Clinton, Trump Make Closing Arguments With 2 Weeks Until Election Day

Oct 25, 2016
Originally published on October 25, 2016 6:00 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

This is what it sounds like two weeks before Election Day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: This is bigger than me or any of us. It's about our country.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: This is bigger than me. It's bigger than any of us. It's even bigger than Donald Trump if you can believe it.

MCEVERS: That's Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump speaking at separate events in Florida with a similar goal in mind - get people to the polls. We'll hear from some voters in a moment. But now let's hear what the candidates are doing in their final sprint. NPR's Asma Khalid is in Miami with Hillary Clinton's campaign. Hello.

ASMA KHALID, BYLINE: Hi, how are you?

MCEVERS: Good. And NPR's Scott Detrow is in Tallahassee with Donald Trump's campaign. Hi to you.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey there.

MCEVERS: OK. So, Asma, let's start with you. What is Hillary Clinton's closing argument right now to voters?

KHALID: Well, Kelly, when you hear Hillary Clinton on the stump these days, she's kind of got a two-part closing argument. Number one, she wants to reaffirm a positive message. And so she's focusing on her policy agenda. You know, she is a wonk. She'll often say on the stump that she likes to create plans She likes to create lists.

And so she'll talk about those plans. She'll talk about equal pay for women, affordable college education, raising the federal minimum wage. She's also talking quite a bit about an effort to make the United States a global clean energy leader. But then there's another thing that she's trying to do, number two - part, I guess you could say, of her closing argument. And that is she is trying to go after Donald Trump as an unprecedented threat to democracy.

In the final debate, Trump refused to say that he would respect the results of the election, and Clinton is pointing out that she has never heard a candidate ever say anything akin to that before. And here's how she put it today at a rally in Florida.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: Now, after spending his entire campaign attacking one group of Americans after another - immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, women, POWs, Muslims, people with disabilities - now his final target is democracy itself.

MCEVERS: That's what Hillary Clinton had to say. And Scott, Donald Trump is spending a lot of his final stretch responding to these kinds of attacks. Is that right?

DETROW: That's right. And he's not really backing down from it. The idea of a rigged system, everything from the election to the media to the government, it's been a major theme Trump is sticking to. In fact, today Trump mocked Clinton and President Obama for being concerned about his talk about voter fraud. He called them both, in his words, phoneys. So Trump's talking a lot about that, but he also is talking about what he wants to do as president. You know, he's been running against the establishment all along, and he's turned it into a bit of a slogan lately. Here's how he put it in Sanford, Fla., earlier today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: I want everyone to Washington to hear and to heed the words I'm about to say. If we win on November 8, we are going to Washington, D.C., and we together are going to drain the swamp.

DETROW: That's a reform package Trump is talking about that would include everything from a constitutional amendment creating term limits for congress to a lot of restrictions on lobbyists, among other things.

MCEVERS: You both are in Florida. And this, of course, is a state that's crucial in this race. Looking at where the candidates are spending their time and putting their resources, what can we learn about their strategy in this final stretch? Asma, you first.

KHALID: Sure. So a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign says that they are focused this week on states where there are already large numbers of people voting, that being a state like Florida that's already begun early voting. They say that they anticipate somewhere of, like, around 60 percent of voters will have already cast their ballots before we reach Election Day. So that is a crucial part of their strategy.

But the other thing is, you know, she's sending out surrogates to places across the state to sort of hit Donald Trump in ways that she sometimes can't. And in particular, President Obama is expected to campaign even more heavily than he has been in the coming weeks.

MCEVERS: And Scott, where's Trump focused in these final days?

DETROW: Florida as well. He's been camped out here for three straight days, holding multiple rallies all over the state. Trump did concede on Fox News today that if he doesn't win here, it's unlikely he'll win the White House. But just one sign of how unusual this campaign is - Trump is going to take some time off tomorrow morning to be in Washington, D.C., not for a campaign event but for an event at his new luxury hotel.

MCEVERS: Two hard-working reporters - NPR's Scott Detrow on the trail with Donald Trump and NPR's Asma Khalid with Hillary Clinton. Thanks, both of you.

KHALID: You're welcome.

DETROW: Sure thing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.