Clinton upbeat for sprint to finish line

2016-11-07 23:07
Hillary Clinton. (AFP)

Hillary Clinton. (AFP)

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Pittsburgh - Hillary Clinton vowed to be a president for all Americans as she made an upbeat closing pitch to voters on Monday, with rock star power propelling her in the final showdown with Donald Trump.

"I have some work to bring the country together," the Democratic nominee told reporters as she boarded a flight for the first of four final-day rallies, in Pittsburgh, a Democratic bastion in Pennsylvania.

A smiling Clinton, dressed in red, was chatting on the phone to her two-year-old granddaughter as she set off from Westchester airport, near her home in New York state, on the 2 000-mile sprint that will wrap up in the wee hours of Election Day.

Clinton spoke freely with the traveling press on board the Boeing 757 - emblazoned with an "H" and the slogan "Stronger Together" - that has been her second home since September.

She couldn't refrain from a jab at her Republican rival whose campaign, she said, had exacerbated painful divisions in American society.

But the overall tone was resolutely upbeat: "I really do want to be the president for everybody -- people who vote for me, people who vote against me."

Philadelphia blow-out

Clinton's final-day push heads from Pittsburgh to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Trump is a threat.

Then it's back to Pennsylvania for a Philadelphia blowout rally Monday night: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle will both be there, with rockers Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi headlining.

She winds up with a midnight rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, another key battleground, before returning to her home in Chappaqua, near New York City, for Election Day.

"We are all working our hearts out in the final sprint," Clinton said this weekend night at a get-out-the vote concert in Philadelphia with Katy Perry. "We need your help!"

Making her closing address to Americans on the eve of the vote, the Democratic nominee pledged as president to unify a country divided by one of the bitterest campaigns in its history.

'Make history together'

"I think we can all agree, it's been a long campaign," Clinton says in a two-minute video message set to air Monday night during prime-time shows "The Voice and "Kevin Wait" -- reaching an estimated 20 million viewers.

"Our core values are being tested in this election," she says, an uplifting piano trilling in the background, before reaching out with the same promise of inclusiveness she is expected to repeat on the stump all day Monday.

"I want to be a president for all Americans," she said. "I will work my heart out as president to make life better for you and your family."

"So tonight I'm asking for your vote and tomorrow let's make history together."

The final flurry has highlighted the contrast between the two candidates, with the bombastic Trump hoping a mega blitz of rallies will generate enough fireworks to put him over the top in a close race.

Clinton is known for her calibrated approach and attention to detail. She has planned her whistle-stops methodically, despite recent polls showing her losing the edge over Trump.

A snapshot from the weekend shows her steady drive to capture the White House.

Steady drive

Clinton returned home before midnight Sunday. On time.

At the same time, Trump was racing through the night time skies on his Boeing 757, running two and a half hours late for his fifth and final rally Sunday, in Virginia.

In these final hours on the stump, Clinton's campaign plane is packed full.

The candidate rides up front, behind a curtain. Her close circle of advisers joins her, including confidant Cheryl Mills and the man who played Trump during Clinton's debate preparations, Philippe Reines.

Some of them venture into the rear of the cabin, where the media are seated.

Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri was the first to come back to announce, in mid-flight Sunday, the welcome news that the FBI reaffirmed its decision not to file charges against Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Telegenic venues

From airport to airport, the Clinton caravan of dozens of people - heavily armed Secret Service agents, aides, journalists - has spent 72 hours crisscrossing states, from the skyscrapers of Philadelphia and the steel bridges of Pittsburgh to the palm trees of Miami and the American football stadium in Cleveland.

Clinton's crowds are smaller than Trump's, but her campaign team carefully stages the venues to create telegenic events.

The Republican former reality TV star knows how to work the crowds at his rallies in 10 000-seat sport stadiums and airport hangars.

For Clinton, it was in a small market, topped with a metal and glass roof and draped with flags, that she drew 4 000 supporters in Detroit Friday, under a setting sun.

"I learned a long time ago from my late mother, anger is not a plan," she told them, denouncing Trump's campaign tirades.

"Be angry, vent about it, and then roll up your sleeves and get to work."

Read more on:    hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

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