AFPWashington, DC, United StatesOct 18, 2016, 06.33 PM (IST)
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Donald Trump to "stop whining" about elections being rigged, calling the remarks "irresponsible." His comments come a day before the final presidential debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The US president said he had never before seen anyone trying to discredit the election process.
"I have never seen in my lifetime, or in modern political history, any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place. It's unprecedented," Obama said while addressing a press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
"That is both irresponsible --- and, by the way, it doesn't really show the kind of leadership and toughness that you'd want out of a president. You start whining before the game's even over?
If, whenever things are going badly for you and you lose, you start blaming somebody else? Then you don't have what it takes to be in this job," he added. "I'd advise Mr Trump to stop whining, and go try to make his case to get votes."
Obama's comments came a day after Trump questioned the electoral process at a rally in Wisconsin's Green Bay, claiming "People that have died 10 years ago are still voting, illegal immigrants are voting."
Obama dismissed the accusations as "based on no facts." As did experts and Trump's own party officials.
Obama has campaigned on several occasions for Clinton, who served as his first secretary of state and who is leading in the latest national and battleground state polls.
Trump's dipping popularity
The 90-minute third and final presidential debate takes place three weeks before Americans head to the polls on November 8. It will be held at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas at 6:00 pm (0100 GMT Thursday).
It is seen as a last chance for the Republican nominee whose popularity has dipped after accusations of sexual misconduct by several women and the emergence of a 2005 video in which he makes lewd comments about women.
His team deployed his wife Melania to salvage the situation. "Those words, they were offensive to me and they were inappropriate. And he apologized to me. And I accept his apology. And we are moving on," Melania Trump told Fox News on Tuesday.
Trump had declared his innocence once again on Monday. Asked on ABC whether he had ever crossed the line with women, Trump said "I don`t think so. I have great respect for women."
"It's lies, pure lies," he said of the accusations.
Preparation for the debate
The candidates are expected to address the issues of the US debt, immigration policy, the economy, the Supreme Court, hot spots around the world, and their preparedness to be commander in chief, AFP reported.
Clinton, who had no events scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, seems to have carefully prepared true to her style. Asked about her preparedness at the Westchester airport, she flashed a thumbs up sign before boarded her plane to Las Vegas, AFP reported.
In contrast, Trump was seen engaging in "debate prep" in Colorado Springs on Tuesday and has back-to-back rallies scheduled in the city and Vegas.
Besides rigging, his main attack against Clinton has been her email scandal.
41% of American voters, including 73% of Republicans, believe the election could actually be stolen from Trump, AFP said citing a poll by Politico and Morning Consult.
Clinton, meanwhile, is concentrating on traditionally Republican-leaning states like Arizona and Missouri, AFP reported.