Day After Debate, Trump, Clinton To Square Off Again At Al Smith Dinner

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Republican candidate Donald Trump is mocking his much-derided comment at the presidential debate that he might not accept the results of the election.

Trump kicked off a rally Thursday in Delaware, Ohio, by saying that he had a major announcement to make.

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“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters, and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win,” Trump said, prompting a roaring cheer from the crowd.

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He continued, “If Al Gore or George Bush had agreed three weeks before the election to concede the results and waived their right to a legal challenge or recount, then there would be no Supreme Court case and no more Gore vs. Bush or Bush vs. Gore.”

Trump delivered one of the most talked about responses at Wednesday night’s debate when the candidates were asked whether they will accept the outcome of the election.

“Not looking at anything now, I’ll look at it at the time,” Trump, who has been claiming the race is rigged against him, said. “I’ll keep you in suspense.”

“That’s horrifying,” Hillary Clinton said. “You know, every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is, is rigged against him.”

Clinton said one of America’s hallmarks is accepting the outcome of an election.

“We are a country based on laws,” the Democratic nominee said. “And we’ve had hotly-contested elections going back to the very beginning. But one of our hallmarks has always been we accept the outcomes of our elections.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio referred to Trump as a con artist.

“Think this is Donald Trump at his con-artist best. Setting up a dynamic where he has an excuse for his defeat. He’s going to lose because the American people rejected his ideas. He’s run a racist campaign. He’s run a divisive campaign,” de Blasio said.

That exchange was tackled by both campaigns on Thursday.

“After a campaign where he has insulted everybody else and now he’s gonna insult the very central premise of our democracy was a huge shocker,” Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, said.

“What Donald Trump has said, over time, if you take all of his statements together, Chris — he has said that he will respect the results of the election.  But, everybody, including Al Gore in 2000, waits to see what those election results are,” Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said.

John Dickerson, host of “Face the Nation,” explained Thursday that Gore did that after the election, not before.

The Republican National Committee says it will accept the results of the general election even if Trump doesn’t.

CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports 70 million people watch Wednesday night’s debate — more than watched the last town hall meeting.

Trump claimed in a tweet that Clinton was given the debate questions.

“Why didn’t Hillary Clinton announce that she was inappropriately given the debate questions – she secretly used them! Crooked Hillary,” Trump tweeted.

Debate moderator Chris Wallace insisted before the debate nobody saw his questions.

In the meantime, attorney and admitted Clinton supporter Gloria Allred produced another new woman who accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Yoga instructor Karena Virginia said it happened as she waited for a car at the 1998 U.S. Open.

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“He reached his right arm and grabbed my right arm, then his hand touched the inside of my breast,” Virginia said.

The bitter presidential rivals have one more face-to-face showdown before Election Day, and they’re supposed to make it funny.

The venue just 24 hours after their third and final debate is the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in Manhattan, a white-tie gala that every four years becomes a showcase for presidential politics.

Tradition dictates that the candidates deliver humorous remarks poking fun at each other and themselves, a jovial custom that seems hard to envision amid such an ugly campaign.

Trump regularly calls Clinton, “Crooked Hillary,” mocks her stamina and says he’d put her in jail if he wins the presidency. Clinton says he lives in his own reality, is running a “hateful, divisive campaign” and lacks the temperament to be president.

They will sit just one seat apart for the evening with Cardinal Timothy Dolan acting as the only buffer.

“I certainly expect that the dinner will be what it’s always been: an opportunity for two candidates to put aside partisan politics for the evening,” said Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, which hosts the dinner. “I anticipate that we will have good humor and civility that this dinner has been always been known for.”

Trump will speak first Thursday night, then Clinton. Neither campaign opted to preview their candidate’s remarks and aides for both declined comment on the evening other than to confirm that each nominee will be there.

The candidates clashed in their final debate showdown Wednesday night in Las Vegas. Both campaigns declared victory, but a CBS News Battleground Tracker, which surveyed people from key swing states after the debate, found 49 percent believe Clinton won, while 39 percent said Trump won. Twelve percent said it was a tie.

The controversy surrounding Clinton’s WikiLeaks triggered a heated exchange with Clinton blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin with trying to influence the election.

“He’d rather have a puppet as president of the United States,” said Clinton, charging that Putin was backing Trump’s candidacy.

“No puppet, no puppet,” Trump replied. “You’re the puppet.”

On the subject of immigration, Trump accused Clinton of wanting an “open borders” policy. He also blamed some “bad hombres here” for drug epidemics around the country, and promised “we’re going to get ’em out.”

As for Trump and the women coming forward accusing him of sexual assault, the GOP nominee continued to deny the claims.

“I didn’t even apologize to my wife, who’s sitting right here, because I didn’t do anything,” he said.

“Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger,” Clinton said. “He goes after their dignity, their self-worth and I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who doesn’t know what that feels like.”

The unprecedentedly bitter campaign between Clinton and Trump could threaten the ecumenical goodwill that has defined previous Al Smith dinners. Since 1960, at least one of the major party nominees has appeared at nearly every election year dinner, which is traditionally the last time the nominees share a stage before voters go to the polls.

The evening might feel familiar to Trump, who infamously glowered through President Barack Obama’s jokes at his expense during the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner and is not known for being self-deprecating.

Last weekend, he tweeted that he did not appreciate Saturday Night Live’s portrayal of him in a sendup of the candidates’ performances in the second presidential debate.

This is the first time that both party’s nominees hail from New York State as a crowd of about 1,500 gathers for the distinctly Gotham event, held each October. Attendees pay between $3,000 and $15,000 to attend the dinner, which raises about $5 million to provide services for impoverished children, Zwilling said.

The dinner is named after the former New York governor, who was the first Catholic to receive a major party nomination for president when he unsuccessfully ran in 1928. And fittingly for an event named after a man nicknamed “The Happy Warrior,” the occasion has produced dozens of memorable presidential jokes.

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