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In final N.H. swing, Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump a ‘loose cannon’

Khizr Khan spoke Sunday to Hillary Clinton supporters in Manchester, N.H.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Hillary Clinton used her campaign’s final visit to this swing state Sunday to paint her Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, as unfit to be commander in chief.

“This election is a moment of reckoning. It is a choice between division or unity, between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon who could put everything at risk,” Clinton said.

Clinton’s appearance, amid a breakneck tour of battleground states, was designed to fire up Democrats in advance of Tuesday’s balloting, with public polls showing that New Hampshire could break either way. She hit several progressive hot-button issues, ranging from paid family leave to affordable health care to quality public education. She drew a laugh when she joked that the state’s Democratic primary voters had “cleaned my clock” in her loss to Senator Bernie Sanders, who has since endorsed her.


Clinton refrained Sunday night from a sustained attack on Trump and did not mention the FBI’s announcement that it had not found new problems with e-mails connected to her. But she sought to depict Trump as a cynical and unsteady choice for the White House, portraying him as adopting a casual approach to the use of nuclear weapons.

“My opponent has a very dark and divisive view of our country,” she said, addressing a packed hall at a downtown hotel. “Sometimes when I hear him speak, I honestly don’t recognize the country that he’s talking about.”

The evening rally, before an overflow crowd at the Manchester Radisson hotel, capped a three-state day of barnstorming, starting at a Philadelphia church, followed by a get-out-the-vote rally in Cleveland with NBA superstar LeBron James.

In Manchester, Clinton was introduced by Khizr Khan, the Pakistani-American father of US Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004. Khan and his wife, Ghazala, appeared at the Democratic National Convention and criticized Trump, drawing attacks from the GOP nominee that dominated campaign coverage for several days.


“This election will decide the future of America and the future of the world,” Khan said Sunday.

The final weekend day of the long campaign also injected some upbeat news into Clinton’s campaign, when FBI Director James Comey announced that the bureau had analyzed e-mails to and from Clinton and that the process had not changed the conclusions he announced in July, when he said there would be no charges pressed against her.

Comey’s announcement came after he sent a letter to Congress late last month stating that the agency had received a warrant to study e-mails belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner — husband of a top Clinton aide — that could affect a previous investigation into Clinton’s e-mails.

The FBI controversy has roiled the campaign’s final two weeks, raising further doubts about Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state and giving Trump a chance to rebound after the release of an audio recording in which he bragged about groping women.

Clinton’s schedule for the final days of the campaign reflects rising Democratic uneasiness with the state of the race, fueled by polls showing Trump biting into what had once been a healthy lead.

“When your kids and grandkids ask you what you did in 2016, when everything was on the line, I hope you’re able to say you voted,” Clinton said, closing Sunday night’s rally.


Clinton took selfies with supporters.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

On Monday, she is due to visit Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states that had been considered solidly Democratic. Both states have sided with the Democratic candidate in the last six presidential elections.

New Hampshire is receiving plenty of high-level attention in the final hours of the campaign, a signal of how narrowly both campaigns consider the state is divided along electoral lines. Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence appeared in Windham Sunday evening. President Obama is scheduled to campaign for Clinton at the University of New Hampshire in Durham on Monday afternoon, and Trump is due to hold his final pre-election rally in Manchester on Monday night.

It will be his ninth trip to the Granite State since winning his party’s nomination. Clinton’s trip Sunday was her third since winning the Democratic nomination.

A Suffolk University-Boston Globe poll released Thursday showed Clinton and Trump dead-even in New Hampshire, both with 42 percent, a slight dip for Clinton, who held a lead of two percentage points in the same poll last month.

The state’s swing-state dynamic was on full display Sunday night in Manchester. Speaking before Clinton were Colin Van Ostern, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee shown in polls to be trailing Republican Chris Sununu; Governor Maggie Hassan, locked in a tight race challenging Senator Kelly Ayotte; and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who beat former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown in 2014 by less than four percentage points.

“While Donald Trump complains and whines, Hillary powers through. Because that’s what ‘nasty women’ do,” said Shaheen, playing off a line Trump used during a debate to describe Clinton, which quickly became a rallying cry for Democrats.


Gordon Humphrey, a former conservative senator from New Hampshire, on Sunday said he would vote for Clinton, and criticized Trump. Clinton’s campaign released a video in which Humphrey discussed his decision.

Meanwhile, in Windham, about 20 miles to the south of Manchester, Pence fired up a Republican crowd.

“This race is on,’’ Pence, Indiana’s governor, bellowed, noting polls that show a close contest. “It’s all tied up in in New Hampshire.”

Pence told the crowd that while Clinton is planning for Cabinet members and measuring the drapes of the Oval Office, he and Trump are working hard for votes.

“I know in my heart of hearts that in two days from now, New Hampshire is going to lead the way and make America great again,’’ said Pence, with a nod to the Trump campaign slogan.

In Manchester, meanwhile, the pro-Clinton crowd thrilled at anti-Trump lines. Many had come from out of state to work on pushing New Hampshire into the blue column.

David Holzman, a professional clown, traveled from Roslindale in civilian clothes to knock on doors in New Hampshire on Clinton’s behalf.

“She’s served the country in an awesome fashion for a long time,” Holzman said. “And she basically killed Donald Trump in the debates.”

Kitsey Snow, a gardener from Ridgefield, Conn., said she had spent the day working on a phone bank in Manchester.


“I’ve been waiting a long time to vote for Hillary,” Snow said.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JOSreports.