Clinton Aims High, Trump Goes Hard in Closing Push

The final-days scramble highlighted sharp differences between the campaigns in a turbulent 2016 campaign season

Hillary Clinton aimed to hit high notes Sunday in the final moments of her campaign, hoping an uplifting message would wash away voters' disgust with the grueling presidential contest. Donald Trump vowed he and his supporters would never quit, as he charged into unexpected territory. 

Clinton preached at a black church in north Philadelphia, telling the congregation that Tuesday's election was a moment to choose "hopes over fear, unity over division and love over hate." She promised to continue the policies of President Barack Obama and accused the Trump of trying to destroy Obama's legacy. 

"I personally believe we have come too far to turn back now," she said. "If we come together with the common vision, common faith, we will find common ground." 

The candidates embarked on one of their final tours of battleground states, shifting to their closing arguments to weary voters deeply divided along racial, economic and gender lines. 

Trump, meanwhile, planned a marathon day on the campaign trail, with stops in five states, including Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania — states that have long proven unfriendly territory for Republican presidential candidates. But buoyed by a late surge of momentum, Trump's campaign believes its loyal, white working-class voters will deliver an upset on Tuesday.

The New York businessman started his day in Sioux City, Iowa, where he pounded Clinton as a corrupt, insider politician. He repeated his unsubstantiated claim that the FBI will soon have "more than enough evidence" to secure criminal indictments against her. 

Trump appeared to be referring to a discredited Fox News report that claimed Clinton would likely be indicted as a result of an investigation by the FBI into the Clinton Foundation. The network later apologized for the inaccurate report, calling it a mistake. 

"Will our country be governed by the people or will it be governed by the corrupt political elites?" he asked. "Hillary Clinton is the candidate of yesterday." 

With national polls showing her retaining an edge, Clinton enlisted allies and A-listers for help at stops in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire. She planned to campaign with Cavaliers star LeBron James in Cleveland, and rally voters in Manchester with Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father whose indictment of Trump delivered an emotional high point for Democrats. 

Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters Sunday that Trump planned to keep up the breakneck campaign pace through Election Day. After voting in New York, Trump was expected to return to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and New Hampshire later in the day, Conway said. 

Tension ran high in the final days. Trump was rushed off stage Saturday night at rally in Reno, Nevada, after someone near the stage had shouted "Gun!," according to the Secret Service. The agency said a search revealed no weapon. 

Trump returned a few minutes later to resume his remarks and declared, "We will never be stopped." 

The Republican candidate's son and top campaign adviser later retweeted the false rumor that the incident was an "assassination attempt." 

Asked about the misinformation, Conway didn't apologize and said Trump's son was acting out of worry. She also claimed on CNN's "State of the Union" that the protester had been a "Democratic plant or operative."

The protester, Austyn Crites, says he is a 33-year-old registered Republican who supports Clinton this election and has never met with Clinton or her campaign. He says he was attacked by Trump supporters and heard someone else yell something about a gun. 

Trump also was facing criticism for a new ad that asserts the "establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election" and features photos of billionaire George Soros, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, all of whom are Jewish. The National Jewish Democratic Council said the ad's use of anti-Semitic stereotypes is "shocking and dangerous."

The Clinton campaign says it is focusing on securing its firewall in the West and upper Midwest. Clinton started her day with the largely African American congregation of Mount Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. And President Barack Obama planned to rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Monday before joining Clinton for a rally in Philadelphia that evening. 

Critical in both states is African American turnout. Black clergy were taking to the pulpits in a "Souls to the Poll" campaign to energize black voters, after early vote data shows some signs of diminished turnout.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the campaign believes if Clinton wins Nevada and Michigan, she "is going to be the next president of the United States."

At least 41 million Americans across 48 states have already cast ballots, according to an Associated Press analysis. That's significantly more votes four days before Election Day than voted early in the 2012.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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