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US election: campaign heads into final weekend

US election: campaign heads into final weekend
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The ongoing soap opera of the US presidential election is heading into its final weekend. Precious time for the candidates to convince any remaining undecided voters, who have until Tuesday to cast their ballots. Euronews’ Mark Davis spoke to our Washington correspondent Stefan Grobe to get the latest on the race for the White House.

Mark Davis, Euronews: ‘‘Stefan, there aren’t many opinion polls left, but what do the latest ones tell us?’‘

Stefan Grobe, Euronews Washington Correspondent:
‘‘Mark, in the final days of this election campaign public polling has settled into a quite consistent narrative and that is, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump nationally and in most key states, but by a narrower margin than last month. That being said, is she assured of victory, no. Do the latest polls over state the sudden fluctuations to the American people. Probably yes. Bottom line, we’re probably looking at a close election that looks more like Bush vs Gore in 2004, than the blow out victories of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Now there’s some buzz that I’m hearing among professional campaign watchers and that is Hillary Clinton will be carrying Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania, all states where she seems to have a consistent lead. If that happens, Trump can win Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire and still lose the election. So election night could actually be quite boring.’‘

Mark Davis, Euronews: ‘‘Donald Trump’s wife, Melania has made a rare campaign speech late into the campaign, in Pennsylvania. Tell us more about the significance of that state.’‘

Stefan Grobe, Euronews Washington Correspondent:
‘‘Well, Pennsylvania has been an absolutely crucial part of the Democratic firewall for decades and has been some sort of fools gold for Republicans. Republicans always believe they can win here because of the rural vote but the last time they did it was in 1988, so Trump needs Pennsylvania badly. That’s why your saw Melania Trump here, that’s why the Clinton’s have chosen Philadelphia to appear together with the Obama’s on the eve of the election. This is a city that Obama carried by a 70 point margin, thanks to the African American vote. And Hillary Clinton needs these exact same numbers. Melania Trump was deployed in a county outside Philadelphia, where Mitt Romney actually won, to shore up support among white college educated suburban women. That’s a group that favours Clinton right now, so if Trump can limit his losses in the Philly suburbs, and if the African American turn out is low in Philly, then Trump believes he has a very serious shot.’‘

Mark Davis, Euronews: ‘‘But, talking of the candidates’ spouses, Bill Clinton is also rallying to his wife’s cause. But, what role does Bill play in all this campaign?’‘

Stefan Grobe, Euronews Washington Correspondent:
‘‘Well, as we said he has been very actively campaigning for her and I have actually seen him at several events and actually interviewed him in New Hampshire earlier this year. I saw him again in Virginia. I mean he’s getting older but there’s still some sort of the Clinton magic and people are still flocking to his events. The interesting question will be what will be his role in a future Hillary Clinton administration if she gets elected. She herself has said that Bill Clinton will be taking care of some sort of economic recovery programme, job creation, and she said this is stuff that he knows about. I don’t see Bill really as a typical first husband – or first dude as many people call him already – in the White House who picks the china for state dinners, or something like that. He will certainly play a more active role than first ladies before him. By the way, to avoid confusion in a future Clinton White House, his title will probably be Governor Clinton, because this was the last title, the highest title he had before becoming president, and this is to avoid confusion if somebody says President Clinton and you have two people looking up all of a sudden.’‘

Mark Davis, Euronews: ‘‘Now the campaign has been more about personal attacks and poisonous rhetoric rather than informed debate. What are we to make of concerns that this bad-mouthing might degenerate into something even uglier once the results come out?’‘

Stefan Grobe, Euronews Washington Correspondent:
‘‘Well, Mark, that is a big fear that many Americans have and the Department of Justice have announced that they will send monitors to five counties in North Carolina – that’s a clear sign that they are worried. We have already seen some real violence in Mississippi this week where a black church was burned and spray painted with vote Trump. This is very troubling of course. We have also heard from neo-Nazi groups and various factions of the Ku Klux Klan, who announced that they would watch polling stations in places like Richmond, Philadelphia, Detroit, or would try to induce African Americans to stay home on election day by handing out liquor or Marijuana. This activity has the potential for serious conflicts of all sorts, especially if the election results are close.’‘

Mark Davis, Euronews: ‘‘Now, Stefan I’ll be joining you in New York this weekend. Both Clinton and Trump are holding their election night rallies in New York, but Trump’s is not in Trump Tower. Is that a surprise, given that Trump Tower is kind of the jewel in the Trump crown.’‘

Stefan Grobe, Euronews Washington Correspondent:
‘‘Yeah, you’re absolutely right Mark, and I’m looking forward to working with you together from New York city. It is by the way, I think this is unique that both presidential candidates will be in the same city on the night of the election. Why not Trump Tower? I think they are trying to protect the brand from the campaign and from a potential loss. That’s why they moved their evening party to the Hilton Hotel in mid-town Manhattan, a surprisingly small venue, now you can read a lot of things into it. One of them could be that they think, you know, they’re not going to win this thing. Also, this is by invitation only, so we’re certainly not seeing a spontaneous crowd of supporters going to see Trump that night, this will be very very scripted and very very controlled. The Clinton campaign has chosen the Jacob Javits Convention Centre, which is only a few avenues away from the Hilton Hotel. This is a much much bigger venue and it has, interestingly a glass roof, so talking about Hillary Clinton, you know, advocating shattering of the glass ceiling by electing the first woman president, that is certainly a very very strong symbol. You can only hope that Clinton supporters will not find that glass ceiling as being a Plexiglass ceiling on election night.’‘

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