Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are back on the campaign trail after an eventful few days that included a vicious debate, lewd Trump comments about women, a major split among Republicans and leaked emails showing a private Clinton versus a public one.
Both candidates are struggling to overcome voter mistrust with less than a month before the presidential election.
Speaker Ryan won't defend, campaign for Trump
Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan told fellow Republicans in a conference call Monday that he will no longer campaign for Trump or defend his often harsh comments that have offended many voters.
Ryan said he will instead focus his efforts on getting Republicans elected to the House so the party will keep its hold on Congress. Republicans currently control both the House and Senate.
Watch video report from VOA's Jim Malone:
One person on the conference call said Ryan did not withdraw his support for Trump, but simply will not campaign for him. Ryan told other Republican House members "to do what's best for you in your district."
A Clinton campaign spokesperson called Ryan's decision not to stump for Trump "pretty stunning." Trump criticized the speaker, saying he "should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting [the] Republican nominee.
Candidates rehash debate at rallies
Clinton said Monday that Trump spent Sunday's presidential debate attacking when he should have been apologizing.
She was talking about a Trump's comments on a leaked 2005 in which he boasted to a TV personality that could grope women because he is a "star."
Clinton told a crowd in Detroit that Trump "doubled down" on his explanation that the comments were just locker room talk between men. She called it "a really weak excuse for behaving badly and mistreating people."
Moments later, Trump appeared in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, saying all Clinton could talk about in the debate was "small petty things."
Trump said at the debate he was "very embarrassed" by his remarks and hated them.
But he tore into the media Monday for "beating me up" for 72 hours while ignoring allegations that Clinton threatened women who Trump says were raped and sexually assaulted by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
WATCH: Candidates use debate moments to fire up supporters
Clinton trying to explain emails
Meanwhile, Clinton campaign emails released by WikiLeaks showed Clinton made private remarks about Wall Street and her relations with the middle class that differ from what she has said on the campaign trail.
She has publicly called for tougher rules for big banks and investment houses, while in paid speeches to financial firms expressed a willingness to make deals and let Wall Street put together some of those regulations.
Clinton has also spoken of how she and Bill Clinton were "broke" when they left the White House in 2001. But she apparently said in 2014 that she is now "far removed" from those struggles because of "the fortunes" they now enjoy.
When asked in Sunday's debate to reconcile her public and private comments, Clinton cited President Abraham Lincoln, saying he used different arguments with different people to get things done.
Viewership for 2nd debate down
Television ratings show the national audience for Sunday's debate was about 66.5 million people -- sharply down from the 84 million who watched the first debate two weeks ago.
Those numbers only measure those watching on television at home and do not include the millions who watched on social media, in bars and political clubs, or simply listened on radio.
Sunday's showdown competed against a televised baseball playoff game and a marquee football game.
Nearly every major poll of voters taken after the debate give Clinton a lead over Trump, including an NBC News / Wall Street Journal survey giving her a huge 14-point lead versus Trump alone, and an 11-point advantage when two third-party candidates are included.
Other major polls give Clinton a five-to-seven-point lead, while one survey by The Los Angeles Times / USC Tracking give Trump a three-point lead.
A New York Times analysis of all the polls give Clinton an 86 percent chance of winning the White House on November 8.
Unlikely debate changed minds
Political scientist Stephen Wayne of Georgetown University in Washington told VOA that the debate likely solidified support for both candidates, not necessarily changing the campaign's track that has boosted Clinton to her national polling advantage and commanding leads in key battleground states that will decide the outcome.
Political scientist John Sides at George Washington University said of the debate, "My sense of the narrative is that Trump did better, but it won't be enough to improve his poll numbers. Again, this is an impression of the conventional wisdom that is coming together."
Wayne said he thinks the debate might have unified Clinton's support among "Democratic voters who may have been worried about her. Trump solidified his base, but not beyond the base. I thought it revealed the true character of each candidate. It reinforced our views of both candidates and their weaknesses."
Wayne said Trump "showed no knowledge of the issues," while she was "well prepared to defend herself and support traditional Democratic issues." A CNN snap poll in the hours after the debate said Clinton won it, by a 57-to-34 percent margin.