U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have clear differences when it comes to policy proposals, but as the end to the long election process slowly approaches a gap just as wide persists in the finances of their campaigns.
Documents filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission showed Clinton raised about $60 million in August compared to $42 million for Trump. Her campaign also outspent Trump's by $20 million.
Add up all the monthly reports filed since each became their party's nominee in the race to replace President Barack Obama when his term ends in January, and as of the end of August Clinton had outspent Trump by about $200 million.
The gap in their total fundraising was even bigger, with Clinton having raised $386 million to Trump's $170 million.
Presidential races in the U.S. are expensive, with campaigns needing to buy lots of television ad time and staff offices across the country. Obama's campaign committee spent $775 million to get him re-elected in 2012, while his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, spent $460 million.
Clinton and Trump attacked each other Tuesday as unfit to lead the U.S. fight against the Islamic State group.
Trump said that Clinton "demonstrates a level of ignorance about the terror threat...that is disqualifying for a person seeking the presidency."
He told college students at a rally in the mid-Atlantic state of North Carolina, a key election battleground for both candidates, that "when she says my opposition to radical Islamic terror provides aid and comfort to the enemy, we know that Hillary Clinton has once again demonstrated that she's really unfit for office."
"Her comments are not only reckless, but beneath the dignity of the office that she seeks," Trump charged.
Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state looking to become the country's first female president, alleged Monday that Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric has made him "a recruiting sergeant" for the terrorists.
But Trump told his North Carolina supporters, "I'm being tough. How is that a recruiting tool?"
Clinton stayed off the campaign trail Tuesday while preparing for next Monday's first debate with Trump. But she spoke with national security advisers to discuss last weekend's bombing in New York, allegedly carried out by a naturalized U.S. citizen of Afghan descent.
She said recent violent attacks in the U.S. showed that "to defeat the terrorists, we need experienced, steady leadership." She did not name Trump, but said it was important to not "lose our cool and start ranting and waving our arms." Clinton said it was not the time for "extreme proposals," adding, "that's what the terrorists are aiming for."
Clinton lead shrinking
Earlier, Trump belittled Clinton's lack of a public appearance Tuesday, saying on his Twitter account, "Hillary Clinton is taking the day off again. She needs the rest. Sleep well Hillary — see you at the debate!"
Trump and Clinton are locked in a tight contest to become the country's 45th president, to replace President Barack Obama when he leaves office next January.
Trump, a one-time television reality show host, has erased most of the 8-percentage-point edge Clinton held over him in early August. An average of national polls compiled by RealClearPolitics shows her currently holding a 1.3-percentage-point lead seven weeks ahead of the November 8 election. The margin of error in polls is typically 3-4 percentage points.
Trump and suspect’s ‘amazing’ care
On Monday, Trump voiced his displeasure with the medical care and legal representation going to the suspect arrested in Saturday's bombing in New York City. Ahmad Khan Rahami was hospitalized after being shot as he tried to evade police in New Jersey, and is being held while he awaits his first court appearance next week.
"Now we will give him amazing hospitalization," Trump told supporters in Florida. "He will be taken care of by some of the best doctors in the world. And on top of all of that, he will be represented by an outstanding lawyer. His case will go through the various court systems for years and in the end people will forget and his punishment will not be what it once would have been."
The U.S. Constitution guarantees defendants the right to legal representation.
Trump reiterated his criticism of the U.S. immigration system that he says does not do an adequate job of screening people for security risks.
"You can't have vetting if you don't look at ideology. And Hillary Clinton refuses to consider an applicant's world view and thus their likelihood of being recruited into the terror cause at some later date, which is going to happen in many, many cases," Trump said.
One of the candidate's sons, Donald Trump Jr., also drew a big response Monday with a picture he posted on Twitter comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles candy and decrying a "politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first."
"If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?" reads the text above a bowl of the candy.
Skittles maker Wrigley issued a statement rebuffing the younger Trump's post.
"Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy," the company said.
Clinton and ‘tough vetting’
Clinton said Monday she also wants "tough vetting," but said the U.S. is "well-equipped" to keep out potential terrorists.
"And we can do so with keeping smart law enforcement, good intelligence, and in concert with our values," she said.
"We know that a lot of the rhetoric we've heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS, because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam rather than a war against jihadists," she said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
Clinton also said she hopes to utilize experts in the technology hub in California's Silicon Valley to help come up with ways to monitor internet conversations among plotters "to counter terrorism attacks before they occur."