WASHINGTON — The Latest on the U.S. presidential election (all times EDT):

8:33 p.m.

Donald Trump says he saved former Miss Universe Alicia Machado’s job by shaming her into losing weight.

Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly Wednesday night that he “saved her job because they wanted to fire her for putting on so much weight.” Trump says he said, “‘Don’t do that, let her try and lose the weight.'”

Machado says that Trump humiliated her by inviting reporters to her gym sessions and calling her “Miss Piggy.”

But Trump says he deserves thanks.

“I helped somebody and this is what you get for helping somebody,” he says.

He adds that she and other girls knew what they were getting into, adding, “It’s a beauty contest.”

5:34 p.m.

Donald Trump wants to know how many Christian conservatives are backing him in Iowa.

The Republican presidential nominee asked those attending a Wednesday afternoon rally in Council Bluffs to raise their hands “if you’re not a Christian conservative.”

He noticed “a couple people” raising their hands.

He asked the crowd, “Should we keep them in the room?” He answered himself, “Yes, I think so.”

Many Iowa Republicans are Christian conservatives. The thrice married Trump has faced tough questions of his own about his devotion to Christian values.

5:22 p.m.

Donald Trump has said the name of former GOP rival Ted Cruz.

The Republican nominee saluted the Texas Senator at a rally Wednesday in Iowa, saying “Ted Cruz endorsed me the other day and I know the people of Iowa like Ted Cruz.”

Cruz won the Iowa caucus and is popular among the state’s evangelical population.

The Texas Senator held out endorsing Trump for months before finally announcing his support last week. He dramatically refused to back Trump at this summer’s national convention, telling Republicans to instead “vote their conscience.”

Trump had viciously attacked Cruz during their primary battle, insulting the senator’s wife’s looks and trying unsuccessfully to link Cruz’ father with the assassination of President John Kennedy.

5:16 p.m.

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence is noshing on a hot dog with chili sauce before a campaign stop in northeast Ohio.

Pence, his wife Karen and daughter Charlotte made a quick stop at Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe in Girard, Ohio, on Wednesday before an evening rally in nearby Leetonia.

Pence ordered a hot dog with chili sauce and scarfed it down in just a few quick bites in one of the restaurants booths. Pence then chatted and posed for pictures with diners and restaurant staff.

Pence was campaigning in Ohio after spending the morning and previous afternoon in private debate preparations in Wisconsin with Gov. Scott Walker.

5:12 p.m.

Donald Trump is unleashing a line of attack on Hillary Clinton that he notably underplayed during the first presidential debate.

Trump suggested to supporters Wednesday in Iowa that the Democratic nominee used the Clinton Foundation to enrich herself.

The celebrity businessman said that if Clinton “ever got the chance, she would put the Oval Office up for sale.” He repeatedly drew the contrast that Clinton was “a career politician” who “failed at everything” during her Washington tenure while portraying himself as an agent of change.

Many believe Trump spent too much time on the defensive during Monday’s debate and missed several opportunities to attack Clinton.

Though most observers feel Clinton had a strong debate, Trump said “I don’t think she did well in the debate at all.”

4:42 p.m.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is calling Donald Trump to apologize to former Miss Universe pageant winner Alicia Machado.

Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jen Palmieri told reporters Wednesday that Trump and his campaign “should stop bullying her.”

Trump aides have seized upon reports that Machado threatened to kill a judge in Venezuela in 1998. She was never charged with any criminal involvement.

Machado said in a Tuesday interview with CNN that “everybody has a past.”

Trump has refused to back down from comments he made about Machado’s weight, saying on Tuesday that her “massive” gain had been a “real problem.”

4:06 p.m.

More people are seeking or casting early ballots in the critical states of North Carolina and Florida than at this point in 2012, with Hillary Clinton the likely benefactor.

Nationwide, early voting is showing signs of surging.

Clinton may also benefit from an increase in ballot requests in Georgia, a traditionally Republican state where Democrats have made inroads. But Donald Trump is showing strength in Iowa and Maine, states won by Barack Obama in the last two elections.

The latest snapshot of ballot data offers a glimpse into a key question: how much of a vote advantage Clinton can run up before Nov. 8, when more Republicans tend to vote. While the ballot sample remains small, Clinton is hitting guideposts in several battleground states compared to 2008 and 2012.

3:58 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is appealing to young voters in New Hampshire, promising to give them relief from high interest rates and massive student loans if she’s elected president.

Clinton is campaigning with her one-time primary rival Bernie Sanders at the University of New Hampshire. Clinton says she wants to “make a difference” in the lives of young voters with a plan she developed with Sanders to make college debt-free for millions of middle-class families.

Sanders was popular with millennials during the primary. Clinton is trying to connect with young voters who may support third-party candidates Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

3:29 p.m.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making the case for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, calling her plan to provide free college tuition to middle class families “revolutionary.”

Sanders says the plan that he developed with Clinton after their lengthy presidential primary is a “big deal” and would help millions of young people from middle-class and low income backgrounds go to college.

Sanders is introducing Clinton at a rally at the University of New Hampshire. The senator says the November election is “enormously important for the future of our country” and it’s “imperative” that voters send Clinton to the White House.

2:17 p.m.

It’s a line of questioning that was simply too delicious to resist.

House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared Wednesday before the Economic Club of Washington to discuss economic policy and, inevitably, politics. Two days earlier, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump debated Hillary Clinton and was panned for a poor performance and inadequate preparation.

Club president David Rubenstein was asking the questions, seated on stage facing the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential candidate.

Rubenstein asked, “So, you did a vice presidential debate. Did you prepare a lot for that?”

Ryan, who’s had a touchy relationship with Trump, laughed along with audience. He said, “I know where you’re going with this one, all right? Yes I did, David.”

Rubenstein bore in and asked, “Well, does preparation help?”

More laughter.

Ryan giggled, “It does, David.”

1:35 p.m.

Michelle Obama says presidential candidates don’t change if they win and “we need an adult in the White House.”

The first lady attacked Donald Trump at a rally in Philadelphia Wednesday, saying that if a candidate thinks not paying taxes makes him smart, or makes cruel and insulting comments about women, that’s who the candidate really is.

She said “experience, preparation and temperament matters and Hillary Clinton has it all.”

The first lady was heading to Pittsburgh for another rally later Wednesday.

The Trump campaign says Clinton is “in panic mode” in Pennsylvania because of his improved polling and what they say is her disconnect with millennials and African-American voters.

1:34 p.m.

The political arm of Planned Parenthood is targeting Ohio as part of its largest education and get-out-the-vote effort ever.

Planned Parenthood Votes says its Ohio campaign’s public launch Wednesday is part of an unprecedented, $30 million national effort to mobilize voters, particularly young and undecided Americans.

The field campaign is data-driven. The group says internal analysis shows uncommitted Ohio voters can be moved by issues surrounding Planned Parenthood, the women’s health care and abortion provider, and abortion rights.

Its volunteers will push votes for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Senate candidate Ted Strickland in 450,000 door knocks and 17,000 phone calls.

Abortion opponents are rallying support through a 40-day bus tour launched Tuesday. It promotes politicians who favor legal abortion limits.

1:05 p.m.

Donald Trump is praising former Israeli leader Shimon Peres as “a consummate statesman, a distinguished patriot and a friend of peace-loving people everywhere.”

The Republican presidential nominee says in a statement issued by his campaign Wednesday that Peres was “a visible and highly effective patriarch” to the people of Israel whose “life always pointed toward peace.”

Peres died Tuesday.

The statement said Peres, a former president and prime minister “personified dignity and grace in a region of the world where both run far too short.”

Trump and his wife, Melania, extended their condolences to Peres’ family.

1 p.m.

Michelle Obama is using a Hillary Clinton rally to denounce Donald Trump’s role in the birther movement.

The first lady said questions about her husband’s citizenship can’t be swept under the rug “by an insincere sentence uttered at a press conference.”

She didn’t mention Trump by name, but that was clearly a reference to the Republican nominee’s brief statement this month finally acknowledging that Obama was born in the United States.

Mrs. Obama said the birther movement raised “hurtful, deceitful questions” aimed at undermining her husband’s presidency.

She said the president has answered those questions “by going high when they go low.”

The first lady said the next president “just can’t pop off or lash out irrationally.”

Mrs. Obama was campaigning at LaSalle University in Philadelphia.

11:45 a.m.

Donald Trump is pledging if elected to work with Poland to strengthen NATO.

Trump is speaking to Polish-Americans in Chicago. He’s praising Poland for paying its fair share to collective defense under NATO.

Trump had been criticized earlier in the campaign for describing NATO as obsolete and questioning the U.S. commitment to the alliance. But Trump says he’s helping NATO by putting pressure on it to focus on terrorism.

Trump also touched on other campaign themes, promising he’ll be the “greatest president for jobs that God ever created.”

11 a.m.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is airing its first television ad featuring Michelle Obama.

The first lady says in the 30-second ad that Clinton is the best candidate to help America’s children.

She says “our children watch everything we do” and Clinton would be a president “our kids can look up to.”

Clinton has made the case that rival Donald Trump doesn’t have the temperament to be president.

The ad is airing ahead of Mrs. Obama’s campaign events Wednesday in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The first lady will urge voters to register before the Oct. 11 registration deadline.

10:10 a.m.

Former Republican senator John Warner is panning Donald Trump as disrespectful of the military and woefully unprepared to be commander in chief.

Warner is a five-term Virginia senator, veteran and former Secretary of the Navy. He was appearing with Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, in Virginia to endorse the Democratic ticket.

Warner said he’s weighing in because he’s “distressed” by Trump’s comments that the military is in bad shape. He said Clinton is deeply prepared to be president, citing their time together on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He said above all, Clinton is respectful of the military. He added: “That’s one word that’s totally lacking on the other side.”

This is Warner’s first time endorsing a Democrat for president. He endorsed a Democrat for senator in 2014.

9:50 a.m.

Former Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia says Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is a longtime friend who “exemplifies what this country needs.”

The five-term senator was formally endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her running mate at an event in Virginia, also Kaine’s home state.

Kaine and Warner warmly recalled their friendship. Warner is a friend of Kaine’s father-in-law, former Republican Virginia Gov. Linwood Holton. Warner said he first appeared on behalf of Kaine when Kaine ran for the Richmond city council decades ago.

Kaine told the crowd that he called Warner for advice when deciding to run for Senate in 2012. He’s praising Warner as a politician who has “always put country and commonwealth above everything else.”

9:20 a.m.

President Barack Obama says people don’t give Hillary Clinton enough credit — perhaps partially because she’s a woman.

Obama was speaking in an interview with radio host Steve Harvey airing Wednesday. He said he’s been frustrated at people’s reluctance to give Clinton credit. He said it’s partially because “she’s been around a long time” and possibly because there hasn’t been a female president before.

Obama said his legacy is on the ballot this year. He said everything his administration has accomplished in the last eight years is at stake.

The president said Trump “basically admitted” in the first debate that he didn’t pay taxes. He said Trump admitted he didn’t pay people who worked for him. Obama accused Trump of insulting women during and after the debate.

7:35 a.m.

Hillary Clinton is trying to build on her widely praised debate performance by making a direct appeal to younger voters.

Clinton is campaigning Wednesday in New Hampshire with Bernie Sanders. It’s their first joint campaign appearance since their “unity” rally after Sanders endorsed Clinton. She’s struggled to win over the young voters whose enthusiasm drove his primary campaign.

Donald Trump is claiming that the debate was a success for him, too. His campaign is celebrating what it says is about $18 million Republicans raised in the day after the debate.

Trump is campaigning in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Clinton’s campaign is also dispatching Michelle Obama to campaign for her in Pennsylvania. The first lady has been one of the most effective campaigners for Democrats this year.

3:05 a.m.

Donald Trump is refusing to release his tax returns. But he has turned them over when he stood to make a profit, needed a loan or when a judge forced him.

No one who’s seen those documents is allowed to say what’s in them.

In all the cases reviewed by The Associated Press, each person, organization, company or government office that has seen copies of Trump’s tax returns is barred from discussing their contents. That leaves the public with only glimpses into what his tax returns contain.

Trump faces increased criticism from Democrat Hillary Clinton to release his tax returns after he said during the presidential debate that he was smart for not paying federal income taxes in some years. Since 1976, every major party nominee has released their returns.