Wisconsin Senator Johnson Stands by Trump Despite 'Despicable' Comments

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Endangered Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Monday he would still support Donald Trump, despite the GOP nominee making comments in 2005 that Johnson acknowledged were "despicable."

"What I've been saying is I obviously will not vote for Hillary Clinton. Nobody can predict how this entire thing pans out," he said, asked by reporters after a campaign event in Waukesha, Wis.

Johnson, however, left the door open to voting for someone else, later telling reporters it was his "intention currently" to vote for the GOP nominee, but "I don't know what other revelations" might come out.

He offered no response when asked what would cause him to disavow Trump, saying only "that's a hypothetical question."

While he said he couldn't defend Trump's comments, Johnson argued they were less significant than Democrat Hillary Clinton's "callous actions" with her use of a private server and during the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. When asked if Trump was condoning sexual assault in the tape, Johnson again downplayed the comments.

"Those were words, versus Hillary Clinton's actions. I think the two things are completely different," he scoffed.

Johnson has trailed his Democratic opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold, by a strong margin in nearly every poll of the race, but two surveys out over the past week suggest a tightening race.

Image: Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson delivers opening remarks during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on 'Fifteen Years After 9/11: Threats to the Homeland', on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 27 September 2016. SHAWN THEW / EPA

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Trump Jr. Defends Father's Lewd Comments: 'It's a Fact of Life'

Donald Trump Jr. is defending his father's recently unearthed lewd comments about women, calling it a "fact of life" that men talk like that.

The Republican nominee's son spoke Friday to KIRO radio's Dori Monson about the comments, which were caught on a hot microphone on a 2005 "Access Hollywood" videotape. ("Access Hollywood" is owned and distributed by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News and MSNBC.)

The tape, in which Trump is heard boasting about attempting to seduce a married woman, sparked backlash within the GOP and beyond.

"I think we all know guys who have had conversations with other guys that go a little bit in that direction. That's a fact of life," Trump Jr. said.

He asked voters to realize that his father hadn't "spent his whole life" being a politician.

"He hasn't spent his whole life polishing every statement he's ever made and every conversation he's ever had. He doesn't run a focus group so he can tell you what he's thinking. He speaks from the heart," Trump Jr. said, jabbing Clinton for differences in her public and private statements that he said came to light in the leaked emails from her chief of staff, John Podesta.

Of the string of sexual misconduct allegations that have been waged against him, Trump Jr. said, "Obviously, he's not happy" about them.

Trump Jr. said felt his father could still relate to "ordinary Americans" better on "many cases" than Hillary Clinton.

Suspicious Substance Sent to Clinton Campaign HQ Deemed 'Non-Hazardous'

Offices of Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters in New York were evacuated on Friday evening after receiving a letter with a "white powdered substance," according to officials.

The entire 11th floor was cleared around 5:30 p.m. ET after the unknown substance arrived in a business size envelope to Clinton's Brooklyn headquarters, the NYPD's Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI) told NBC News.

"Preliminary testing by federal and local officials has found the substance to be non-hazardous. The four individuals involved have reported no health issues and, following a full examination by medical personnel, were each released to go home," said Clinton spokesperson Glen Caplin. "Our office remained open throughout this period and will remain open without interruption tomorrow morning."

Pence Cites Trump's "Unrelenting Momentum" in New Hampshire

EXETER, New Hampshire — Mike Pence rolled out of New Hampshire on Friday night with a five-stop day in the books. It was the Indiana governor's busiest day on the campaign trail — one that, notably, hasn't been overly strenuous when it comes to speech giving and retail politicking.

He wrapped up his day in the Granite State with a campaign rally that comfortably fit the old Exeter Town Hall, a famed site where Abraham Lincoln once addressed the town.

"That man is ready. This team is ready. This movement is ready," Pence roared to close his speech. "If you go make sure New Hampshire is ready, we will make Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States of America, and we will make America great again."

The full-throated backing of his running mate included the insistence that Trump "beat Hillary Clinton hands down" at the debate in Las Vegas Wednesday, and noted that the campaign has "unrelenting momentum," as Pence told the crowd about his stops in Albuquerque and Reno on Thursday.

"Yeah, it's a big country," Pence chuckled. He told them that he can "sense this enthusiasm" and suggested that Trump is "still standing stronger than ever before."

Ex-KKK Leader David Duke Qualifies for Louisiana Senate Debate

Former KKK leader David Duke, 66, has earned enough support in the Louisiana Senate race to take the debate stage, according to The Acadiana Advocate. The debate will be held Nov. 2 at Dillard University, a historically black college.

Duke announced in late July that he was running for the open Senate seat. He endorsed Donald Trump, who Duke said had bolstered the white nationalist movement and inspired him to run. The Republican presidential candidate has disavowed Duke multiple times.

Duke said it was "amazing" that he met the 5 percent minimum requirement to attend the debate, but worried about visiting a black university.

"Dillard is pretty supportive of Black Lives Matter, and I've been pretty critical of them," he said, according to the Advocate.

Miley Cyrus Will Knock On Doors For Clinton Saturday

That's so Miley.

The Voice judge, singer, songwriter and philanthropist Miley Cyrus will be joining Hillary Clinton's VP Pick, Tim Kaine, to campaign for Clinton at George Mason University, V.A. on Saturday, October 22.

"Comin to VA for HC!!!" Cyrus said in a Tweet that also included the hashtag #imwithher and a photo of Clinton's face in the middle of an American dollar.

As a passionate advocate for LGBTQ rights and a pansexual, Cyrus intends to literally knock on doors in the college to speak to students about the "high-stake gamble" of this election particularly for millennial voters.

Cyrus plans to urge voters to visit and ensure they have adequate information on how to vote for on Election Day.

Biden Wishes He Could Take Trump 'Behind the Gym'

Vice President Joe Biden didn't hold back during a rally for Hillary Clinton today, taking a jab at Donald Trump for the leaked Access Hollywood tape.

Biden said it was "a disgusting assertion for Trump to make" in the lewd tape that he could "do things" to women that other people couldn't just because he is "a billionaire." The vice president has called it "a textbook version of sexual assault" and critiqued Trump's abuse of power publicly.

"The press always asks me, don't I wish I were debating him? No, I wish we were in high school, and I could take him behind the gym. That's what I wish," Biden said at Wilkes University in P.A.

Rubio Says Trump Doing 'Better Than People Think' in Florida

Marco Rubio told NBC News that Donald Trump is doing "better than people think" in Florida while acknowledging his "unusual" candidacy.

"I think there is an acknowledgement that Donald Trump's nomination is unusual and not what most people expected," Rubio told NBC News' Hallie Jackson on Friday. "He did win 14 million votes and is the nominee of our party."

The Florida senator said he often disagrees with the GOP nominee and, if elected, would likely face opposition from Congressional Republicans on a number of key issues.

"I imagine on certain issues that if he is elected you are going to have congressional Republicans who are going to be pushing the country in a different direction than the Republican president," Rubio said.

And despite polling that shows Trump trailing HIllary Clinton, Rubio predicted Election Day will be closer than many people expect.

"He is doing better in Florida than people think he is. But we will see," Rubio said. "I don't think he can win if he doesn't win Florida."

A Quinnipiac poll released Monday showed Clinton with a four-point lead in the Sunshine State.

Leigh Ann Caldwell

Koch Group Drops New Ad in Nevada Senate Race

Freedom Partners Action Fund is launching a new television advertisement in the Nevada Senate race to start running the final two weeks before Election Day.

The $750,000 ad buy is the latest for the Charles and David Koch-backed group that said it would likely dispense with pricey television advertisements in the final five weeks of the election.

But Republican candidate, Rep. Joe Heck, is slightly behind in the polls, according to an average by Real Clear Politics, and the group believes that a final television push, combined with efforts by other Koch-backed groups on the ground there, is needed in the final days.

The heart-wrenching ad suggests Democratic candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, then state's attorney general, is heartless and didn't address the pleas of a daughter who's mother was in the state's guardian program.

"A vulnerable elderly woman was neglected and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Catherine Cortez Masto ignored the family's pleas for help," said Freedom Partners spokesman Bill Riggs. "Cortez Masto has a history of looking the other way while seniors were exploited under Nevada's guardianship program, and Nevadans deserve better."

Leigh Ann Caldwell

More Conservative Groups Focus Investments in the Senate

The Associated Builders and Contractors announced a digital advertising buy worth up to $3 million in critical Senate races.

The association that works to protect construction and building trades is one of a growing list of conservative leaning groups that usually endorse in the presidential race but are opting to spend their political dollars down-ballot.

In one of the two ads targeted Democratic candidate Sen. Evan Bayh in the Hoosier State, one "diagnoses" him with "Affluenza."

"You just don't get that kind of personality change with an uninfected person," says a person playing a doctor in the ad. "We ask that if you see him, just be polite and say, 'Senator Bayh, those were bad votes and they hurt Hoosiers.' Just maybe don't shake hands without medical grade gloves."

The ads are targeted for the Senate races in Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida and Indiana.

Hillary Clinton to Meet Top Black Lives Matter Activists In Cleveland

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to meet Black Lives Matter activists Brittany Packnett and DeRay McKesson in Cleveland today ahead of her rally, a Clinton aide told NBC News.

"I'm looking forward to the conversation with Hillary Clinton today, following up on the previous in-person meeting," McKesson said in a tweet.

Clinton met with Packnett and McKesson a year ago to address their concerns about the racial and criminal justice issues that have pervaded the U.S., including the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. However, at that time, Packnett, along with Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, chose to not endorse Clinton because they were worried about the 1994 crime bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law.

Packnett officially endorsed Clinton Friday, citing Clinton's "path to progress."