Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday backed away from repeated remarks labeling President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as the founders of Islamic State, saying they were sarcasm. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Story: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday (August 12) backed away from repeated remarks labeling President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as the founders of Islamic State, saying they were sarcasm but then partially backed away from his retraction. Trump told a crowd in Erie, Pennsylvania that he was being sarcastic when he made the comments, but then added, "not that sarcastic." Trump used the unfounded description of Clinton and Obama on Wednesday (August 10) night and all day on Thursday (August 11) during campaign appearances in Florida, including in an interview on Thursday. But in a tweet on Friday, he called the comments sarcasm, a description he used again at the rally in Eric. Trump's accusation against Obama and Clinton went well beyond a charge made in the past by him and other Republicans: that the president and former secretary of state helped create the conditions for the rise of Islamic State by withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011. But a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll released on Friday suggested support for Trump is eroding among voters in three battleground states. Such states are hotly contested because their populations can swing either to Republicans or Democrats and thus play a decisive role in presidential elections. The poll found Clinton widening her lead in Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina, while holding her advantage over Trump in Florida.