Trump, Clinton make closing arguments to NC voters

Posted November 7, 2016
Updated November 8, 2016

— With less than 24 hours before polls open on Election Day, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made their final pitches to North Carolina voters on Monday – and into early Tuesday.

Trump, the Republican nominee, returned to Dorton Arena at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, the site of his first campaign appearance in North Carolina last December, for an afternoon rally. He revved up an almost full house with frequent attacks on Clinton and the Washington, D.C., establishment.

"She threatened national security. She sold her office to the highest bidder," he said of questions over Clinton's use of a private email server donations by foreign dignitaries to the Clinton Foundation while she served as secretary of state.

"She's being protected by a totally rigged system," he continued. "It's up to the American people to deliver the justice we deserve as the ballot box."

Meanwhile, Clinton held a late-night rally at North Carolina State University's Reynolds Coliseum, where she was joined by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, their daughter, Chelsea Clinton, and pop music stars Lady Gaga and Jon Bon Jovi.

Trump ridiculed Clinton's use of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Beyonce to attract more people to her rallies.

"I get bigger crowds than they do," he said. "I don't have a guitar, and I don't have a piano. All we have is great concepts for our country."

Trump reiterated his usual talking points about a border wall with Mexico, repealing the Affordable Care Act, renegotiating trade deals and bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. He said North Carolina bases would benefit from his plans to increase military spending.

He also criticized Clinton's work as secretary of state, blaming her and President Barack Obama for the rise of Islamic State forces in the Middle East.

"Hillary and our failed establishment have spent, listen to this, $6 trillion on wars in the Middle East that we never win. We just keep fighting and fighting," he said. "Now, the Middle East is in worse shape, by far, than it's ever been."

North Carolina is seen as one of the few toss-up states in the presidential race. A WRAL News poll released last week showed Trump with a 7-point lead in the state, but other polls have shown the race to be much tighter.

"I think this is a really important election. A lot hangs in the balance," said Hab Baker, who drove from Virginia on his birthday to attend the rally.

"We’re going to have a big celebration when he wins, and we’re going to lock her up. We’re going to lock Hillary in prison," said Joshua Flores of Richmond County, who has attended 53 Trump rallies. "We’re tired of her attitude. We’re tired of her lying to the American people."

Abby Tilley of Raleigh took her four children, ages 12 to 4, to their third Trump rally in two weeks.

"I think they need to be here. I think it’s a big part of their lives," Tilley said. "It’s a very pivotal moment for our country, and it would be a shame to miss out on part of it."

Both candidates have made frequent trips to North Carolina and have brought in campaign surrogates in recent days energize supporters and push get-out-the-vote efforts.

"You have one day ... to make every dream you've ever dreamed for your country and for your family to come true. You have one magnificent chance," Trump said. "If we don't win, all of us, honestly, we all will have wasted our time."

Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi join Clinton for midnight rally

The fact that Monday was a school night did not stop N.C. State students and thousands more from lining up to attend Clinton's late-night rally.

For many students, the draw was the chance to witness the history of the potential first female president.

"This is history. This could go down in the books as another groundbreaking election, just like when Obama was elected. So, I am excited and I am ready to be here until 2 a.m.," said student Skylar Skinner.

"Essentially, in the next 24 hours, you could be shaking the hand of the next president of the United States. It is an historic opportunity here today," said student Colin McSwain.

The rally kicked off with Lady Gaga, who took the stage shortly after midnight and performed four songs while calling on all voters to make sure Tuesday's election is a peaceful one.

"I know it is important for this message to be spread that we do not need to hate [Trump's] followers. If we are true Americans, then we must go from viewing his followers as our adversaries to viewing them as our allies," she said.

Following a duet of "Livin' on a Prayer" by Lady Gaga and Bon Jovi, the entire Clinton family took to the stage to hammer home the importance of voters in North Carolina.

"You've got a chance to point the way to a unified future. So, I ask you not to quit until the polls close," Bill Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton said she wanted voters to turn out with the same passion and intensity as they showed for the musical performances that preceded her speech and emphasized the importance of local elections in conjunction with the presidential race.

"I really believe it's the most important election of our lifetimes because we've never had a clearer choice. It is a choice between division and unity. It is a choice between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon who could lose everything," she said. "It is a choice that really goes to the heart of who we are as Americans."

Hillary Clinton briefly touched on her usual talking points, including affordable education, but mainly focused on urging voters to get to the polls on Tuesday.

"None of us want to wake up Wednesday morning and wish we had done more," she said. "Years from today, when your kids and grandkids ask what you did in 2016 when everything was on the line, you'll be able to say you voted for a stronger, fairer America."


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  • Susan Eaton Nov 8, 2016
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    perhaps you should ask that question of those who still believe Obama is not a U.S. Citizen because they don't like the color of his skin and his name.

  • Susan Eaton Nov 8, 2016
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    although we do not usually agree, I tend to agree with you here with one addition - the candidate has to care about all of the electorate, not just those who agree with them and must be able to see a bigger picture rather than a hyper focus on only a few select issues.

  • Mike Luddy Nov 8, 2016
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    After some thought - I'm not sure "experience" is helpful when it comes to politics. Most might agree, they all eventually become corrupt. I'd say "motive" might be a more important qualifier. Are they self serving, or do they care about the country, and the electorate?

  • Jason Merrill Nov 8, 2016
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    That's because the Republicans are still working until 5:00pm.....

  • Shannon Speil Nov 8, 2016
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    What is even more shameful than MY generation being sold out by Bernie Sanders, is us selling out and giving up the hope of ever changing anything. College debts will continue to spike, insurance and medical bills will continue to bankrupt and Wall Street companies will continue to prey on the poor and desperate. What makes me truly ill as a woman, is the fact that Hillary Clinton will forever stand as our FIRST female American president. Stood by her cheating husband, lied, double dealed with big Banks, laughed at a foreign leader's murder on camera and couldn't be bothered to learn or care of the importance of handling top secret and classified material. Well done, America.

  • Chris Redshaw Nov 8, 2016
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    95 counties have 1 choice in the marketplace for next year, and I guarantee next year will be the last year for BCBS with as close as they came to leaving this year. Then how's it going to work?

    "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has announced it will increase premiums for Affordable Care Act plans on the individual market by an average 24.3 percent for 2017. Some consumers will pay more and some will pay less.

    That is higher than the company’s original rate request filed in May for an 18.8 percent increase. The rate was approved by the state Department of Insurance, and Blue Cross announced it in a blog post.

    Blue Cross received an average 32.5 percent rate increase for 2016 – one of the highest in the country. Critics of the ACA have contended the health reform law has been failing partly because premium increases for the individual market plans have been rising beyond expectations."

  • Arron Lee Nov 8, 2016
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    Funny, the headline uses the term "closing arguments". Hillary's legal team may have to make some of those at some point.

  • John Ragan Nov 8, 2016
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    When I read that hillary had Lady Gaga and Bon Jovi as an opening act in Raleigh and Bruce Springsteen in New Jersey. I wondered if she was just the comedy act on a has been rock and roll revival tour. Then it was announced that Bill and Chelsea were along for the ride and my hope was everybody left their wallets in their cars before they walked in the door.

  • Letha Book Nov 8, 2016
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    "For many students, the draw was the chance to witness the history of the potential first female president. "

    How sad that the American people vote based on sex. And as the next student said, color. How does sex and/or color of one's skin make a difference? What happened to vetting candidates based on their ideals?

  • Cameron Horn Nov 7, 2016
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    time to end the clinton crime syndicate