WASHINGTON — The Latest on Campaign 2016 (all times EDT):

7:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is offering an intimate look at her Methodist faith and how it has influenced her life in public service.

At the National Baptist Convention in Kansas City, Clinton recalled her father’s nightly prayers, her mother’s time as a Sunday School teacher and the youth minister who took her to see the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Clinton said that thanks to her family and church, she “embraced an activist social justice faith.”

Clinton also acknowledged she had “made my share of mistakes,” but said that it’s “grace that lifts us up and grace that leads us home.”


7:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton wants the African-American community to know that she sees the big picture.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Baptist Convention in Kansas City Thursday, Clinton said that people who look at the black community and see only “poverty, crime and despair are missing so much.”

Clinton’s Republican rival Donald Trump has been reaching out to African-Americans, arguing that they live in poverty and have little to lose by voting Republican.

Clinton said that she sees the work of black leaders and “the passion of a new generation of black activists.” She told the crowd: “I see the work you do and the lives you change.”


6:05 p.m.

Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld is playing down criticism of running mate Gary Johnson after Johnson was initially stumped on a question about Syria’s civil war.

During an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Johnson was asked what he would do about Aleppo. Johnson initially said “What is Aleppo?” then offered an answer when reminded it’s Syria’s largest city.

Weld, speaking at Emerson College in Boston Thursday, said the two have been talking about Syria on the campaign trail.

He said “in terms of Gary forgetting the word, I don’t know. I think that can happen to anybody.”

The former Republican Massachusetts governor said he remains hopeful Johnson will be allowed to participate in debates alongside Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.


6 p.m.

Hillary Clinton plans to give a series of policy speeches, seeking to highlight a positive vision in the final stretch of the campaign.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said Clinton would give at least four policy speeches in September. She’ll start in Kansas City on Thursday with an address on faith at the National Baptist Convention. Other topics will include the economy, national service and children and families.

Many of Clinton’s recent speeches have focused on attacking Republican rival Donald Trump. For these upcoming speeches, Palmieri said Clinton will talk about the proposals detailed in “Stronger Together,” a book by her and running mate Tim Kaine, and offer “an aspirational vision.”

Palmieri said that Trump’s ability to win press coverage has made it harder for Clinton’s message to “break through.”


5:20 p.m.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is defending himself following the release of a 2009 email exchange with Hillary Clinton, describing his use of a private, dial-up email account to carry out U.S. government business.

Powell said in a statement Thursday he viewed his use of private email to communicate with foreign leaders and U.S. officials as private conversations similar to phone calls. He said he was unaware of any requirement that those messages be preserved as government records, potentially subject to public release.

A retired Army general, Powell served as America’s top diplomat during Republican President George W. Bush’s first term. His exchange with Clinton was released Wednesday by congressional Democrats.

Republicans have sought to portray the Democratic presidential nominee’s use of a private email server as reckless


4:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she loves to dip into a good book when she gets a break from the campaign trail — and her latest favorites are the Neapolitan Novels from Italian author Elena Ferrante.

On an episode of the “With Her” campaign podcast, released Thursday, Clinton called the series “hypnotic.”

Clinton also spoke about shaking off negativity and stressed how much she values her longtime friends, adding that she will have them stay at the White House if she’s elected.

Clinton said she relishes time with her friends. She said: “It’s so easy to get isolated when you are president. You can be surrounded by really incredibly professional supportive staff people, but you never know what you might pick up if you break out of that circle from time to time.”


3:55 p.m.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a frequent critic of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, was less than impressed with the two candidates at a televised national security forum.

Graham said Thursday: “It makes me want to move to Canada.”

The South Carolina lawmaker made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination. He has railed against his party for backing Trump and has expressed serious concerns about Democrat Clinton.

He was asked by reporters about Wednesday’s forum, which was hosted by NBC.


2:54 p.m.

Donald Trump is insisting he opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning, even though fact checkers have repeatedly said that claim is false.

Radio host Howard Stern in 2002 asked Trump if he supported the looming invasion. Trump responded, “I guess so.”

The Republican presidential nominee also said Thursday that if had been in the Congress at the time, he would have voted against authorizing the military conflict.

Trump made the comments while visiting a Cleveland-area charter school. His position on the war is coming under increasing scrutiny as he attacks Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for voting to authorize the war while she was in the Senate.

He called his opponent “trigger-happy Hillary” on Thursday and repeated his defense that he always opposed the war.


2:35 p.m.

Mike Pence sees Ronald Reagan in Donald Trump.

The Republican vice presidential nominee said Thursday that Trump, like Reagan before him, has the honesty and bluntness to confront the challenges facing the country.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, Pence depicted the billionaire businessman as a fitting heir to the Reagan legacy.

He says Trump wants to build a stronger military, cut taxes and reduce regulation, foundation blocks of the Reagan agenda.

Pence says truth and toughness are common denominators that bind the 40th president and the man who wants to become the nation’s 45th.

He adds that Trump shares Reagan’s view that America needs to be strong for the world to be safe, and they also have similar views on appointing conservative justices to the Supreme Court.


2:14 p.m.

The head of the Republican National Committee says Donald Trump isn’t endorsing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

GOP chairman Reince Preibus told The Associated Press in a brief interview on Thursday that Trump “doesn’t agree with his style of government.”

At a candidate forum Wednesday night, Trump praised Putin as a strong leader. Democrat Hillary Clinton said Trump’s remarks were scary because they suggest he might excuse anything Putin might say. And House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that Putin does not represent American interests.

Priebus said Trump’s comments were only about Putin’s leadership in Russia.

Priebus says, “He wasn’t endorsing Putin at all.”


2:06 p.m.

Donald Trump says he can feel the love in Cleveland.

The Republican presidential nominee spoke with a small group of students, teachers and administrators ahead of a speech at the Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, which largely serves African-American students.

Trump asked a lot of questions at the round table discussions. He also made several references to feeling good about his visit.

He said, “There is love” in the room and that he can “feel it in the building.”

He also said there is “a love here that you just don’t get at other schools.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was in the room as well, but did not participate in the discussion.

Trump also shook hands with one of the students, who is 12 and in sixth grade, saying, “He can do anything he wants.”


1:54 p.m.

Hillary Clinton says she learned as a young woman to control her emotions in part as one of the few women applying to law school at the time.

She tells the Humans of New York Facebook page that she was pressured to not go to law school because doing so would mean a man couldn’t get in and would be sent to Vietnam. She said that while taking an admissions test at Harvard, a group of men began to yell, ‘You don’t need to be here” and one said that if she took his spot, he would be drafted and be killed in Vietnam.

Clinton said she didn’t respond because she “couldn’t afford to get distracted.”

She said that comes across sometimes as ‘walled off’ as a result, and she can’t “blame people for thinking that.”

1:20 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is slamming voter identification laws at a rally in battleground North Carolina.

During an event at a college in Charlotte before over 1,500 people, Clinton said such laws discriminated against minorities, calling them “a blast from the Jim Crow past.”

Clinton praised the recent federal court ruling that struck down key portions of North Carolina’s 2013 voter identification and ballot access law. She promised to expand early voting and called for universal voter registration.


1:17 p.m.

Hillary Clinton begins this month with a $55 million cash advantage over Donald Trump.

The Trump campaign said it raised about $90 million last month for the campaign and Republican partners, and that those groups had $97 million in the bank as of Sept. 1.

Clinton’s campaign said she and allied Democratic Party committees had about $152 million on hand after raising $143 million in August.

Trump’s campaign said most of its money came from small donors responding to online and direct-mail solictations. The campaign said Trump made a “significant” personal contribution last month that brings his total investment in his bid to almost $60 million.

The campaign and party cash the two presidential candidates are raising pays for television advertising, travel and employees, among other expenses.


12:26 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he doesn’t share Donald Trump’s complimentary view of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ryan told reporters Thursday that Putin “is acting like an adversary” of the United States. But Ryan, the government’s top Republican says he doesn’t want to get sucked into every Trump controversy.

He told reporters, he is “not going to sit up here and do the tit for tat on what Donald said last night or the night before in Hillary vs. Donald. That is not my job.”

Asked if he feels comfortable voting for Trump as commander in chief, Ryan said, “I’ll leave it at that.”


12:00 p.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has told an Israeli TV station that the Islamic State group is hoping for a Donald Trump victory.

Clinton tells Channel 2 TV that the Republican presidential candidate’s critical comments about Muslims have played into the hands of the extremist group.

She says extremists “are saying, ‘Please Allah, make Trump president of America.'”

In the interview, she vows to defeat the militant group and adds, “I don’t want them to feel as if they can be getting more recruits because of our politics.”

The full interview is set to be broadcast later Thursday.


11:57 a.m.

Election officials across the country are pushing back against Donald Trump’s assertions that the presidential election may be rigged, arguing that too many safeguards exist against engineered results nationally or in individual states.

It’s clear, though, that some supporters have taken Trump’s comments to heart. Trump told a town hall crowd in Columbus, Ohio last month that he is “afraid the election is going to be rigged,” without elaborating.

In recent weeks, voters have linked the GOP nominee’s remarks to attacks on two states’ voter registration databases and questions surrounding the security of electronic voting machines. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, tells people asking about fraud that they should work at local polls.

Election training groups say officials should educate people about the process to calm concerns.


10:53 a.m.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson says he, “blanked” when he was asked about the name of Syria’s largest city.

Johnson said in a statement that he thought Aleppo was an acronym when asked about it on the television show “Morning Joe” Thursday morning. Johnson responded, “What is Aleppo?” That response quickly went viral.

Johonson said in his statement that he, “blanked,” and added, “It happens and it will happen again during the course of this campaign.”

Johnson is in the midst of a media blitz in New York City as he tries to reach 15 percent in national polls. That’s the threshold needed for him to have a spot in the first presidential debate on Sept. 26.


10:06 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says every Republican holding or seeking office should be asked if they agree with Donald Trump’s comments about trusting and firing some U.S. generals and his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Clinton said the remarks show Trump has “failed” at a key test of being the nation’s commander in chief.

Trump on Wednesday night said during a candidate forum that he trusts some generals, but not all, because they’ve been “reduced to rubble.” He also had new praise for Putin.

Clinton said those comments and others showed Trump is ill-equipped to be president. Trump says Clinton was weak as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.


9:58 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says it was inappropriate for Republican Donald Trump to discuss his intelligence briefing.

She says she will not divulge what she was told by experts tasked with briefing presidential candidates.

Trump said there were things in his briefing that “shocked” and “surprised” him. He made the comments during a Wednesday night national security forum hosted by MSNBC.___

9:49 a.m.

Hillary Clinton says the United States should hunt down and kill the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as it did Osama bin Laden.

The Democratic presidential contender spoke Thursday to reporters outside her campaign plane in White Plains, New York.

She said, “Nobody directs or inspires attacks against the United States and gets away with it.” Clinton compared the mission to the 2011 killing of the al-Qaida leader who directed the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000.

Clinton frequently recounts for voters her involvement in the operation as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

Clinton also said she will convene a meeting of national security leaders on Friday.


9:09 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says Hillary Clinton has been so confident she’ll win the presidential election that she’s “playing not to lose.” And the Wisconsin Republican says when you do that prematurely, you’re likely to lose anyway.

He also had rare words of praise Donald Trump, saying the mercurial GOP nominee “has gotten much more disciplined.”

Ryan used a sports analogy to describe the presidential race Thursday on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” a conservative talk radio program.

He said that in only the game’s second quarter, Clinton started “stalling, not talking to the press, not doing many events.” And he said, “When you play not to lose so early in the game, you probably end up losing.”

Ryan credited Trump’s newfound steadiness to campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway.


8:31 a.m.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson now knows what Aleppo is.

He was asked Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” what he would do as president about the Syrian city at the center of the refugee crisis, Johnson replied, “And what is Aleppo?”

Replied questioner Mike Barnicle, “You’re kidding me.” Johnson said no, he wasn’t kidding. Barnicle then began to explain. When he got to the refugee crisis, Johnson interrupted him, saying, “Okay, got it.”

The former governor of New Mexico added that Syria is “a mess” and “the only way we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that (to) an end.”


7:10 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager says Donald Trump didn’t come prepared to answer questions about his foreign policy plans.

Robby Mook said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday that Trump’s answer for how to defeat the Islamic State group shows he had “no plan” in the first place.

The Republican presidential nominee insisted during a presidential forum Wednesday night that he has a private blueprint for defeating the extremist group. But he also said he would demand a plan from military leaders within 30 days of taking office.


5:54 a.m.

President Barack Obama is hitting back at Donald Trump for the Republican’s frequent criticism of Obama’s foreign policy.

Speaking at a news conference in Laos on Thursday, Obama says he continues to believe Trump isn’t qualified to be president and that “every time he speaks, that opinion is confirmed.”

Trump has blasted Obama’s policy toward China as weak and said the president was humiliated by the Chinese during his visit to Asia this week.

Obama tells reporters in Laos that he thinks diplomacy is “serious business” and that Trump’s ideas are often “contradictory” and “outright wacky.”

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3:11 a.m.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton confronted their key weaknesses in a televised national security forum. The Republican defended his preparedness to be commander in chief despite vague plans for tackling global challenges and the Democrat argued that her controversial email practices did not expose questionable judgment.

The candidates spoke back-to-back at the forum Wednesday night, each fielding 30 minutes of questions. While the candidates never appeared on stage together, the session served as a preview of sorts for their highly anticipated presidential debates.

With just two months until Election Day, national security has emerged as a centerpiece issue in the White House race. Both candidates believe they have the upper hand.