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Clinton, Trump clash in final campaign stretch

Reuters

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton joins Jay Z and Beyonce onstage at a campaign concert in Cleveland on Friday.

Reuters CLEVELAND/HERSHEY, Pa. (Reuters) — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump battled over the strength of the economy in the final stretch of their race for the White House on Friday, with Clinton praising the latest U.S. jobs report and Trump dismissing it as a fraudulent disaster.

With four days left in an often bitter contest that has tightened in the past week, each candidate attacked the other as unfit to be president in a late push for votes in battleground states that could decide the outcome in Tuesday’s election.

Clinton leads Trump by 5 percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released on Friday, maintaining her advantage in the national survey even as the race tightens in several crucial swing states.

In the Oct. 30-Nov. 3 opinion poll, 44 percent of likely voters supported Clinton while 39 percent supported Trump.

Clinton wrapped up her day of campaigning with a nighttime concert in Cleveland headlined by rapper Jay Z. He was joined by rappers Big Sean, Chance the Rapper, and J. Cole, and by his wife, popular singer Beyonce, as a surprise guest.

“We have unfinished work to do, more barriers to break, and with your help, a glass ceiling to crack once and for all,” Clinton said at the concert.

At his final rally of the day in Pennsylvania, Trump mocked Clinton for her celebrity supporters. “I am here all by myself. Just me, no guitar, no piano, no nothing,” he said.

Earlier in the day at a rally in Pittsburgh, Clinton cited the government’s latest jobs report as evidence of the economy’s strength. The report showed higher wages for workers as well as the creation of 161,000 jobs in October and a dip in the unemployment rate to 4.9 percent from 5 percent.

“I believe our economy is poised to really take off and thrive,” Clinton told the gathering, after being introduced by billionaire investor Mark Cuban. “When the middle class thrives, America thrives.”

Trump disputed Clinton’s rosy view, telling a crowd in New Hampshire that the jobs report was “an absolute disaster” and was skewed by the large number of people who have stopped looking for jobs and are no longer in the labor market.

“Nobody believes the numbers anyway. The numbers they put out are phony,” he said, referring to the figures released by the U.S. Labor Department.Speech

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