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Clinton, Trump Campaigns Shift to Must-Win States Days Before Election


A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and a Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump supporter hold signs as they attend a Memorial Day parade, May 30, 2016, in Chappaqua, N.Y.
A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and a Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump supporter hold signs as they attend a Memorial Day parade, May 30, 2016, in Chappaqua, N.Y.

Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are concentrating their efforts on North Carolina and Florida, two states seen by both campaigns as vital to winning the November 8 election.

Trump has four rallies scheduled along the East Coast Thursday, beginning in the northern Florida city of Jacksonville before heading to a stop in eastern Pennsylvania and finally finishing out the day with two stops in North Carolina.

Clinton, meanwhile, has two rallies scheduled in North Carolina, the first in Greenville, the second in nearby Raleigh. President Barack Obama will be campaigning on Clinton’s behalf in Florida, with an early morning stop planned for Miami and a later rally scheduled in Jacksonville – just 30 miles from Trump's event and at the same time.

Recent polling from both states shows the candidates in a virtual tie as the final week of the campaign comes to an end. The momentum seems to be in Trump’s favor, as he’s been able to close a four-point deficit in Florida and a three-point gap in North Carolina since the beginning of last week, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls.

North Carolina and Florida are considered swing states because, unlike many other states, they could go for either political party during presidential elections.

For instance, North Carolina went for Obama in 2008 but switched in 2012 and supported Republican Mitt Romney. Florida voted twice for Republican George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 but switched and went to Obama in 2008 and 2012, with the 2012 election decided by less than 0.9 percent of the vote.

The two states are seen as particularly valuable swing states because of their high number of electoral votes: 15 in North Carolina and 29 in Florida. Only Texas, a Republican stronghold, and California, a Democrat stronghold, offer more electoral votes than Florida, with 38 and 55, respectively.

Explainer: What is a Swing State?
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For Trump, Florida is a virtual must-win, as his chances of winning the election drop to single digits should he lose the state. Clinton, though, could conceivably lose Florida and still have about a 40 percent chance of winning. If either candidate were to lose both states, their chances of winning would drop significantly.

Realizing this, Trump has been spending virtually all of his time in Florida over the past few days, holding three rallies across the state just on Wednesday.

During a rally in Pensacola on Wednesday, Trump hit both Clinton and Obama, who he said should stop campaigning for her and get back into the Oval Office to create jobs and keep watch on U.S. borders.

Trump said a Clinton presidency would create an "unprecedented and protracted constitutional crisis." He said her handling of emails while secretary of state would remain an issue throughout her potential administration.

WATCH: Trump Talks of 'Crisis' of Clinton Win

Trump Talks about 'Crisis' of Clinton Win
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FBI Director James Comey said last week he is reviving the email investigation after declaring in July that Clinton was "extremely careless" in her use of a private email server, but her actions showed no criminal intent.

The FBI found emails it says may be germane to the Clinton case while carrying out a separate investigation into former U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner's alleged sexual online relationship with a 15 year-old girl.

Clinton predicted authorities would reach the same conclusion they did in July. "There is no case here," she shouted during a campaign event earlier this week.

Obama reaches out to black voters

Obama, understanding the importance of North Carolina’s electoral votes in the upcoming election, on Wednesday appealed to the state's black voters. Their support for Clinton is "not as solid as it needs to be,” he said.

Early voting numbers show a sharp downturn among black voters compared with four years ago, a concern for the Clinton campaign. Obama won two elections thanks in part to the turnout of black voters.

Speaking with nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner ahead of a campaign event in North Carolina Wednesday, Obama noted black voters' lack of support for Clinton.

“I’m going to be honest with you right now, because we track, we’ve got early voting, we’ve got all kinds of metrics to see what’s going on, and right now, the Latino vote is up. Overall vote is up. But the African-American vote right now is not as solid as it needs to be," Obama said.

In North Carolina, black voters have cast 111,000 fewer ballots than this time in 2012, a drop-off of about 16 percent. Obama admitted that the excitement level seen for him and first lady Michelle Obama hasn’t materialized for Clinton, but said in order to continue his legacy, black voters needed to show up for her.

“You know what? I need everybody to understand that everything we’ve done is dependent on me being able to pass the baton to somebody who believes in the same things that I believe in," he said. "So if you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, then you are going to go and vote."

The president also warned that more than just his legacy was at risk if Trump, who he called "uniquely unqualified," becomes president.

"I ran against John McCain, I ran against Mitt Romney. I thought I would be a better president but I never thought that the republic was at risk if they were elected," Obama said.

WATCH: Obama Calls Trump 'Uniquely Unqualified'

Obama Urges North Carolina to Vote
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