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Trump pressing into Democratic territory in final days

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump held up 6-month-old Catalina Larkin, of Largo, Fla., during a campaign rally today in Tampa, Fla.

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. >> Fighting as a party of one, Donald Trump vowed Saturday to press into Democratic strongholds over the campaign’s final days as Hillary Clinton looked to an army of A-list celebrities and politicos to defend her narrowing path to the presidency.

The divisive Republican outsider conceded he was largely on his own — even as he promised to march into Minnesota, a state that hasn’t backed a GOP presidential nominee in more than four decades.

“Hillary Clinton has all of these celebrities and failed politicians out campaigning for her,” a defiant Trump declared in North Carolina, one of four battleground states he was visiting on Saturday. “I just have me, but I have my family.”

Responding to Trump’s push, Democrat Clinton announced plans to devote valuable attention to Michigan, another unlikely battleground where both she and President Obama planned to campaign on Monday.

The Democratic nominee faced dark skies Saturday in Florida, fighting intense rain and wind in a key battleground state before a Pennsylvania appearance with pop singer Katy Perry. Clinton was preparing to campaign Sunday with basketball superstar Lebron James, having shared the stage the night before with music diva Beyoncé and hip hop mogul husband Jay Z.

“Tonight, I want to hear you roar,” a smiling Clinton said before introducing Perry for a Saturday night performance in Philadelphia.

Perry, who hugged Clinton while wearing a purple cape bearing the words, “I’m with Madam President,” shouted, “In three days, let’s make history!”

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

Backed by President Barack Obama and her party’s political elite, Clinton spent much of the last year fighting to unify Obama’s coalition of minorities and younger voters, aided at times by Trump’s deep unpopularity among women in both parties.

Trump has courted working-class white voters on the strength of his own celebrity, having scared off many would-be Republican allies during a campaign marred by extraordinary gaffes and self-created crises. Just four weeks ago, a video emerged in which a married Trump admitted to kissing women and grabbing their genitalia without their permission.

Even with the damaging video, Clinton faced extraordinary challenges of her own in recent days after the FBI confirmed plans to renew its focus on the former secretary of state’s email practices. The development is seen as particularly threatening for Clinton in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire that don’t offer early voting.

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.

House Speaker Paul Ryan campaigned Saturday alongside Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence — a rare show of unity, but not with Trump himself.

The speaker encouraged Republicans to “come home” to support Trump in Ryan’s home-state Wisconsin, ignoring for a day his icy relationship with the Republican nominee.

Trump has frustrated party leaders in many ways, particularly by ignoring the hard work that fuels most successful modern-day campaigns.

The Republican outsider has done little to collect data on prospective supporters. He has no significant staffing presence on the ground in key states. And he has been unwilling to invest in a major advertising campaign to keep pace with his Democratic rival.

Clinton’s campaign has spent more than $267 million in television advertising through Election Day. Trump, who claims a net worth of roughly $10 billion, has invested $93 million, according to data collected by Kantar Media.

His entire campaign strategy has hinged on an aggressive schedule packed with massive rallies. The path of his luxury campaign jet has been fueled by somewhat risky ambition at times, however.

Rather than hunkering down in must-win Florida this weekend, Trump flew Saturday to Democratic-leaning territory: Wilmington, North Carolina, then Reno, Nevada, and Denver. And as defiant as ever, he promised to make subsequent appearances in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota.

Minnesota hasn’t cast its electoral votes for a Republican since 1972. A Republican nominee hasn’t won Michigan or Pennsylvania since 1988.

“We’re going into what they used to call Democrat strongholds, where we’re now either tied or leading,” he said in Florida.

Later in the day in North Carolina appearance, he mocked Clinton’s schedule: “She doesn’t have what it takes to do rallies all over the place. She wants to go home and go to sleep.”

Trump may not have Clinton’s celebrities, but he has relied on his family for public support at times.

On Saturday, he made a rare campaign stop with his wife, Melania Trump, whose appearance came as The Associated Press revealed more details about her early employment in the U.S.

The AP found that Melania Trump was paid for modeling jobs in the United States worth $20,056 that occurred in the seven weeks before she had legal permission to work in the country, according to detailed accounting ledgers, contracts and related documents from 20 years ago.

While showering his wife with affection, Trump also boasted Saturday that he doesn’t need stars to fill his venues.

He campaigned Saturday with retired football coach Lou Holtz and actor Joe Piscopo. An event with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that was scheduled for Saturday was canceled after two of his top aides were found guilty Friday on all counts for their roles in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.

“We do it the old-fashioned way,” Trump said.

———

Peoples reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Wilmington, North Carolina, Kathleen Hennessey in Washington and David Eggert in Holland, Michigan, contributed to this report.

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    • If Trump triumphs, Felony-Shrillary may soon find herself in government accommodations that Mark Twain once called “strong lodgings”.

      The damage this nasty piece of jailbait did at State to our national security dwarfs that done by Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and, one may recall, they were both transferred to Sing Sing 63 years ago to take a ride on Old Sparky.

  • So what if the AP found that Melania Trump was paid for modeling jobs in the United States worth $20,056 that occurred in the seven weeks before she had legal permission to work in the country? There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Millions of them are employed and being paid illegally. Democrats have no problem with this. In fact, Obama and his Democrat co-conspirators want to make the illegals legal with so-called “comprehensive immigrant reform” which is a politically correct name for amnesty. Melania Trump may have been paid for modeling jobs before she had permission to work in the county, but she was here LEGALLY.

      • Correct. And her citizenship application had to have been falsified also.

        So undocumented workers are OK with Mr. Trump, provided that they are pretty white women.

    • She was not here legally if she (obviously) lied on her visa application and subsequent applications for citizenship – which she would had to do if she illegally worked. Can you not understand something so simple in the law?

      • Klastri, I do not need you to tell me that it is illegal for someone to work in the US if they enter with a visitor’s visa. If Melania did, it is one strike against her. We have more than 11 million people in the United States who entered illegally. Strike one against them. Millions of them are working here. Strike two. Why do Democrats now want to pile on Melania Trump with one alleged strike and give a pass to millions of people with two strikes against them? What ever legal problem Melania potentially might have will be a non-issue when she is pardoned by President Trump.

  • Showing his true colors, Trump has just aired his final television ad, and it’s a repulsively anti-Semitic ad. His anti-Semitism couldn’t be more blatant if he waved a copy of The Protocols Of Zion. Does he really think that there are still undecided neo-Nazis out there who need to be reminded who represents them?

    • Wow. You’re really becoming desperate, peddling this twaddle with only three days left to go. Then again since Big Mo is clearly shifting to triumphant Trump, your panic is probably justified.

  • Why?Because even if he wins Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, Utah, North Carolina, Florida and New Hampshire, he’s still short of a victory.

    He’s not assured to win any of those states, to be clear — although he’s a clear favorite in Iowa and Utah at this point. He has trailed in more live interview polls of North Carolina and Florida than he has led, although the national race has tightened since many were taken.

    But he would still need to win one of the following states: Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Virginia, or perhaps New Mexico or Minnesota.

    Of all of these states, the only one where Mr. Trump has really been close in the polls is Nevada.

    But Nevada is also the state where we know the most about the results because of early voting, and it hasn’t brought good news for Mr. Trump. Early voting, via the Latino and Asian vote, has HRC clearly ahead…..NYT

    Bye bye cricket crew….

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