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US Presidential election: Donald Trump v Hillary Clinton, The Washington Post's verdict

Ahead of US presidental D-Day, the Belfast Telegraph gets the inside track on a poll too close to call

By Claire Williamson

It is at the fulcrum in covering the US presidential race.

Publishing a constant stream of political stories every day, the historic Washington Post is the informed choice of reading for Americans and the rest of the world as the race for the White House enters its final days.

And this year the battle to become America's 45th President has certainly not left the paper short of headlines as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump go head-to-head.

The Belfast Telegraph was given a tour of the Post's office in the capital. It was a rare insight into the high-speed mechanics of the news outlet that memorably broke the Watergate scandal, bringing down Richard Nixon in the process.

And in the midst of Trump's election-rigging allegations and FBI investigations into the use of Clinton's personal email server while in government, Washington Post senior political editor Steven Ginsberg gave his insight into the election, branding it "unusual" from the outset.

He said: "Something like 60-65% of Americans dislike both candidates. That, by nature, is very unusual. When you have an election you tend to elect the one you like.

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"We are at the high point of the cycle - it will get worse, no matter who wins. I don't think the other side will accept the legitimacy of either of them."

But what has it been like covering an election commanding the attention of the world, and sifting through the rhetoric to find the facts?

"It's been difficult, at times depressing, but mostly fun," he responded.

"Trump brings things to the table that you just don't normally get. Some of those are really ugly things, and they are things that need to be discussed and reported on and talked about.

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"He forces out constant conversation and if you are a reporter or editor it's great - you get to talk about things you don't normally talk about, with everyone paying attention."

Post deputy managing editor Tracy Grant questioned who would be able to hold either successful candidate to account.

She said: "I think one of the questions the whole email thing speaks to, is do people feel comfortable speaking truth to the power that is the Clinton family?

"And do you get listened to if you speak that truth to power?"

"The American dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as as much of a turn-on as his money."
On Barack Obama: "Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be at one of my courses. I would invite him, I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big."
"Everything in life is luck."
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
"If you're interested in balancing work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
"I just sold an apartment to China for $15million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them? I love China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In Trump Tower."
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They are bringing crime. They're rapists."
I will build a great wall - and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me and I'll build them very expensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn't know the air conditioner didn't work and sweated like dogs and they didn't know the room was too big because they didn't have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump mocks reporter Serge Kovaleski's disability. While waving his arms around he said: "Now the poor guy [Kovaleski] — you ought to see the guy: ‘Uhh I don’t know what I said. I don’t remember.’ He’s going, ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said."
Mr Trump told ABC's Good Morning America that banning Muslims was warranted because the US is essentially at war with Muslim extremists who have launched attacks including last week's shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14. "We are now at war," he said, adding: "We have a president who doesn't want to say that." "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump assures America he has no size issues during Republican presidential primary debate at Fox Theatre, Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (AP)
An protester against Donald Trump holds a burning T-shirt outside the Republican's rally in Albuquerque (AP)
After the Orlando nightclub mass shooting - the worst in American history - Donald Trump tweeted: "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart! "

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