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Clinton Aims to Get More Democrats Elected to Congress

  • Ken Bredemeier

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures at supporters during a campaign event at the Taylor Allderdice High School, Oct. 22, 2016, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures at supporters during a campaign event at the Taylor Allderdice High School, Oct. 22, 2016, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, confident of winning the U.S. presidency in next month's election, is now dismissive of Republican Donald Trump and making new efforts to elect more Democrats to Congress to support her legislative agenda.

"I don't even think about responding to him any more," Clinton said of Trump's taunts that she is corrupt and unfit to claim the White House.

The former U.S. secretary of state, looking to become the country's first female president, told reporters aboard her campaign plane late Saturday that in the last 16 days before the November 8 election she plans to emphasize "the importance of electing Democrats down the ballot" in an effort reclaim control of Congress, where Republicans now have a majority in both chambers.

Clinton, now given a 9-in-10 chance by polling analysts of winning the election, has redirected millions of dollars from her campaign to states normally won by Republican presidential candidates in an effort to expand her lead over Trump and help Democratic candidates running against incumbent Republican lawmakers. The analysts say Democrats could reclaim control of the Senate, but face an uphill fight in the House Representatives where Republicans currently hold a wide advantage.

FILE - Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, stands outside of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, July 23, 2013. Analysts say Democrats could reclaim control of the Senate, but face an uphill fight in the House Representatives.

FILE - Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, stands outside of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, July 23, 2013. Analysts say Democrats could reclaim control of the Senate, but face an uphill fight in the House Representatives.

Clinton surging

A collection of national polls compiled by several sources gives Clinton about six-percentage-point advantage over Trump, a brash real estate mogul making his first run for elected office. But a new ABC News poll Sunday said Clinton has surged in recent days to a 50-38 percent lead in the aftermath of controversies involving Trump's treatment of women and his reluctance to accept the outcome of the election unless he wins.

WATCH: Clinton on Trump's reluctance to respect election results

Trump's campaign chief, Kellyanne Conway, acknowledged to NBC News Sunday, "We are behind."

But she added, "We're not giving up. We know we can win this."

The ABC poll said Clinton has moved to a commanding 20-point edge among female voters, 55-35, and an even bigger lead among college-educated women, 62-30. ABC also said that for the first time in its polling during the long campaign, men also favor her candidacy, 44-41. Trump is leading among white voters, still a majority of U.S. voters but a declining share of the U.S. electorate, by four percentage points, but non-whites favor Clinton by a huge margin, 68-14.

In last week's third and final debate with Clinton, Trump's comment that “Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody" drew audible laughter from the audience. Later, he interrupted Clinton to call her "such a nasty woman," a taunt that immediately has been marketed on an array of T-shirts supporting her candidacy.

WATCH: Trump, Clinton pitch policy proposals

Trump's plunge in national polling and key battleground election states that will determine the outcome started more than two weeks ago when a 2005 tape surfaced in which he made lewd comments about women and boasted how he could grope them because he was a celebrity. Trump later apologized and dismissed the comments as "locker room talk," and denied he had actually made unwanted sexual advances on women.

But since then 11 women have recounted instances in which he made unexpected and unwanted advances on them over several decades, all of which he said were fabrications.

Jessica Drake speaks to reporters about allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump, alongside lawyer Gloria Allred (L) during a news conference in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 22, 2016.

Jessica Drake speaks to reporters about allegations of sexual misconduct against Donald Trump, alongside lawyer Gloria Allred (L) during a news conference in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 22, 2016.

Trump's first 100 days

On Saturday, Trump said he would sue the women after the election for hurting his campaign, even as he outlined a variety of policy changes he would make in his first 100 days in office if he captures the presidency, overturning executive actions taken by President Barack Obama, cutting government regulations and imposing mandatory prison terms on immigrants who enter the United States illegally.

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence (L) hold a campaign rally in Cleveland, Oct. 22, 2016.

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) and vice presidential candidate Mike Pence (L) hold a campaign rally in Cleveland, Oct. 22, 2016.

Clinton and her surrogates, including Obama, have in recent days questioned how some incumbent Republican lawmakers up for re-election could denounce Trump's comments on the tape and other controversial remarks he has made and yet have not rejected his candidacy.

Clinton, campaigning in the key eastern state of Pennsylvania on Saturday, mocked Senator Pat Toomey, locked in a tight battle in the state for re-election to another six-year term, saying, "If he doesn't have the courage to stand up to Donald Trump after all this, then can you be sure he'll stand up for you when it counts?" She delivered a similar attack Sunday against North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, facing a tough re-election fight in his mid-Atlantic state.

She adopted an optimistic outlook on the state of the country's affairs, attacking Trump's assessment that the United States in many ways is declining.

"I've listened to all his insults," Clinton said. "I don't recognize the country he's talking about."

In her comments on the airplane Saturday, Clinton, the wife of former President Bill Clinton, said she is looking past her race against Trump.

“I debated him for four and a half hours," she said. “He can say whatever he wants to. He can run his campaign however he wants to, he can go off on tangents, he can go to Gettysburg (Pennsylvania) and say he’s gonna sue women who’ve made accusations against him. I’m going to keep talking about what we want to do.”

In his remarks Saturday, Trump said he would stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. by imposing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years for anyone who enters the country illegally. He also vowed to impose term limits on members of Congress, enact a freeze on federal hiring and ban White House and congressional officials from becoming lobbyists after leaving office.

"We will drain the swamp in Washington, D.C., and replace it with a new government by and of the people," Trump declared.

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