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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The countdown is on.

With early voting now underway in many states, the Hillary Clinton campaign's biggest focus during these final days is getting voters out to the polls ahead of, and on, Election Day.

The fear is that her supporters might see the recent polls showing the Democratic presidential nominee ahead of GOP rival Donald Trump and may decide they don’t need to vote.

Because of this, the campaign has launched several strategies to prevent this from happening. Here are four of the campaign's tactics:

1) Do radio interviews

Clinton has done several local radio interviews in the past week. Her campaign's communications director, Jen Palmieri, told reporters Wednesday that this is strategic. "Local radio is still the most powerful means of reaching people to push them to actually turn out to vote," she said. "So, it is something that she's been doing really aggressively in the past few days and she'll continue to do."

2) Hold rallies close to voting venues

The Clinton camp has also been making sure their rallies are nearby to early voting venues. "We build our rallies so they're near early voting sites,” Palmieri said. (For instance, at a rally in Broward County, Florida, on Tuesday, there was a voting site at the event, which staffers brought attendees to after Clinton’s remarks.)

3) Reassess every day where to campaign

The campaign hasn’t been announcing some of their campaign events until a day or two before they happen –- and this might be why. The campaign is assessing where Clinton and their surrogates should campaign every single day based on early voting. "There are people voting every day," Palmieri said, "And [we're] looking at each day to see where should she be, where should Senator Kaine be, so that you're really leveraging the most that you can."

4) Scare people

Clinton's biggest message at her events: Don't be complacent. In a sense she’s scaring people into submission -- trying to tell people that even if the polls show her up, people still need to vote because it's not over yet. "Now Donald Trump says he can still win,” Clinton said in Tampa today. “And he's right.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump went on the offensive against military expert and former dean of the Army War College, Jeff McCausland, who said the Republican nominee’s comments this weekend about the battle to reclaim Mosul show he doesn’t have a firm grasp on military strategy.

“You can tell your military expert that I'll sit down and I'll teach him a couple of things,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted the ongoing offensive against the ISIS stronghold of Mosul is turning out to be a “total disaster.”

“We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb. VOTE TRUMP and WIN AGAIN!” he tweeted.

Trump doubled down on his assertion that the element of surprise is an important military strategy.

“I've been hearing about Mosul now for three months. 'We're going to attack. We're going to attack.' Meaning Iraq's going to attack but with us. Okay? We're going to attack. Why do they have to talk about it?” he asked Stephanopoulos.

“Element of surprise. One of the reasons they wanted Mosul, they wanted to get ISIS leaders who they thought were, you know, in Mosul. Those people have all left. As soon as they heard they're gonna be attacked, they left,” Trump added. “The resistance is much greater now because they knew about the attack. Why can't they win first and talk later?”

But according to The New York Times, some military experts disagree with Trump’s claims that “the element of surprise” is crucial to win the fight against ISIS.

“What this shows is Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about military strategy,” McCausland told The New York Times.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter is on the ground in Iraq, and told ABC’s Martha Raddatz in an interview earlier this week that he’s “encouraged” by the progress in the fight against ISIS because it “is going according to plan,” adding, “ISIL will surely be destroyed.”

Trump also blamed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and President Obama for the need to reclaim Mosul.

“We had Mosul. We have to take it because Hillary Clinton and Obama left that big vacuum and ISIS went in and they took Mosul,” he said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father of slain U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died while serving in the 2004 Iraq War, is hitting the campaign trail for the first time in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

With a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his hand, Khizr Khan captivated the nation this summer during the Democratic National Convention when he gave an electrifying speech denouncing Donald Trump for his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country and telling the GOP nominee, “you have sacrificed nothing.”

"Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America," said Khan, whose Gold Star signifies immediate family members of U.S. military personnel killed in combat. "You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one."

Khan is campaigning Wednesday for Clinton in Norfolk, Virginia, meeting with community leaders, volunteers, veterans and military families. Khan will highlight the high stakes in this election and decry Trump's repeated attacks on Muslim Americans in this campaign, as well as his perceived disrespect toward American veterans and military families, the Clinton campaign said.

Khan was also featured last week in an emotional 60-second campaign ad for Clinton. He shared the story of his son’s death and asked Trump, “Would my son have a place in your America?”

Trump criticized Khan's convention speech this summer, asking ABC News, "Who wrote that? Did Hillary's script writers write it? I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Bernie Sanders is thanking House Speaker Paul Ryan these days.

Earlier this month, while speaking in his home state of Wisconsin, Ryan warned, "If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes chairman of the Senate budget committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders."

Sanders did not miss a beat. He turned Ryan’s words right around and used them as a rallying cry, giving his supporters a tangible reason to back other progressives and Democrats running for office this fall.

Last week, in just three days, the Vermont Senator brought in over $2.4 million dollars to help four Democratic Senate candidates, his staff says, with a fundraising email that pointed directly to Ryan’s comments. Those candidates were Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, Deborah Ross in North Carolina, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, and Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania. "#ThanksPaul, for helping to continue the political revolution," Sanders and his team tweeted Monday.

During his presidential primary campaign, Sanders proved to be a capable fundraiser. He often brought in large amounts of money and fast with thousands of small dollar donations. Now, two weeks before Election Day, he is aggressively tapping his large network to generate cash for a wide range of candidates.

Here’s a look at candidates from several states the celebrity progressive is backing:

Russ Feingold (U.S. Senate, D-Wisconsin)

Early this summer, when Sanders telegraphed his intentions to fundraise for his favorite progressive candidates, Feingold was at the top of his list. Feingold served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years before losing his seat in 2010. During his tenure in Washington, Feingold was best known for passing legislation with Arizona Sen. John McCain targeting money in politics and campaign finance -- some of Sanders’ chief issues. Feingold was also the only Senator to oppose the original Patriot Act. This fall, Feingold is fighting a re-match against the Republican who beat him last go-around. Several polls have him slightly up, though he has taken heat for raising so much money from national donors outside his state.

Catherine Cortez Masto (U.S. Senate, D-Nevada)

Cortez Masto has enjoyed some high-profile help, including visits from President Barack Obama and Sanders to campaign by her side. A former Nevada Attorney General, Cortez Masto would be the first Latina to serve in the U.S. Senate. She is running to fill the seat of outgoing Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid and has enjoyed a recent surge in the polls. Nevertheless, the race looks like a toss-up in the last few weeks.

Maggie Hassan (U.S. Senate, D-New Hampshire)

Now in her second term as governor, Hassan has taken on the sitting Republican Senator, Kelly Ayotte and the two women have engaged in one of the most hard-fought, expensive and closely-watched Senate contests this election. Sanders has visited New Hampshire a lot lately, a state he knows well and won by a landslide during the primary, to campaign for both Hillary Clinton and Hassan. He frequently uses Hassan as an example of a colleague he’d like to have in the Senate. Polls have been all over the board in the race, but a local WMUR poll out this week showed Maggie Hassan up by 8 points.

Zephyr Teachout (U.S. House of Representatives, D-NY 19th District)

Sanders has also used his star-power to fundraise for several relative political rookies, including Teachout running for Congress in a district south of Albany, NY along the Hudson River. The area is not known for being particularly left-of-center and the congressional seat is currently held by a Republican. Nonetheless, Sanders took a chance on Teachout, a fiery progressive and law professor and backed her in primary race.

He wrote in an early fundraising email, "Zephyr Teachout literally wrote the book on political corruption. She understands better than anyone how special interests try to buy off politicians, and she's dedicated her career to fixing our broken political system." From fighting against fracking and for breaking up "too big to fail" banks, Teachout and Sanders seem like two birds of a feather.

"Sanders’ campaign really shook up with country on money in politics and on trade –- two issues I care a lot about," she told ABC News during an interview this week. "I was so proud to have had his endorsement. I was proud to have endorsed him early on and it has been terrific to see the young people, especially, who have come in and gotten excited about politics because of Sanders and then have gotten engaged in our campaign."

Just this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee posted an ad blasting Teachout for being too close to Sanders. The ad says her similarities to the Vermont senator mean she does not accurately represent the district. "Teachout loves socialist senator Bernie Sanders," the ad says.

With two weeks left, Teachout described the current status of her race as a "tie," but said with all of the support she has been receiving from issue-based activists, she was optimistic she would pull out a win.

Pramila Jayapal (U.S. House of Representatives, D-WA 7th District)

Jayapal, another lesser-known political recruit, from Washington State, was one of the first candidates to receive Sanders’ endorsement. With his backing and early fundraising support she won her crowded primary handily. The next day, Sanders said in a statement, "When you think of the political revolution, I want you to think about Pramila." Sanders has since traveled to Washington State to campaign alongside Jayapal.

Jayapal immigrated to the U.S. from India to attend college and has spent her life organizing anti-hate and anti-discrimination campaigns. As a Washington State Senator she introduced legislation to increase the local minimum wage. With Washington’s top-two primary system, she is actually running against another Democrat who also considers himself a progressive. The race is very close.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC/Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) -- Hillary Clinton’s lead in the presidential race is no longer in the double digits in the latest ABC News tracking poll, and there are signs of vote splitting that could help down-ballot Republicans.

Clinton leads Donald Trump by 49-40 percent among likely voters. That’s not significantly different from the previous 50-38 percent Clinton lead, but it holds out the possibility of better days for Trump moving beyond his difficult last two weeks.

See a PDF with the full results of the poll here.

Moreover, likely voters divide essentially evenly, 47-46 percent, between the Democratic and Republican candidates in their congressional district. While the measure’s imperfect (it’s not limited to competitive districts, and doesn’t cover Senate races), it indicates challenges for Clinton forces as they seek to turn her support into a broader, Democratic wave.

Two key reasons emerge for the closer congressional contest in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates. One is independent voters; the other, Republicans returning home for their local races:

  • Independent likely voters divide evenly between Clinton and Trump, 41-41 percent in the latest tracking data. By contrast, independents favor the Republican over the Democrat in their congressional district by 51-39 percent.
  • Trump wins 82 percent of Republicans in the presidential race, ceding 8 percent to Clinton and 6 percent to third-party candidates. In the congressional trial heat, however, 94 percent of Republicans stick with the GOP.

These results mark the difficulties the Democrats face in turning a highly polarized electorate to their advantage, suggesting that Clinton’s lead in the presidential race relies primarily on the idiosyncrasies of that contest, not any broader realignment in political preferences.

That’s underscored by the fairly low level of strong enthusiasm for both candidates, given their unusual levels of personal unpopularity. Half of Trump’s supporters are very enthusiastic about their choice, as are 48 percent of Clinton’s. For comparison, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both had 60 percent strong enthusiasm at this point in 2012, as did George W. Bush in 2004. It was even higher, 71 percent, for Obama at this stage in 2008.

Strong enthusiasm has been as low as it is now, or lower, for some past candidates -- 50 percent for John Kerry at this point in 2004, 39 percent for John McCain in 2008. Both, of course, lost to candidates whose support was more enthusiastic. It’s an advantage Trump held, but then lost.

His strong enthusiasm fell eight points, and overall enthusiasm among his supporters fell 12 points, from late September to mid-October. Clinton’s strong enthusiasm subsequently rose, putting them at parity today.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich unleashed a tirade on Fox News host Megyn Kelly after she mentioned Donald Trump's sexual accusers, saying she was "fascinated with sex."

Trump also tangled with Kelly during the primaries, drawing fire for saying that there was "blood coming out of her wherever" (which he later clarified to be her nose). Kelly had questioned him about calling women "fat pigs" and "slobs" during the first primary debate.

"I mean do you want to go back through the tapes on your show recently?" Gingrich asked. "You are fascinated with sex and you don't care about public policy."

Kelly questioned if Trump were a "sexual predator" after mentioning an Access Hollywood tape from 2005 in which Trump was heard bragging about his ability to grope women because he was "a star."

"You cannot defend that statement," Gingrich said. "I'm sick and tired of people like you using language that's inflammatory that's not true."

Kelly then mentioned Trump's accusers -- whose accusations he has vehemently denied -- and said "we have to cover that story sir."

"You know what Mr. Speaker, I'm not fascinated by sex but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we're getting in the Oval Office," she said.

Gingrich then turned the conversation to Bill Clinton's past with women and pushed Kelly to call him a "sexual predator."

"I dare you," he said.

Kelly shot back: "You can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker. Thanks for being here."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Republican Party is accusing the State Department of “stonewalling” a request to obtain the missing emails belonging to an information technology staffer who helped maintain Hillary Clinton’s private server, suggesting the delay is part of a “cover-up to protect” the Democratic presidential nominee.

New documents, first seen by ABC News, show that the State Department has not responded to a months-old request from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to explain why it has so few email records belonging to the senior staffer, Bryan Pagliano, who worked at the department as a political appointee from May 2009 to February 2013.

During the course of Clinton’s email imbroglio, Pagliano developed a reputation as quiet insider with knowledge of Clinton’s controversial email configuration. He signed an immunity agreement with the Justice Department in exchange for cooperating with FBI investigators examining Clinton’s use of that private email server and has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights hundreds of times in response congressional and legal inquiries. In May, the State Department announced it couldn’t find any evidence that Pagliano had turned over his emails prior to leaving the department, which he would have been required by law to do.

According to the new documents obtained by the Republican National Committee (RNC) through freedom of information requests and shared with ABC News, NARA asked the State Department on July 18 to provide a report within 30 days explaining why it’s been unable to produce Pagliano’s emails. Three months later, however, the State Department has yet to respond.

In its letter to the State Department’s records office, NARA also said “if it’s determined Federal records have been alienated or destroyed, please describe all measures your agency has taken, or expects to take, to retrieve the alienated records or retrieve them, to the extent necessary and appropriate.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus says the subsequent delay amounts to stonewalling.

“The State Department is clearly stonewalling another federal agency’s efforts to recover the emails of the IT staffer who set up Clinton’s illegal server and was granted immunity by the FBI," Priebus told ABC News. "If this isn’t an Obama Administration cover-up to protect Hillary Clinton, I don’t know what is.”

In a statement to ABC News, the State Department did not offer a reason for missing the deadline or an explanation of what efforts it has taken to retrieve the emails but said it's still in the process of responding.

"As we have publicly explained months ago, the Department has searched for Mr. Pagliano’s email pst file and has not located one that covers the time period of Secretary Clinton’s tenure," State Department spokesman John Kirby said, referencing a file type that would have held Pagliano's emails.

"As we have also previously explained, employees’ emails have not always been automatically retained, so the absence of this email file does not necessarily indicate that Mr. Pagliano intentionally deleted his emails," Kirby said.

Kirby defended the State Department's efforts, saying that although Pagliano didn't turn any emails over before leaving, some of his email was captured and retrieved via separate government accounts. State Department officials added that "hundreds of pages" of those recovered emails have been shared with Congress and the conservative group Judicial Watch, which acquired them through a freedom of information lawsuit.

In his statement, Kirby also says that Pagliano did provide a file of his emails when he worked more recently as a contractor for the State Department but by that time, Clinton had left office.

The RNC told ABC News that NARA could request that the U.S. attorney general initiate action to recover those emails and that any such investigation into what happened to those emails could be problematic for Pagliano -- assuming he deleted the records, as the RNC believes. Penalty for unlawful or accidental removal or destruction of records can include a fine, imprisonment or both.

Although the details of Pagliano's immunity agreement with the Justice Department aren't publicly known, the RNC believes it's unlikely the agreement would protect him from potential prosecution for the alleged destruction of federal records.

The RNC also believes Pagliano should have known about his duty to retain federal records, including his own. The FBI's final investigative report on Clinton's email cites interviews it conducted with Pagliano. In them, Pagliano recounts how he was told in late 2009 or early 2010 by an official (whose name is withheld) that Clinton's server "may be a federal records retention issue." Pagliano also told the FBI that he relayed those concerns to two other top officials in Clinton's inner circle.

In the meantime, the State Department says it is working to improve its records management systems and that it is now automatically archiving current Secretary of State John Kerry's emails as well as the emails of numerous senior staffers.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Barbara Kinney for Hillary For America(MIAMI) -- After months of traveling the country to raise money for her campaign, Hillary Clinton's high-dollar fundraising effort is finally coming to a close.

The Democratic nominee attended her last fundraiser of the 2016 campaign in Miami Tuesday night, according to a campaign aide.

The fundraising circuit has been good to Clinton this cycle. From mansions in Bel Air to lunch at Justin Timberlake's home and a fundraiser at the estate of the late Steve Jobs in Northern California, these often lavish events have helped the former secretary of state raise over $500 million for her campaign.

The record haul has allowed Clinton's campaign to invest in down-ballot races across the country.

"Thanks to the more than 2.6 million Americans who have donated to this campaign, we are now working to expand the map into states like Arizona to have even more paths to 270 electoral votes and increase our investments to help win competitive down-ballot races across the country," said Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook.

The foundation for such an active and lucrative fundraising haul for Clinton during the 2016 campaign can be attributed to a group of mega-donors Hillary and Bill Clinton have relied on for years. Those donors have had a hand in hosting and helping coordinate the more than 350 fundraisers in 37 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico since Hillary Clinton launched her campaign in April 2015.

But no place has served Clinton as well as California. Clinton has taken 15 trips to California to fundraise with celebrities including Magic Johnson, Jennifer Aniston and Tobey McGuire.

Since the start of her campaign, Clinton has spent nearly 200 days fundraising, holding campaign events on some of those days as well. She's even used her birthday as an opportunity to raise money. In 2015 and 2016, Clinton celebrated her birthday with celebrity-filled fundraisers. (Her most recent was held on Manhattan's West Side Monday night.)

"We met our goals. We have had the money that we needed to compete and it’s, you know, we’re really grateful that people have given us as much support as they have and we feel that we spent the resources pretty well, too, and have what we need for the last two weeks," Clinton Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters Tuesday.

When asked about Clinton holding a campaign event with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and then fundraising in the evening with just two weeks to go in the campaign, Palmieri explained: "We need resources to run out the campaign."

Clinton has also enlisted her surrogates to fundraise on her behalf, too. Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine, Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama have all headlined fundraisers that have raised money for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

Just last month, Hillary Clinton and Kaine brought in over $153 million for their campaign. And over the course of the entire campaign, they have raised more than $275 million for the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

Clinton's super PAC Priorities USA has also had a massive fundraising effort. The group announced Tuesday that it has raised $175 million this cycle.

Although a bulk of the money the Clinton campaign has raised comes from high-dollar fundraising events, the campaign says that most of its donations come from small-dollar donors.

According to a campaign release, the average donation to the Clinton campaign in September was $56, with 98 percent of the donations coming in increments of $250 or less.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Adam Schultz for Hillary for America(KINSTON, N.C.) -- There has been much speculation about what title former President Bill Clinton would take if his wife, Hillary Clinton, wins the White House.

First gentleman may be the odds on favorite. But on Tuesday at a campaign stop in North Carolina, Clinton said he might like to be called "First Volunteer."

"I don’t care what they call me as long as she wins," he said with a smile as he greeted supporters on a Kinston, North Carolina sidewalk. "I’ll be the First Volunteer. I hope to be the best free labor she’s got."

During his 10 months rallying for his wife, he has also toyed with the idea of being called "First Dude" and even "First Laddie" paying homage to his Irish roots. But Hillary Clinton has said she likes the moniker "First Gentleman."

If the former president is back in the White House as the spouse, he may help redefine the traditions of the role. For instance, Hillary Clinton has said he will not be picking out the White House china pattern.

Former President Clinton is on his fourth bus tour of the election cycle, this time riding up and down the eastern side of North Carolina, urging early voting. He told supporters gathered on the sidewalk Tuesday, "She will be president if she wins North Carolina."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(SANFORD, Fla.) -- As Donald Trump campaigned in central Florida on Tuesday, he made his usual appeal to African-Americans, painting a grim and partially inaccurate portrait of black communities.

"African-Americans are living in hell in the inner cities," he said. "They are living -- they are living in hell. You walk to the store for a loaf of bread you get shot.”

But his comment today struck a particularly tone-deaf chord. Trump was in Sanford, Fla., where teenager Trayvon Martin had been killed four years earlier by a neighborhood watchman while walking home after getting a pack of Skittles.

Trump has garnered criticism for how he’s reached out to African-Americans, with whom his support remains low according to all major polls. He often makes his appeals in front of almost all-white crowds, harping on conditions in inner cities, neglecting to appeal to other African-Americans who don’t live in inner cities.

Across the country, the data show that more African-Americans live in suburbs than anywhere else.

During the second presidential debate, James Carter, a black man asked Trump if he believed he could be a devoted president to all the people in the United States.

Trump responded: “I will be a president for all of our people. And I’ll be a president that will turn our inner cities around.”

Some have bristled at the imagery Trump has used to appeal to African-Americans, saying it is only representative of a slice of the African-American community and disregards the wealth, education, and status that Black Americans have achieved.

Census data from 2015 show that 52.9 percent of African-Americans 25 or older have a college degree of some sort. And a report from Pew in December showed that, compared with other racial or ethnic groups, African-American adults saw the largest improvement in income status from 1971 to 2015 and were the only racial or ethnic group that saw a decline in the percentage of low-income earners.

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Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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