Nov. 8 election.

There is one more presidential debate, and Trump has rallied before. His core supporters remain strongly committed.

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10:45 a.m.

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence says he and Donald Trump "will absolutely accept the results of the election" and "the will of the American people" on Nov. 8.

Pence tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that the country has a tradition of "the peaceful transfer of power." But the Indiana governor says "elections always get pretty rough" and he expects that's how it'll be right up until Election Day.

And Pence is pledging that over the final weeks of the campaign, "we're going to work our hearts out against all odds."

Pence also is accusing the media of having an "obvious bias." He says that bias is what's behind Trump's claims of "a rigged election."

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10:40 a.m.

Tim Kaine is using his Spanish skills to try to reach out to Florida voters.

The Democratic vice presidential nominee talked about the importance of voting during a Sunday stop at Pneuma Church in Miami. It's an evangelical church.

The Clinton campaign says Kaine's speech is the first delivered fully in Spanish to a Spanish-speaking church by a candidate on a presidential ticket.

Kaine encouraged the crowd to register to vote and head to the polls on Election Day.

Florida's voter registration deadline has been extended to October 18.

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9:45 a.m.

Hillary Clinton's running mate is defending the campaign's respect for different religions after a hacked email by a Clinton aide suggested that Catholicism is more "socially acceptable" for conservatives than evangelicalism.

Tim Kaine — a lifelong Catholic — says Clinton saw his religion as "a real asset." In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Kaine said the two discussed their faith at length before Clinton asked Kaine to join her on the Democratic ticket.

He said: "in terms of what Hillary Clinton, who's running for president, thinks about Catholics, and the value more broadly of having a faith background, I can tell you she views at it as a plus, just as she views her own Methodism as a plus."

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9:40 a.m.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says that if the election were held now, her party would have a good chance to gain the majority in the House.

Pelosi says on CNN's "State of the Union" that the outcome will depend upon how well Hillary Clinton fares and how much money Republican-leaning interest groups pour into the races to help GOP candidates.

"I think it will be a single-digit difference," Pelosi says. "They'll be ahead by some. We'll be ahead by some, but it is definitely within reach."

Republicans have been favored to retain House control in November's voting, with Democrats needing to gain 30 seats to take charge of the 435-member chamber.

Pelosi said voters are focused on how the stances take by the candidates will affect them and that's why recent polling hasn't changed dramatically in the presidential race.

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9:40 a.m.

Donald Trump's vice presidential candidate is not repeating his running mate's call for drug testing before the next presidential debate.

Mike Pence was asked on Fox News Sunday whether he agrees with Trump that Hillary Clinton should be tested for drugs. Pence replied: "All I know for sure is that Donald Trump is going to be ready for the debate on Wednesday night."

Trump on Saturday insisted that his Democratic rival was on drugs at their second debate and said — without evidence — that when it was over, "she could barely reach her car."

The drug-testing suggestion came as Trump tried to move on from accusations by multiple women that Trump sexually assaulted them. Trump says none of those stories is true.

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9:30 a.m.

Tim Kaine says Republican leaders need to push back harder against Donald Trump's claims that the election is rigged and that Trump is "swinging at every phantom" because he's losing in the polls.

In an interview with ABC's "This Week," Hillary Clinton's running mate suggested that Trump has become unhinged in his latest comments on election fraud and female accusers of sexual assault.

Kaine said of Trump: "He's blaming the media. He's blaming the GOP. He's saying that America can't run a fair election. He is swinging at every phantom of his own imagination because he knows he's losing."

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9 a.m.

Vice President Joe Biden says one reason he thinks Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has a tougher time appealing to some voter groups like working-class whites is because "there is a sort of double standard for a woman candidate."

Biden says in an interview airing Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Democrats could do more to speak to the struggles of a family making $80,000 to $100,000 a year with a couple of children. Biden says it's important to talk directly to them and show them more respect.

He says Clinton is very concerned about these people and needs to show them "where her heart is, what she cares about."

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This story, in 9:45 a.m. item, corrects branch of Christianity to "evangelicalism" not "evangelism."

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