Donald Trump sought to claim some credit for Indiana Governor Mike Pence's positively reviewed performance in yesterday's vice-presidential debate.

The GOP presidential nominee also tried to distance himself from Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom he has praised in the past and whom Pence criticised sharply in the debate.

"I'm getting a lot of credit because that's really my first so-called choice," Trump said of Pence at a rally here in the Las Vegas area. "That was my first hire."

Trump said the debate was a chance for the country to get an up-close view of "my judgment."

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"I'd argue that Mike had the single most decisive victory in the history of vice-presidential debates," he said.

Of Putin, Trump said, "I don't love, I don't hate. We'll see how it works."

In the vice-presidential debate, Pence called Putin "a small, bullying leader," a departure from the warmer rhetoric Trump has used to describe the Russian leader in the past.

During the rally, Trump threatened to sue the makers of a commercial that he said was attacking his positions on veterans. He did not specify which commercial he was talking about.

The nominee also alleged that Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has effectively accused police of "all being racist," though she has not said that.

He urged supporters to register to vote and turn out for him no matter what else is going on in their lives.

"I say kiddingly, but I mean it: I don't care how sick you are," Trump said. "I don't care if you just came back from the doctor and he gave you the worst possible prognosis - meaning it's over, you won't be around in two weeks. Doesn't matter. Hang out till November 8. Get out to vote."

The GOP nominee also put a more intense spin on an argument he has often advanced - that if he doesn't win, his entire campaign will have been a waste.

"If I don't win, this will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy in my lifetime by a factor of a hundred," he said.