Trump vows no regrets; Clinton ups pressure over Khan attack

CLEVELAND (AP) — Hillary Clinton ramped up her pressure on Donald Trump in the election’s most competitive states Friday with an emotional TV ad targeting his criticism of a Muslim-American family. Trump vowed to go all-out in the final three weeks so he’ll have no regrets — even if he loses.

The nominees retrenched behind familiar arguments a day after appearing together at a charity event that veered into cutting personal attacks, an unexpected metaphor for this year’s take-no-prisoners presidential campaign. Clinton’s new ad features Khizr Khan, whom Trump assailed after Khan spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

In the minute-long ad, which Clinton’s campaign said was airing in seven battleground states, Khan retells how his son, Capt. Humayun Khan, died in Iraq seeking to protect his U.S. military unit from a suicide bomber.

“Mr. Trump, would my son have a place in your America?” the father asks, tearing up as the ad fades to black.

Clinton has sought to use Trump’s widely panned attacks on the father and his wife as evidence supporting her case that the Republican bullies minorities, especially those who disagree with him. In person, she was promoting early voting Friday in Ohio and planned a meeting with two activists for Black Lives Matter.

Trump, meanwhile, settled on a new target: Michelle Obama, who has emerged as one of the most effective voices for Clinton. One of the country’s most popular Democrats, the first lady for years has been loath to devote significant time to campaigning, but has done so in recent days with searing indictments of Trump’s treatment of women.

“All she wants to do is campaign,” Trump said as he rallied supporters in North Carolina. He cited comments Mrs. Obama made during her husband’s 2008 campaign in which she said someone who can’t run their own house can’t run the White House. “She’s the one that started that,” Trump said.

The typically self-assured Trump was unusually candid about the possibility of losing the election, a prospect that’s grown in likelihood as Clinton solidifies her lead in battleground states that will decide the election. Trump said he is packing his schedule with campaign events through Election Day so he will know he spared no effort even if ultimately unsuccessful.

“I will be happy with myself,” he said.

Trump and Clinton were still sharply at odds over his unprecedented assertion in the final debate on Wednesday that he may not concede if he loses. Clinton has called that “horrifying,” while Trump has said he’s merely reserving the right to contest the results if the outcome is unclear or questionable.

Underpinning Trump’s threat is his contention — presented with no evidence — that the election is “rigged” against him and may be soiled by widespread voter fraud. He’s urged supporters to “monitor” polling places for potential shenanigans.

Fanning those flames, Russia’s government has asked Oklahoma and two other states to allow Russian officials to be present at polling stations on Election Day, to study the “US experience in organization of voting process.” Allegations by the U.S. government that Russia is trying to influence the election by hacking Democratic groups has fed a Clinton camp claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin is siding with Trump.

The Oklahoma secretary of state’s office said Friday it had denied the Russian request, in line with state law.