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►  In book, Clinton admits mistakes, casts blame for 2016 loss

In a candid and pointed new book, Hillary Clinton relives her stunning defeat to Donald Trump, admitting to personal mistakes and defending campaign strategy even as her return to the stage refocuses attention on a race Democrats still can’t believe they lost.

Clinton is unsparing in her criticism of Trump and also lays out some of the factors she believes contributed to her loss: interference from Russian hackers, accusations leveled at her by former FBI Director James Comey, a divisive primary battle with Bernie Sanders, even her gender. She also addresses common criticisms of her campaign, including the idea that she didn’t have a compelling narrative for seeking the presidency and that she ignored Midwestern turf where Trump picked up enough white working-class voters to win several battleground states.

“Some critics have said that everything hinged on me not campaigning enough in the Midwest,” Clinton writes in the book “What Happened.” ″And I suppose it is possible that a few more trips to Saginaw or a few more ads on the air in Waukesha could have tipped a couple of thousand voters here or there.”

“But let’s set the record straight: we always knew that the industrial Midwest was crucial to our success, just as it had been for Democrats for decades, and contrary to the popular narrative, we didn’t ignore those states,” she wrote.

Clinton already is taking some criticism — complete with mockery from late-night television hosts — for planning book-tour stops in the Great Lakes and Midwestern states that ultimately cost her the election. But she writes that her campaign had more staff and spent more on advertising in both Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states she lost, than President Barack Obama did when he won them in 2012.

She acknowledges that “if there’s one place where we were caught by surprise, it was Wisconsin,” saying that polls showed her ahead until the end. But while she did not visit the state in the fall, she noted that her surrogates blanketed the state.

In Wisconsin, Democratic pollster Paul Maslin called it a “bitter irony” that Clinton is now trying to reach voters — or consumers — in states he believes her campaign mostly ignored. But he said it’s ultimately a side show from a has-been.

“Let her do whatever she’s going to do for whatever reason she’s doing it, but it doesn’t matter. There’s just so much else happening every day with Trump,” Maslin said. He said he hopes Clinton understands that “most Democrats are beyond” blaming her for November. “For her sake, I hope she can sell enough books, but if she thinks she’s affecting the debate in any way, I think she’s more delusional than anyone thought.”

Clinton’s anger is most sharply focused on Comey. She said that all of the theories about why she lost need “to be tested against the evidence that I was winning until October 28, when Jim Comey injected emails back into the election.”

She called her use of a private email server while serving at the State Department “dumb” but accused Comey of tarnishing her image and called him “rash” for publicly re-opening the probe in the campaign’s final days. She also owns up to other mistakes, saying her comment about putting coal miners out of business was the mistake “I regret the most” and that her paid speeches to Wall Street banks were bad “optics.”

Many Democrats have viewed Clinton’s return to the spotlight with trepidation, fearing it could trigger another round of infighting over the future of the party between her more centrist supporters and Sanders’ progressives.

Michigan Democratic Chairman Brandon Dillon, whose state Clinton lost by about 10,000 votes, said Clinton’s book can help Democrats try to “learn the right lessons from 2016.” But he said Democrats and other activists on the left should avoid using Clinton’s re-emergence to rehash 2016.

“There’s a clear difference between all Democrats and any of the Republicans. That’s what we should be focusing on,” Dillon said.

In a recent interview, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon argued that history will render a favorable verdict on Clinton and her approach to Trump.

“All of these things she tried to warn people about that were a theoretical concern ... now it’s real,” said Fallon. “He’s the president.”

In the book, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its release date, Clinton is unsparing in her assessment of the president, calling him “a clear and present danger to the country and the world.” She says she considered saying to Trump: “Back up, you creep. Get away from me” when he loomed over her shoulder during a general election debate.

But Clinton, who has a reputation for avoiding blame for her failures, said she takes “responsibility for all” of her campaign’s mistakes.

“You can blame the data, blame the message, blame anything you want—but I was the candidate,” she writes. “It was my campaign. Those were my decisions.”

She also expressed frustration over what she felt was unfair media coverage.

“What makes me such a lightning rod for fury? I’m really asking. I’m at a loss,” she asks her readers, before concluding: “I think it’s partly because I’m a woman.”


►  Del Toro’s ‘The Shape of Water’ wins Golden Lion at Venice

Guillermo del Toro’s monster thriller ‘The Shape of Water’ has won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion.

A jury led by American actress Annette Bening chose the film from among 21 competing at the 74th annual festival — an edition where the world’s social divisions and the specter of climate change resonated through many of the entries.

It beat contenders including George Clooney’s “Suburbicon” and Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.”

The runner-up Grand Jury Prize on Saturday went to Israeli director Samuel Maoz’ “Foxtrot.”

Palestinian actor Kamel El Basha and British actress Charlotte Rampling took the festival’s acting trophies.

The world’s oldest film festival wrapped up Saturday after 11 days that brought stars including Clooney, Matt Damon and Jennifer Lawrence to the canal-crossed Italian city.


►  Beyonce sheds tears as she visits victims of Harvey

Beyonce returned to her hometown of Houston to provide comfort to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, telling them, “This is a celebration of survival.”

Accompanied by her mother and former Destiny’s Child bandmate Michelle Williams, Beyonce visited with evacuees Friday at the St. John’s Church, where she grew up singing.

She wiped away tears as she listened to their stories, including from a family of 16 that fled to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and this time escaped their home through a picture window.

Beyonce told them, “The things that really matter are your health and your children, and your family and your life.”

Among the other celebrities who visited evacuees at shelters Friday were Janet Jackson, comedian Kevin Hart and actress Jennifer Garner.


►  Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry dies in helicopter crash

As one half of Montgomery Gentry, Troy Gentry — who died Friday in a helicopter crash — helped the country music duo become a successful act in the genre, launching countless hits, winning multiple awards and reaching platinum status throughout the 2000s.

Gentry, 50, was killed hours before the band was set to hit the stage — a second home for the singer and guitarist from Kentucky.

The helicopter carrying Gentry crashed in a wooded area near the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey, around 1 p.m. Friday. Montgomery Gentry was supposed to perform Friday in Medford.

Gentry was born on April 5, 1967 in Lexington, Kentucky, where he met bandmate Eddie Montgomery, known for his signature hat. Later, they formed a group based off their last names.

Montgomery Gentry had success on the country charts and country radio in the 2000s, scoring No. 1 hits with “Roll With Me,” ″Back When I Knew It All,” ″Lucky Man,” ″Something to Be Proud Of” and “If You Ever Stop Loving Me.” Some of the songs even cracked the Top 40 of the pop charts.

“Troy Gentry’s family wishes to acknowledge all of the kind thoughts and prayers, and asks for privacy at this time,” the statement read.

The band mixed country music with Southern rock and was known for their blue-collar anthems. They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2009 and into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2015.

Montgomery Gentry released their debut album, the platinum-seller “Tattoos & Scars,” in 1999. Two of their albums, “My Town” and “You Do Your Thing,” also achieved platinum status, while several of their albums were gold successes.

“We didn’t want to be an overnight success like acts that have one or two hits and then go away. We wanted the longevity like Waylon, Willie, Charlie, Cash, Kristofferson. All those cats; and they weren’t about No. 1 hits all the time,” Gentry said in a quote from the band’s website biography. “They had enough success with their music to be appreciated, to be able to play as long as they wanted to, and they did it the way they wanted to.”

Several country singers wrote touching words on social media about Gentry’s death on Friday, the same day country singer Don Williams died. Randy Houser called Friday a “sad day in country music,” while Brad Paisley tweeted: “God bless you Troy Gentry. Heartbroken and in disbelief.”

Montgomery Gentry’s latest album was 2015′s “Folks Like Us.” It featured the song “Two Old Friends,” which describes the longstanding bond between Montgomery and Gentry.


►  Country star Don Williams, ‘the Gentle Giant,’ dead at 78

Don Williams, an award-winning country singer with love ballads like “I Believe in You,” has died. He was 78.

A statement from his publicist Kirt Webster said he died Friday after a short illness.

Williams had 17 No. 1 hits before retiring in 2016. His mellow sound influenced a later generation of singers including Joe Nichols and Josh Turner and Keith Urban has said Williams drew him to country music.

Williams, nicknamed “the Gentle Giant,” had a rich voice, gentle delivery and storytelling style. He toured sparingly, did few media interviews and spent much of his time on his farm west of Nashville.

“It’s one of those blessings and curses kind of things,” Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1994.“If you have the talent, it’s a blessing. But there’s times that ... a lot of the prices that you have to pay to be a part of it is a curse. But as far as ... the way people have responded to what I’ve done, there’s very few things in my life that I’ve done that come anywhere close to making you feel exhilarated and humbled and fulfilled and challenged and all that, all at the same time.”

His hits included “I Believe in You,” ″Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” ″You’re My Best Friend,” ″Some Broken Hearts Never Mend,” ″Till the Rivers All Run Dry” and “Back in My Younger Days.” At least one duet with Emmylou Harris made the charts, “If I Needed You” in 1981.

He was also popular overseas, touring in Europe and Africa and charting on British charts. Eric Clapton recorded his “We’re More Than Friends” and Pete Townshend redid his “Til the Rivers All Run Dry.”

“Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, in a statement Friday. “His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant.”

He won the Country Music Association’s awards for best male vocalist and best single for “Tulsa Time” in 1978.

During his performances, he often walked onstage carrying a cup of coffee, sat on a barstool, sang and chatted amiably with the audience.

Williams also appeared in the movies “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings” and “Smokey and the Bandit II.”

“Farewell, the great Don Williams,” said Rosanne Cash on Twitter and quoted from “Good Ole Boys Like Me”: “‘Those Williams boys, they still mean a lot to me/ Hank & Tennessee.’ & Don, too.”

“One of the greatest to ever sing a country song,” wrote Rodney Atkins on Twitter. “I can’t write a song without thinking about Don Williams songs. #RIPDonWilliams.”

He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010, but missed the ceremony because he had bronchitis. His last studio album came out in 2014 and he was the subject of a tribute album this year that included performances of his hits by Lady Antebellum, Garth Brooks and Chris Stapleton.

Williams was born in Floydada, Texas, and spent the early part of his career in rock, country and folk groups. He was a founding member of the Pozo Seco Singers, then started a solo career in 1971. His first No. 1 hit was “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me” and 42 of his 46 singles landed on the top 10 from 1974 to 1991.


►  Lady Gaga says she’s taking a ‘rest’ from music after tour

Lady Gaga says that she’s planning to take a “rest” from music and “slow down for a moment for some healing.”

The pop star was at in Toronto on Friday for a pair of concerts and to premiere a Netflix documentary about herself, “Gaga: Five Foot Two.” The film, playing at the Toronto International Film Festival, chronicles her life, February’s Super Bowl performance and her struggle with chronic pain.

Gaga teared up speaking to reporters about her health issues. “It’s hard,” she said, “but it’s liberating too.”

She later told The Associated Press that she will finish her current tour, which runs through December, and then take some time for herself.

“When this tour is over I will take a little downtime from myself, and then I’ll get back to doing what I love,” she said. “I’m never not making music. I’m never not creating. I just am excited to spend some time reflecting on that past ten years and getting excited about what I want to create next.”

The singer said at the earlier press conference that she’ll still be creating during a break from music. “It doesn’t mean I don’t have some things up my sleeve,” said Gaga.

Gaga recently shot a remake of “A Star is Born,” co-starring Bradley Cooper.


►  ‘It’ floats away with record-breaking $117.2 million weekend

‘It’ is a hit.

The Stephen King adaptation from New Line and Warner Bros. shattered records over the weekend earning $117.2 million from 4,103 locations according to studio estimates on Sunday.

Not only is “It” now the largest ever opening for a horror movie and the largest September opening of all time, the film more than doubled the earnings of the previous record holders. Before this weekend “Paranormal Activity 3” had the biggest horror opening with $52.6 million from 2011, and the highest September debut was “Hotel Transylvania 2′s” $48.5 million in 2015.

“We blew past everyone’s most optimistic and aggressive projections and I think there might be room for us to grow this weekend even still,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution.

Goldstein said he was conservative with Sunday projections due to the confounding factors of the film’s R-rating, the popularity of late night showings, the beginning of football season and Hurricane Irma.

Regardless of whether there is an uptick when final numbers are reported Monday, “It’s” success is still astounding, especially considering that the project from director Andy Muschietti cost only $35 million to produce.

Critics and audiences were on the same page, too. The film has a fresh 86-percent Rotten Tomatoes score, and audiences, who were 65 percent over age 25, gave “It” a B+ CinemaScore.

Starring Bill Skarsgard as the homicidal clown Pennywise, “It” is the first of a planned two-part series. The second is slated to come out in the third quarter of 2019.

“It starts with a brilliant story from Stephen King,” Goldstein said of the stellar performance. “The director made a fabulously compelling movie, our marketing just nailed it and the date was special.”

Indeed, the date proved key. With no discernable competition, save for the counter programmed opening of the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy “Home Again,” which came in a very distant second with $9 million, “It” was able to dominate screens and show times at major movie theaters.

“I don’t think anyone could have imagined an opening over $100 million for this movie,” comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said. “Suddenly September is on the map with its first $100 million debut. Every month of the year is a potential hit-maker and this is really good news for an industry that for the last six weeks has been in the doldrums.”

“It” is just the latest example of a film that defies old box office logic about which timeframes work for tent-pole movies. Before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” no December movie had ever opened over $100 million, for instance, and the same went for the month of February until “Deadpool” proved that to be antiquated thinking as well.

The success of “It” also comes after an underperforming summer movie going season that left the year to date box office down 6.5 percent from last year. Now, with the “It” factor, the year is down only 5.5 percent

“There has been a lot written about the demise of the box office. This seems to come up every few years and it’s all content driven. If there are good movies that are out there in the marketplace, the public will embrace them and be excited to see them. If we come up with movies they are not interested in, they stay away,” Goldstein said. “This is a movie they wanted to see.”

The overwhelming dominance of “It” made the rest of the charts look downright anemic. In third place was “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” with $4.9 million, “Annabelle: Creation” took fourth with $4 million, and “Wind River” rounded out the top five with $3.2 million.

But a monster hit like “It” does have the potential to affect the box office on the whole, potentially spurring movie going momentum.

“It’s a cyclical business. One day it’s Chicken Little and the next it’s bright sunny days ahead,” Dergarabedian said. “September will be the August we wish we had. We could be looking at a record-breaking month after an abysmal summer.”

Next week, Paramount debuts Darren Aronofsky’s psychological horror “mother!” starring Jennifer Lawrence, which could benefit from the glow of “It,” or get dragged into the sewer with the rest of the competition.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. “It,” $117.2 million ($62 million international).

2.“Home Again,” $9 million ($955,000 international).

3.“The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” $4.9 million ($7.9 million international).

4.“Annabelle: Creation,” $4 million ($8.6 million international).

5.“Wind River,” $3.2 million ($1.2 million international).

6.“Leap!” $2.5 million.

7.“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” $2 million ($71.8 million international).

8.“Dunkirk,” $2 million ($13.5 million international).

9.“Logan Lucky,” $1.8 million ($1.7 million international).

10.“The Emoji Movie,” $1.1 million ($5.7 million international).

___

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:

1. “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” $71.8 million.

2. “It,” $62 million.

3. “Dunkirk,” $13.5 million.

4. “Annabelle: Creation,” $8.6 million.

5. “American Made,” $8.1 million.

6. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” $7.9 million.

7. “Memoir of a Murder,” $7.4 million.

8. “Despicable Me 3,” $6.2 million.

9. “The Emoji Movie,” $5.7 million.

10. “A Silent Voice,” $5 million.

___

Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC.

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