Trump visits Democratic stronghold while trailing in battleground polls

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Republican U.S. Presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine August 4, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer - RTSL3JY

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GWEN IFILL:  Donald Trump has spent this day trying to recover, after a series of statements that triggered a storm of criticism.  He campaigned today in the face of sliding poll numbers, and more defections within Republican ranks.

Correspondent Lisa Desjardins has today’s developments.

LISA DESJARDINS:  The unconventional Donald Trump spent the day in an unexpected place, Portland, Maine, with remarks focused on immigrants and crime.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn’t be allowed, because you can’t vet them.  There’s no way of vetting them.  You have no idea who they are.  This could be the great Trojan horse of all time.

LISA DESJARDINS:  For Trump, winning Maine, with a history of voting for Democrats for president, would be a coup.  But he has other electoral map concerns:  A dozen states are thought to be in play, and new polls out today show Trump down significantly in three key states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

He’s also behind, but within the margin of error, in the often decisive Florida.  Running mate Mike Pence today was in yet another November battleground, North Carolina.  In Raleigh, an 11-year-old boy, off-camera, put him on the spot.

BOY:  You have been kind of softening up on his words.

(LAUGHTER)

LISA DESJARDINS:  Over how Pence has been handling Trump’s recent missteps.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), Vice Presidential Nominee:  You know, sometimes, things don’t come out like you mean, right?  And Donald Trump and I are absolutely determined to work together.  We have differences styles.  You might have noticed that.

(LAUGHTER)

LISA DESJARDINS:  But some other Republicans are attacking, not defending Trump.  Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado is launching this ad slamming the nominee.

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), Colorado:  So, if Donald Trump is president, I will stand up to him, plain and simple.

LISA DESJARDINS:  And the list of GOP members of Congress who’ve gone beyond just criticism, and publicly say they won’t vote for Trump, is growing.

It now includes Air Force vet Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.  He joins Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, plus Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo of Florida.  There’s also New York’s Richard Hanna, who’s going a step further, saying he will vote for Hillary Clinton.  And today, the top Republican in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, tried to walk the tightrope.

Trump has refused to endorse him.  Ryan says he still supports Trump, but he implied that could change.  Ryan also told a Wisconsin radio show he will keep pushing back when he thinks Trump is out of bounds.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), Speaker of the House:  I don’t like to do this, I don’t want to do this, but I will do this because I feel I have to in order to defend Republicans and our principles, so that people don’t make the mistake of thinking we think like that.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Trump did extend an olive branch today, telling a crowd he thinks Ryan is a good guy, but still not endorsing him.

Meanwhile, on the left:

JILL STEIN, Green Party Presidential Candidate:  I would feel terrible if Donald Trump gets elected.

LISA DESJARDINS:  Green Party candidate Jill Stein released her first campaign ad, going after Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton both.

As for Clinton, she was in Las Vegas talking about jobs.  As she left one stop, she turned to respond to a question about outsourcing, and Donald Trump.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), Presidential Nominee:  When you run for president, you need to be judged by what you have done.  And I think the evidence is pretty clear.  Everything he’s made, he’s made somewhere else.  He’s not put Americans to work.

He’s imported foreign workers, instead of hiring Americans at his country clubs and his resorts.  He has cheated contractors.  I take that personally.

LISA DESJARDINS:  The other half of the Democratic ticket, Tim Kaine, stopped in Baltimore for the National Urban League Conference this morning, before a tour through the Upper Midwest tomorrow.

For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins.

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