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Donald Trump expressed regret on Thursday for remarks that "may have caused personal pain" as he sought to refocus his message in the face of falling opinion poll numbers in his first speech since a shake-up in his campaign this week.
"Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing," the Republican presidential nominee told a crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina. "I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues."
Trump has made his "tough talk" and brash style a selling point of his campaign for the Nov. 8 election, rarely apologizing even in the face of criticism for past remarks from within his own party.
Trump recently faced a barrage of criticism when he attacked the family of a fallen Muslim American soldier. Khizr Khan, the father of Army Captain Humayun Khan who died in Iraq in 2004, had criticized Trump at the Democratic National Convention last month.
Facing a polling deficit against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Trump has tried to reset his campaign, announcing on Wednesday a shake-up of his senior campaign staff. In the past week, Trump has abandoned his free-wheeling style of campaigning, instead using a teleprompter at every rally.
Trump's new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, promised on Thursday the volatile Republican presidential candidate would stick to a more disciplined and uplifting message to voters in the final dash to Election Day without crimping his freewheeling style.
Conway said the candidate's White House bid could preserve his "authenticity" and still move past a long string of controversies to focus on issues.
"We would like to take an uplifting, optimistic, policy-centric message directly to the American people," Conway told CBS's "This Morning" show, adding she was confident the former reality television star could stick to a sharper message.
Trump, Pence to tour flood ravaged Louisiana
Trump will tour the flood damage in ravaged Louisiana Friday.
A campaign official familiar with the plans says the GOP nominee and his running mate Mike Pence will travel to the state on Friday.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plans before they were officially announced.
At least 13 people have died as a result of the flooding, and at one point 11,000 were in shelters.
Trump said at a rally Thursday that his prayers are with the people affected.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.