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Donald Trump backs off praise for Vladimir Putin

By
Eric DuVall
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses supporters during a rally at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nev., on Wednesday. Trump backed off his previous praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo by James Atoa/UPI
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses supporters during a rally at the Henderson Pavilion in Henderson, Nev., on Wednesday. Trump backed off his previous praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo

HENDERSON, Nev., Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Donald Trump on Wednesday said he is not sure what kind of relationship he would have with Russian President Vladimir Putin if the Republican is elected president.

Democrats have consistently mocked Trump's past remarks in praise of the Russian strongman, the latest instance coming from vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine during the debate on Tuesday.

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During that debate, Trump's running mate Gov. Mike Pence backed away from Trump's previous praise for Putin, calling the Russian president a "small and bullying leader."

Speaking before an estimated crowd of 7,000 in Henderson, Nev., a Las Vegas suburb, Trump said he could not predict the type of relationship he would have with Putin.

"I don't love [Putin], I don't hate. We'll see how it works. We'll see," Trump said. "Maybe we'll have a good relationship. Maybe we'll have a horrible relationship. Maybe we'll have a relationship right in the middle."

In the past, Pence has defended Trump's praise of Putin, though he did not do so on Tuesday after Kaine accused Trump of calling Putin a "great leader."

In the wake of an NBC forum in September, in which Trump was asked about his embrace of Putin, whose nation is frequently at odds with American interests on the world stage, Pence praised Putin.

"I think it's inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country," he said.

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