'Absolutely false,' Trump says defiantly after women's groping allegations

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Oct 13 (Reuters) - Donald Trump assailed as "absolutely false" the allegations by several women that he groped them, and accused Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, the media and lobbyists of engaging in an effort to stop him from winning the White House.

With his numbers dropping in opinion polls ahead of the Nov. 8 election, the Republican U.S. presidential nominee told supporters at a rally in Florida that his campaign was engaged in "a struggle for the survival of our nation."

Trump on the campaign trail:

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CHARLESTON, WV - MAY 05: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his rally at the Charleston Civic Center on May 5, 2016 in Charleston, West Virginia. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee following his landslide win in indiana on Tuesday.(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, gestures to attendees during a campaign event in Evansville, Indiana, U.S., on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Trump said he's campaigning hard to win Tuesday's presidential primary in Indiana and that if he prevails, his party's nomination contest will be 'over.' Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a town hall meeting on March 14, 2016 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa , Florida. Trump is campaigning ahead of the Florida primary on March 15. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH- MARCH 13: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his campaign supporters during a campaign rally at the Savannah Center March 13, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump continue to campaign before Ohio March 15th primary day. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night event at the Mar-A-Lago Club's Donald J. Trump Ballroom March 15, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump won the state of Florida and Ohio Gov. John Kasich won the state of Ohio. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
HICKORY, NC - MARCH 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, talks with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, during a campaign rally at Lenoir-Rhyne University March 14, 2016 in Hickory, North Carolina. The North Carolina Republican primary will be held March 15. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IL - MARCH 13: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pulls Alex Stypik from a crowd of supporters to show off his shirt during a rally at the Central Illinois Regional Airport on March 13, 2016 in Bloomington, Illinois. The Trump campaign cancelled a recent rally in Chicago after learning hundreds of demonstrators were ticketed for the event. Illinois voters go to the polls on March 15. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 08: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up his book after holding a press conference at the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter on March 8, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. Trump is projected to win the Republican Presidential primaries in Mississippi and Michigan. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally held in the TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC on Monday Feb. 15, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets people as he visits a polling station as voters cast their primary day ballots on February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The process to select the next Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates continues. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a rally February 8, 2016 in Manchester, NH. US presidential candidates, including billionaire Donald Trump and under-pressure Democrat Hillary Clinton, criss-crossed snowy New Hampshire in a final frantic bit to win over undecided voters before Tuesday's crucial primary. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLDERNESS, NH - FEBRUARY 7: Patrons reach out for photos and signatures from republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he greets people after speaking at a campaign rally at Plymouth State University in Holderness, NH on Sunday Feb. 07, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MARSHALLTOWN, IA - JANUARY 26: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally on January 26, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigration sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona, today announced his support for Trump's presidential bid. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
WINTERSET, IA - JANUARY 19: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum on January 19, 2016 in Winterset, Iowa. Trump received the endorsement of Aissa Wayne, John Wayne's daughter. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump participates in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - Emmy Award-nominated 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight (11:35 p.m. - 12:41 a.m., ET), packed with hilarious comedy bits and features a diverse lineup of guests including celebrities, athletes, musicians, comedians and humorous human interest subjects. The guests for Wednesday, December 16 included Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and musical guest Gary Clark Jr. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) DONALD TRUMP, JIMMY KIMMEL
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - DECEMBER 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guests at a campaign rally on December 21, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The full-house event was repeatedly interrupted by protestors. Trump continues to lead the most polls in the race for the Republican nomination for president. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
MESA, AZ - DECEMBER 16: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guest gathered during a campaign event at the International Air Response facility on December 16, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. Trump is in Arizona the day after the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves as he is introduced during the Sunshine Summit conference being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 13, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The summit brought Republican presidential candidates in front of the Republican voters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to a reporter's question in the spin room following the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by Fox Business and The Wall Street Journal November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. AFP PHOTO / JOSHUA LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Donald Trump attends a press conference for the release of his new book 'Crippled America' at Trump Tower on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a press conference during a event to launch his new book 'Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again' at Trump Tower on November 3, 2015 in New York. Donald Trump published a book about the ills of America to another media frenzy Tuesday, signing copies for fans, insulting his rivals on the campaign trail and telling Americans to elect him president. 'Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,' offers the everyday reader his take on the problems facing the country and why they should elect him to the White House to fix them. AFP PHOTO/Kena Betancur (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - OCTOBER 14: Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump walks out on stage during a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. A New York real estate mogul and reality television star, Trump is now in a statistical tie with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a Fox News survey of likely Republican voters released Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a cap that he signed for a supporter during a rally at the Expo Hall of the Richmond International Raceway on October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - OCTOBER 14: Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. A New York real estate mogul and reality television star, Trump is now in a statistical tie with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a Fox News survey of likely Republican voters released Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to give a speech outlining his vision for tax reform at his skyscraper on Fifth Avenue on September 28, 2015 in New York City. Under the plan there would be four tax categories, with people earning less than $25,000 per year paying 0% tax. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media before a campaign event September 23, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier today, Trump tweeted 'FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won't be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.' (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets had been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a national security speech aboard the World War II Battleship USS Iowa, September 15, 2015, in San Pedro, California. AFP PHOTO /ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, greets attendees during a rally at Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. President Barack Obama's top business ambassador dismissed Trump's call for a wall along the Mexico border, saying the U.S. is focused instead on expanding business with one of its biggest trade partners. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MOBILE, AL- AUGUST 21: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump introduces Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) Mobile during his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Donald Trump campaign moved tonight's rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - August 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fairgoers as he visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fairgoers while campaigning at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Real estate tycoon Donald Trump flashes the thumbs-up as he arrives on stage for the start of the prime time Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump will answer questions from the media at a press conference where reporters will be limited to questions just about golf. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump drives a golf buggy during his visits to his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference held in his hotel. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Donald Trump greets supporters, tourists and the curious after taping an interview with Anderson Cooper at a Trump owned building in mid-town Manhattan on July 22, 2015 in New York City. Trump, who is running for president on a Republican ticket, has come under intensifying criticism for his behavior on the campaign trail. The billionaire's most recent comments on Senator John McCain's war record in Vietnam have resulted in almost universal criticism from fellow candidates. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to media from his car wearing a, 'Make America Great Again,' hat during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to the media at a press conference during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
AMES, IA - JULY 18: Republican presidential hopeful businessman Donald Trump fields questions at The Family Leadership Summit at Stephens Auditorium on July 18, 2015 in Ames, Iowa. According to the organizers the purpose of The Family Leadership Summit is to inspire, motivate, and educate conservatives. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 11: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump spoke about illegal immigration and other topics in front of an estimated crowd of 4,200. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
Donald Trump gestures while speaking surrounded by people whose families were victims of illegal immigrants on July 10, 2015 while meeting with the press at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where some shared their stories of the loss of a loved one. The US business magnate Trump, who is running for president in the 2016 presidential elections, angered members of the Latino community with recent comments but says he will win the Latino vote. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump gestures while speaking surrounded by people who's families were victims of illegal immigrants on July 10, 2015 while meeting with the press at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where some shared their stories of the loss of a loved one. The US business magnate Trump, who is running forpPresident in the 2016 presidential elections, angered members of the Latino community with recent comments but says he will win the Latino vote. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 06: Donald Trump attends the 2015 Hank's Yanks Golf Classic at Trump Golf Links Ferry Point on July 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on the Fifth Avenue in New York City on June 16, 2015. Trump, one of America's most flamboyant and outspoken billionaires, threw his hat into the race Tuesday for the White House, promising to make America great again. The 69-year-old long-shot candidate ridiculed the country's current crop of politicians and vowed to take on the growing might of China in a speech launching his run for the presidency in 2016. 'I am officially running for president of the United States and we are going to make our country great again,' he said from a podium bedecked in US flags at Trump Tower on New York's Fifth Avenue. The tycoon strode onto the stage after sailing down an escalator to the strains of 'Rockin' In The Free World' by Canadian singer Neil Young after being introduced by daughter Ivanka. His announcement follows years of speculation that the man known to millions as the bouffant-haired host of American reality TV game show 'The Apprentice' would one day enter politics. Trump identifies himself as a Republican, and has supported Republican candidates in the past. But in his announcement speech he did not explicitly say if he was running for the party's nomination or as an independent.AFP PHOTO/ KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Eric Trump, Lara Yunaska Trump, Donald Trump, Barron Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon Trump, Kai Madison Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald John Trump III, and Ivanka Trump pose for photos on stage after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 11: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump spoke about illegal immigration and other topics in front of an estimated crowd of 4,200. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Business mogul Donald Trump gives a speech as he announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Business mogul Donald Trump arrives at a press event where he announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Business mogul Donald Trump arrives at a press event where he announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in Clive, Iowa, U.S., September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he departs a campaign rally in Clive, Iowa, U.S., September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
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Trump said accusations that he groped women in a series of incidents going back to the 1980s were part of a coordinated attempt to keep him from the Oval Office.

"These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false," he said, adding that "the Clintons know it." He said he would make public at some point evidence to dispute the charges.

"I've never met these people. I don't even know who they are. They're made-up stories," Trump said later on Thursday during a speech in Ohio.

Trump spoke after The New York Times reported that two women said they had endured sexual aggression from him, and several other women made similar allegations in other media outlets.

The New York businessman's campaign was already struggling to contain a crisis after a video surfaced last week showing him bragging in 2005 about groping women and making unwanted sexual advances.

First lady Michelle Obama criticized Trump in scathing terms in a campaign speech for Clinton in New Hampshire on Thursday.

Her voice close to cracking with emotion, Obama said, "This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV."

"It's one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life," she added. "... The shameful comments about our bodies, the disrespect of our ambitions and intellect, the belief that you can do anything you want to a woman -- it is cruel."

One woman, Jessica Leeds, appeared on camera on The New York Times website to recount how Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt on a flight from the Midwest to New York in or around 1980. (http://nyti.ms/2dx8k5R)

Leeds told CNN on Thursday that Trump also kissed her face in an incident that lasted about 15 minutes. "That's long enough," she said.

The second woman, Rachel Crooks, described how Trump "kissed me directly on the mouth" in an unwanted advance in 2005 at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where she was a receptionist at a real estate firm.

Reuters could not independently verify the incidents. Leeds and Crooks did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

The New York Times said on Thursday it stood by its story and rejected charges the article was libelous after a lawyer for Trump threatened legal action and demanded a retraction.

SLUMP IN POLLS

Trump has slumped in opinion polls in recent days as the uproar over the video threatened to engulf his White House campaign in a way that his earlier controversies had not.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey showed one in five Republicans thought Trump's comments about groping women disqualified him from the presidency. The poll showed him 8 percentage points behind Clinton among likely voters.

Trump trailed Clinton by up to 11 percentage points in other polls.

Establishment Republicans have struggled to get behind Trump, alarmed by both his style and some of his policy proposals.

Within hours of The New York Times report, several other media outlets published similar reports. People magazine published a detailed first-person account from one of its reporters, Natasha Stoynoff. (http://bit.ly/2dTm90D)

Stoynoff said Trump pinned her against a wall at his Florida estate in 2005 and kissed her as she struggled to get away.

"I turned around, and within seconds, he was pushing me against the wall, and forcing his tongue down my throat," Stoynoff said.

Trump, 70, denied the People story in a Twitter message and in his speech in Florida on Thursday, and mocked the writer.

"I ask her a simple question. Why wasn't it part of the story that appeared 12 years ago? Why didn't they make it part of the story ... if she had added that, it would have been the headline."

"Look at her and look at her words," he said. "You tell me what you think. I don't think so."

Trump's wife, Melania, on Thursday posted on Twitter a letter from her attorney to People that said details in the story were false, pointing to Stoynoff's recollection in the piece that she later ran into Melania Trump and spoke to her in New York City.

The attorney, Charles Harder, said in the letter that Stoynoff and Melania Trump "were never friends or even friendly" and demanded that People "print a prominent retraction and apology."

The Palm Beach Post reported an allegation by Mindy McGillivray, 36, a woman in South Florida, that Trump had grabbed her bottom 13 years ago while she was working at his Mar-a-Lago estate as a photographer's assistant.

"There is no truth to this whatsoever," Trump's spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, told the Post.

McGillivray could not be reached for comment.

At the Florida rally on Thursday, Trump said he had been prepared for attacks, but "I never knew it would be this vile, that it would be this bad, that it would be this vicious."

He said the "corrupt political establishment" was trying to stop him so it could carry out a program of "radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people."

"Our great civilization, here in America and across the civilized world has come upon a moment of reckoning," he said.

In the 2005 video, Trump bragged about groping women, kissing them without permission, and trying to seduce a married woman. He said during a presidential debate on Sunday that he had not actually done the things he had boasted about, and apologized for his remarks, which he called private "locker room talk."

The Washington Post endorsed Clinton on Thursday. "In the gloom and ugliness of this political season, one encouraging truth is often overlooked: There is a well-qualified, well-prepared candidate on the ballot ... we endorse her without hesitation," it said.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton, Emily Flitter, Jonathan Allen, Emily Stephenson, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Michelle Conlin, Eric Beech, Eric Walsh, Doina Chiacu; Writing by Alistair Bell and Emily Stephenson; Editing by Frances Kerry and Peter Cooney)


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