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Clinton, Trump Shift Focus to Vote-rich Florida

  • VOA Staff

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer during a campaign rally, Oct. 24, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.

U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are focusing their campaigning efforts Tuesday on the state of Florida, which will play a big role in two weeks when the majority of American voters decide which of them will be the country's next leader.

It takes 270 electoral college votes to clinch the presidency, and under the system that gives greater weight to more populous states, the winner of Florida gets 29 electoral votes. The most recent polls show Democratic candidate Clinton leading her Republican rival Trump by about four points in Florida.

Trump confident of winning

Trump was already in the state on Monday, including at an event in Tampa where he declared he will not only win Florida, but also the national vote. He cast the election as a rare chance to vote against political elites.

"Our campaign represents the kind of change that only arrives once in a lifetime," Trump said. "This is once in a lifetime. This is our last chance. In four years, it's not going to happen. You got to get out and vote."

He also rejected a frequent Clinton line of attack questioning Trump's ties to Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin. Clinton said during last week's final debate the Republican candidate is "willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do."

Trump said Monday his opponent connects him with Russia "all the time."

"And they say such bad things about Putin and then they're supposed to negotiate with Putin? Why would he do this? Folks, we're run by people who are not smart people," he said.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Oct. 23, 2016.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign event at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Oct. 23, 2016.

Clinton questions Trump's leadership skills

Clinton spent Monday in the northeastern state of New Hampshire, where she once again questioned whether Trump is capable of leading the country. Her criticism included Trump's comments about the military offensive in Mosul, Iraq, saying his criticisms amount to "declaring defeat before the battle has even started."

"He's proving to the world what it means to have an unqualified commander in chief," she said.

Phony polls, biased media

Trump also accused Democrats of making up phony polls to deflate his support and make it look like Clinton is ahead.

"They are phony polls, put out by phony media, trying to suppress our vote," Trump told several dozen farmers in Florida.

Earlier, Trump, exhorted his supporters on Twitter, telling them, "We are winning and the press is refusing to report it. Don't let them fool you - get out and vote!"

WATCH: Trump on corrupt system

Trump Says US Electoral System is Corrupt, Broken
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Trump produced no evidence about fake media polls. A collection of national surveys show him trailing Clinton by about six percentage points or more. One major poll, released Sunday by ABC News, said its interviews with voters showed Clinton surging in recent days to a 50-38 percent lead, while polling analysts give her about a nine-in-10 chance of becoming the country's 45th president.

Clinton plan: ignore Trump

Clinton says she will ignore Trump's taunts against her that she is corrupt and unfit to be the U.S. leader and instead focus on helping elect Democratic lawmakers to the Senate and House of Representatives to support her legislative agenda.

WATCH: Clinton on importance of this election

Clinton Says This is the Most Consequential Election of Our Lifetime
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0:00 0:00:39 0:00


President Barack Obama, a staunch Clinton supporter, campaigned Monday for Democrats in close House and Senate races. He argued against the Republicans' pitch that voters should keep the Congress Republican to provide a check on Clinton's agenda should she win.

"It is really important that we push back and defeat this argument that somehow the duly elected president of the United States should simply be blocked from doing anything by the opposition party,'' Obama told donors at a fundraiser in San Diego.

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