4TH LEAD Trump and Clinton make last pitches hours before polls open


4TH LEAD Trump and Clinton make last pitches hours before polls open
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016 photos. At times it has seemed as though this presidential campaign was occurring in some alternate universe. Up is down, no means yes, day is night. Trump’s tweets, speeches, interviews, debate statements, news conferences and off-the-cuff remarks _ that is, pretty much every utterance made during his waking hours _ have been a source of hyperbole at hyper-speed. His misstatements have been so ubiquitous that Clinton’s slippery words often slithered right on by unnoticed. (AP Photo)

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump campaigned into the early hours of Tuesday in a last pitch to US voters as the final minutes of this presidential campaign tick away.

The focus of the final rallies was on the swing states such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania which hold the keys to the presidency.

A year and a half after announcing her candidacy for president, Clinton is favoured by pollsters to win the White House on Tuesday.

“It’s not just my name or Donald Trump’s name on the ballot, it’s the kind of country we want,” she said at the midnight rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she was joined by her family and pop star Lady Gaga.

Speaking at his last campaign rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a state where Trump hopes to convince white working class voters, he told the supporters: “Today is our independence day.”

“We are finally going to close the history books on the Clintons, their lives, their schemes, their corruptions,” he said.

Earlier Clinton was in Philadelphia, the largest city in the state of Pennsylvania, where her party convened in July to nominate her. At an outdoor rally alongside President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, she urged people to turn out Tuesday and vote for her.

“Let’s show tomorrow there will be no question about the outcome of this election,” she said.

Clinton pledged to be a president for all Americans, not just those who support her and spoke of the need to “bridge the divide” after the election.

The last day of campaigning before the election wrapped up a political rollercoaster that featured months of hostility, including accusations against Trump over his treatment of women and against Clinton over her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

At an appearance in Florida, Trump declared he would win a slew of swing states as well as long-time Democratic strongholds, like Michigan and Minnesota.

“It’s time to reject the media and liberal elite that has bled our country dry. It’s finally time for us to fight for America,” Trump said.

Both candidates also made direct appeals to voters in unusually long two-minute television ads scheduled to run during prime time evening television programming.

Speaking directly to the camera, Clinton vowed to work her heart out as president “to make things better for you and your family.”

“Tonight I’m asking for your vote, and tomorrow let’s make history together,” said Clinton, who would be the United States’ first woman president if she defeats Trump on Tuesday.

Trump, in his ad, pledges to “take back this country for you,” asserting that the government is a “failed and corrupt political establishment.”

He says he wants to replace that establishment with a new government “controlled by you the American people.”

Obama also criss-crossed the country for Clinton, including shoring up support in Michigan, a traditional Democratic stronghold that Trump hopes to nab.

The president sees the election in part as a vote on his legacy, declaring “all that progress goes down the drain if we don’t win tomorrow” and calling Trump “uniquely unqualified” to be president.

The race has tightened in recent days, but Clinton is still considered the favourite, with more paths to the 270 out of 538 electoral college votes needed to win. She holds a slim 2-percentage-point lead in an average of national opinion surveys.

The race is also narrow in the battleground states, but she would need to win fewer of those states than Trump to triumph. The ultimate winner will be determined based on so-called electoral college votes awarded to the winner of each state, rather than to the most popular candidate nationwide.