Race narrowing, Trump tries to focus in the final stretch
Election Day in sight, Donald Trump tried anew for the discipline and restraint that has eluded him for months, hoping not to waste a burst of momentum that has him closing on Hillary Clinton. Clinton and her allies, meanwhile, are doing their best to trip up Trump.
The candidates were taking their tussle to Florida and North Carolina yesterday, two linchpins in Trump's plan to take the White House. With just days before election day,
the unconventional Republican candidate was hewing closer to convention, running some upbeat ads, bringing out his wife for a rare campaign appearance and trying, publicly, not to veer off-message.
"'Stay on point, Donald. Stay on point,'" Trump teasingly quoted his staff as saying, as he campaigned on Wednesday in Florida. "No sidetracks, Donald. Nice and easy. Nice and easy.'"
Melania Trump campaigned in a suburb of Philadelphia on Thursday, her first turn on the trail since the Republican convention in July. The former model is trying to counter the Clinton campaign's pounding attacks on her husband as anti-woman, a strategy Democrats see as the best hope for rattling him and driving female voters away from him.
In excerpts of Melania Trump's prepared remarks, distributed by the campaign, she said, "I come here today to talk about my husband, Donald, and his deep love and respect for this country and all of its people. ... And I have come here today to talk about our partnership, our family and what I know for sure in my heart about this man, who will make America great again."
CLINTON'S HEFTY LEAD TRIMMED
Clinton stuck with the sharp-edged closing argument as polls showed her once-hefty lead noticeably trimmed in recent days. News that the FBI is reviewing her close aide's emails appears to have revived questions about her trustworthiness just as many late-deciding voters were making up their minds.
Clinton's campaign has responded by trying to keep the spotlight on Trump, and speci-fically his history of vulgar and disparaging statements about women, minorities and people with disabilities.
President Barack Obama was campaigning in Florida yesterday as Clinton headed to North Carolina for rallies in Raleigh and Winterville. Michelle Obama, who has made a powerful pitch to women, is also expected to be on the trail for Clinton before Tuesday.
Trump cannot win the election without carrying Florida, a fact that highlights how narrow his path to the White House is.
"We don't want to blow this," he told rowdy supporters in Miami. "We gotta win. We gotta win big."