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    Trump straddles election run-up: He won’t stump for Moore yet blasts Democrat

    Playing all sides in the Alabama Senate race, President Donald Trump made it known Monday he won’t set foot in the state on behalf of embattled Republican Roy Moore, even as he intensified his insistence that voters must never elect Moore’s Democratic foe.
    In search of safe political ground, Trump is embracing a tried-and-true tactic before the Dec. 12 special election. Weighing political needs, loyalty to his base supporters and his own struggles against allegations of sexual impropriety, the president is staking out a position that should bring him the least political exposure.
    Trump has repeatedly assailed Democratic candidate Doug Jones, has publicly defended Moore against allegations of child molestation and has broken with other GOP leaders calling on Moore to get out of the race. On the other hand, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday the president has no plans for an in-person appearance on Moore’s behalf and in fact is too busy to “do anything between now and Election Day” for the candidate.
    In addition, the president previously signed off on a decision by the Republican National Committee to cut off support for Moore’s campaign. 
    Still, Trump had held the door open to personal campaigning for Moore last week, when he all but endorsed the pugnacious conservative’s candidacy while criticizing Jones. But he’s carefully stopping short of that actual endorsement.
    For weeks the center state in the Alabama race has been held by accusations that Moore, now 70, sexually molested or initiated sexual contact with two teens, ages 14 and 16 — and tried to date several others — while he was in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations of misconduct and has said he never dated “underage” women.
    “This is simply dirty politics and it’s a sign of the immorality of our time,” Moore said Monday night during a campaign event in the rural town of Henagar in northeast Alabama. Lashing out at national Republicans who want him to step aside, Moore said: “They are aware of my past. They are aware I am difficult to manage.”

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