Clin­ton tries to keep fo­cus on her op­po­nent

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Heidi M. Przy­byla @Hei­diPrzy­byla USA TO­DAY

PHILADEL­PHIA Hillary Clin­ton is end­ing her his­toric White House bid by ar­gu­ing that it is Don­ald Trump’s can­di­dacy that is truly un­prece­dented.

From Ne­vada to North Carolina and Florida to Michi­gan, the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee is ask­ing Amer­i­cans to “imag­ine” what it would be like to have the real es­tate bil­lion­aire oc­cupy the Oval Of­fice be­gin­ning in Jan­uary.

“This is one of those make-or­break mo­ments for the United States,” Clin­ton told a cou­ple thou­sand sup­port­ers Fri­day night at Heinz Field in Pitts­burgh. “Imag­ine,” she said, that on In­au­gu­ra­tion Day, “it is Don­ald Trump stand­ing in front of the Capi­tol.”

In the fi­nal days of the cam­paign, Clin­ton’s clos­ing ar­gu­ment is less about the finer points of her pol­icy pro­pos­als and more that Nov. 8 amounts to a ref­er­en­dum on the “dark” and “di­vi­sive” vi­sion of Trump.

Clin­ton has sought to keep the fo­cus on Trump’s neg­a­tives in the cam­paign’s clos­ing days, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing the FBI’s sur­prise an­nounce­ment late last month that it was re­view­ing ad­di­tional emails po­ten­tially re­lated to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the former sec­re­tary of State’s pri­vate server. On Sun­day, how­ever, FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey in­formed law­mak­ers that af­ter re­view­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the bu­reau was not chang­ing its con­clu­sions from July that no crim­i­nal charges should be filed.

“Ba­sic hu­man de­cency is on the bal­lot Nov. 8.” Katie McGinty, the Penn­syl­va­nia Demo­cratic can­di­date for Se­nate

“We’re glad that this mat­ter is re­solved,” Clin­ton com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Jen­nifer Palmieri told re­porters aboard the cam­paign’s plane Sun­day.

Trump, the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee says, de­means women and mi­nori­ties; mocks peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties; owes hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to for­eign banks; would bring back “trickle-down economics” ben­e­fit­ing the rich; has a hot tem­per that could start a nu­clear war; and might not re­spect the demo­cratic tra­di­tion of hon­or­ing the elec­tion out­come.

Her sur­ro­gates are also lay­ing out the stakes: “Ba­sic hu­man de­cency is on the bal­lot Nov. 8,” Katie McGinty, the Penn­syl­va­nia Demo­cratic can­di­date for Se­nate, said at a Philadel­phia con­cert Satur­day night.

The strat­egy of go­ing on of­fense caps a cam­paign that’s taken per­sonal in­sults to a new low and fea­tures can­di­dates who are highly un­pop­u­lar by his­tor­i­cal stan­dards.

De­spite a con­ven­tion in July in Philadel­phia that em­pha­sized her biog­ra­phy of help­ing chil­dren and fam­i­lies and that im­proved her fa­vor­a­bil­ity num­bers — they re­main around 46% as of late Oc­to­ber, around 20 points lower than Barack Obama’s in Novem­ber 2008.

Hence hit­ting Trump is prob­a­bly a more ef­fec­tive means of turn­ing out core Demo­cratic vot­ers — es­pe­cially African Amer­i­cans and Mil­len­ni­als — than try­ing to ex­cite them about the specifics of her ideas.

The race is tight­en­ing in the home­stretch of the cam­paign, both na­tion­ally and in battlegrounds like New Hamp­shire, where Trump ap­pears to have erased Clin­ton’s ear­lier ad­van­tage.

The cam­paign says a new “Clin­ton Coali­tion” is be­gin­ning to take shape — and it in­cludes large num­bers of Lati­nos, Asians, sub­ur­ban women, African Amer­i­cans and Mil­len­ni­als. These groups, said cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook, amount to a “fire­wall against a Trump vic­tory.”

Clin­ton is main­tain­ing her lead in most of the states she would need to reach the 270 elec­toral votes needed to win, in­clud­ing Virginia, Colorado and across much of the Rust Belt.

“The map has been con­sis­tent for us,” cam­paign chair­man John Podesta told re­porters Fri­day aboard Clin­ton’s cam­paign plane.

Yet their con­cerns, par­tic­u­larly about African-Amer­i­can turnout and main­tain­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s win­ning coali­tion, are clear. Clin­ton is jet­ting to Michi­gan, a state that had been con­sid­ered safe, twice in the fi­nal days of her sprint.

She spent her evenings in re­cent days at large ral­lies head­lined by pop stars, in­clud­ing Phar­rell Wil­liams in North Carolina, Bey­once and Jay-Z in Cleve­land and Katy Perry in Philadel­phia.

“The race will come down to African-Amer­i­can voter in­ten­sity in Philly, Cleve­land, Char­lotte, and Mi­ami,” said David Pa­le­ol­o­gos, di­rec­tor of the Suf­folk Univer­sity Po­lit­i­cal Re­search Cen­ter.

“The race will come down to African-Amer­i­can voter in­ten­sity in Philly, Cleve­land, Char­lotte, and Mi­ami.” David Pa­le­ol­o­gos, di­rec­tor of the Suf­folk Univer­sity Po­lit­i­cal Re­search Cen­ter.


Hillary Clin­ton calls elec­tion a make-or-break mo­ment for U.S.


Hillary Clin­ton speaks Satur­day in Pem­broke Pines, Fla.


Hillary Clin­ton ap­pears on stage with Katy Perry dur­ing a getout-the-vote con­cert on Nov. 5, 2016, in Philadel­phia.

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