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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Trump lawyer, citing emotions, apologizes for rape comment

A Republican presidential contender, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (center), had a well-documented bite to eat on a campaign stop Tuesday at Geno’s Steaks, one of Philadelphia’s fast-food institutions.
A Republican presidential contender, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (center), had a well-documented bite to eat on a campaign stop Tuesday at Geno’s Steaks, one of Philadelphia’s fast-food institutions.Matt Rourke/ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEWARK — An attorney for Republican presidential contender Donald Trump apologized Tuesday for making the incorrect assertion that ‘‘by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.’’

In a story published Monday night by the Daily Beast website, attorney Michael Cohen was quoted as threatening a reporter with legal action over a story looking into decades-old allegations reportedly made by Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, during their divorce proceedings.

‘‘I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,’’ Cohen was quoted as saying by the website, advising the reporter with whom he was speaking to tread very lightly or risk ‘‘disgusting’’ consequences.

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Cohen, whose e-mail signature identifies him as ‘‘executive vice president and special counsel’’ to the businessman and reality TV star, was answering questions about Ivana Trump using the word ‘‘rape’’ in a deposition to describe a 1989 sexual encounter with Donald Trump, which was first described in the 1993 book ‘‘Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.’’

In a statement, Cohen apologized for his comments.

‘‘As an attorney, husband, and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core,’’ Cohen said.

‘‘Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment — which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely.’’

Trump’s campaign also released a statement from Ivana Trump calling the story ‘‘totally without merit.’’

‘‘Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised three children that we love and are very proud of. I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign,’’ she said.

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Christie on 3-day N.H. tour

NEWPORT, N.H. — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Tuesday chided his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination for speaking in slogans rather than offering specifics on policies they’d pursue if elected to the White House next year.

‘‘Listen, we Republicans are as guilty of this as Democrats,’’ Christie said during a town hall-style meeting in New Hampshire. ‘‘Some of our candidates make these big, vague, general platitudes, they get big applause lines. And then, where’s the beef?’’

Christie’s comments came during a three-day swing through the early voting state, where a strong performance is seen as crucial to his presidential hopes. He has hosted 15 town hall-style meetings here, hoping to capitalize on the ideas the state’s voters expect to see and hear often from presidential contenders.

As he criticized the rest of the field for speaking broadly, Christie said he’s laid out policies on entitlement overhaul, education, and national security.

‘‘We have the most specific and detailed campaign in this election,’’ Christie said. ‘‘Unless we have some communists in the room who don’t want a greater America, I suspect we’re all for a greater America.’’

The slogan for businessman Donald Trump’s campaign is ‘‘Make America Great Again,’’ and several other candidates also reference improving the country in their campaign slogans. Christie didn’t use names on Tuesday, but he did criticize Trump’s presidential qualifications during a town hall meeting the night before in Keene.

Christie engaged with the New Hampshire crowd for roughly two hours, giving his audience a glimpse of his willingness to go head-to-head with people who don’t agree with him. One voter disagreed with Christie’s plan to raise the age of eligibility for Social Security.

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‘‘You can be angry about it, you can say it’s unfair and I would agree with both your anger and your characterization of unfairness. But guess what? This is what we’ve inherited,’’ he said. ‘‘You can either be mad at the person who’s having the conversation with you, or you can be mad at the people who refuse to have the conversation with you.’’

Another voter challenged Christie’s opposition to legalizing marijuana. Christie says that if elected president, he would begin enforcing federal marijuana laws in states such as Colorado that have legalized recreational use of the drug.

‘‘I don’t believe, in my experience in law enforcement, that it’s the right thing to do,’’ he told the woman who questioned why he is personally against legalization. ‘‘Other people can differ, but you have the right to know my opinion, and that’s my opinion.’’

Associated Press