Clinton Stumps in Pennsylvania for Herself and Senateby
Candidates focus on battleground states, get-out-vote efforts
Race in its final weeks with Trump trying to reverse slide
Hillary Clinton made the case for herself in the presidential race against Donald Trump during rallies in Pennsylvania, and in a sign of her campaign’s increasing outreach, also made a pitch for the efforts by Democrats to gain control of the Senate.
Rising in the polls in Pennsylvania, Clinton spoke at length on behalf of Katie McGinty, the Democrat challenging Republican Senator Pat Toomey, saying the former environmental official would better represent the people of the state and oppose special interests.
“He still refuses to stand up to Donald Trump,’’ Clinton said of Toomey. “A lot of Republicans have, they have had the grit and guts to stand up and say, ‘He does not represent me.’’’
Echoing a theme Trump has expressed in calls to stop the influence of lobbyists and “drain the swamp” in Washington, Clinton said she would oppose lawmakers who do the bidding of lobbyists and lawyers. “Are members of Congress, members of the Senate, going to be on the side of the rich and the powerful and the wealthy, or on your side?’’ she asked.
With 17 days left until the election, Clinton told reporters aboard her campaign plane she would be focused on offering herself to all voters as an alternative to Trump, while also emphasizing electing Democrats down the ballot who she’ll need in Washington to accomplish her agenda if elected.
Toomey spokesman Ted Kwong responded that the comments about the senator are “further proof that hyper-partisan, ethically challenged Katie McGinty will be a rubber stamp for everything Hillary Clinton wants to do in Washington.”
Clinton and Trump focused on battleground states of Pennsylvania and Ohio on Saturday as the race turns to its get-out-the-vote phase following the third and final debate between the pair on Oct. 19.
Clinton appeared with running mate Tim Kaine at a Pittsburgh high school and before more than 7,500 people at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. A RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows she has a lead of 6.2 percentage points over Trump in Pennsylvania. Trump ended the day with an Ohio rally after appearances in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Kaine, appearing with Clinton for the first time since Labor Day, said Trump started his campaign insulting Mexicans and women and now, at the end of the race, is insulting the “pillars of American democracy” by refusing to say whether he accept the election results.
“He’s losing, and he knows it,’’ Kaine said in Pittsburgh. “This guy can’t take responsibility for anything.”
Threat to Sue
Trump is trying to reverse a slide that started with a lackluster first debate on Sept. 26 and accelerated with the release of a 2005 tape of him making lewd comments about women. Several women subsequently accused the billionaire of groping them in the past, and Trump responded by escalating his rhetoric that the election is “rigged.” On Saturday, he vowed to sue the women after the election.
Speaking to reporters, Clinton denied Trump’s suggestion that Democrats and her campaign were behind the women coming forward. She said while she and Kaine are “giving people something to vote for, not just against,” Trump “basically he said if he’s president he’ll spend his time suing women who have made charges against him based on his behavior.”
Asked about Trump’s contention that there’s a media conspiracy against him and in her favor, she said after three debates, she doesn’t think about responding to him anymore.
“I’m going to let the American people decide between what he offers and what we offer,” she said. “So he can say whatever he wants to.”
Trump has also refused to say whether he would concede if he lost, drawing condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans who say it threatens the peaceful transition of power that’s a staple of U.S. democracy.
“Trump’s claims of voter fraud and his refusal to say he will accept the results set an alarming precedent,” Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, wrote in a post on the blogging website Medium on Saturday.
A Bloomberg Politics national poll released Oct. 19 showed that Clinton leads Trump 50 percent to 41 percent among likely voters in a theoretical two-way race. The survey also showed slices of the electorate, including men and independents, moving away from the billionaire businessman in the campaign’s final days.
On Saturday, Trump offered a vision for his first 100 days as president, in what his campaign called a closing argument after he vowed on Friday to finish the race with “no regrets.’’ Many of the policies described by Trump on Saturday have been features of his campaign for months.
Buoyed by Trump’s struggles, Clinton has sought to expand her outreach. Her campaign has started to target traditionally Republican states such as Arizona and Utah and is seeking to bolster Congressional races in battleground states to help Democrats potentially flip control of the Senate and, less likely, the House.
On the campaign trail, Clinton is hammering the theme that Trump is unfit to be president as a way to motivate supporters to get out and vote, while also looking ahead to governing if she wins. She’s talked about the need to “repair the damage’’ that Trump has caused with divisions in the U.S. and questions raised among overseas allies and adversaries alike.
“We can’t just be angry,” she said in Philadelphia. “Anger is not a plan, it does not lead to the kind of action and change that we need to make to be sure that every person in our country feels that they have a piece of the American dream.”
Ohio and Pennsylvania are two states that analysts say Trump must win if he has any hope of assembling the 270 Electoral College votes needed for the presidency. No Republican has won the White House without capturing Ohio.
The billionaire leads Clinton in Ohio by less than a percentage point, according to a RealClearPolitics average. Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon said the advantage Trump had in the state after Labor Day in early September has been erased.
The Trump campaign has severed its ties with the Ohio Republican Party, which is handling get-out-the-vote efforts in the state but backed Governor John Kasich in the party’s primary. As polls in the state have tightened following Trump’s stumbles, Clinton has mobilized an army of volunteers in 93 field offices to register and turn out voters.
“Ohio is really a symbol of the progress that we made in the last two weeks since the first debate,’’ Fallon said on Friday.