Hillary Clinton, on the final Saturday of the 2016 presidential race, relied on a legion of surrogates and A-list entertainers to help make closing arguments, while Republican rival Donald Trump reveled again in the status of his outsider, go-it-alone campaign.
“We don't need Jay-Z to fill up arenas,” Trump said in Tampa, Florida, the first of his four rallies Saturday, three days before Election Day. “We do it the old-fashioned way, folks. We fill them up because you love what we're saying and you want to make America great again.”
Trump -- estranged from much of the Washington establishment that he’s vowed to dismantle if elected -- was on the campaign trail alone Saturday with the exception of vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence.
The Indiana GOP governor and former congressman has been a steady, reliable running mate for the unpredictable Trump, holding together the Republicans’ conservative base, even on the worst days of Trump’s 18-month campaign.
Pence, in fact, campaigned Saturday in Wisconsin with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who vowed in early October that he would no longer campaign for Trump, after the release of a 2005 audiotape in which Trump is heard bragging about kissing and fondling women without their consent.
“When Donald Trump says he’s going to repeal ObamaCare, we are ready. We are willing, and we are able,” the Wisconsin congressman and leader of the Republican-controlled House said at rally with Pence in Mukwonago, Wis.
“I voted for Donald Trump and every Republican I saw on the ballot,” offered Ryan, among the Republicans who appear to have put party unity above their differences with Trump, as the race tightens and appears potentially winnable for the GOP.
Fox News confirmed Saturday that Ryan told reporters earlier in the day that he would have campaigned with Trump in the state this weekend, but the event was cancellled.
A Fox News poll released Friday shows Trump now trailing Clinton 43-to-45 percent, while the nominees remain within a few percentage points of each other in Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and a few other battleground states that will decide the race.
Early-voting results from some of the those states show Clinton appearing to have a slight lead in Florida and with Hispanic voters, including those in Nevada.
However, early voting among African-Americans, who have in recent decades voted consistently for Democrats, appears down compared to their record numbers when they helped elect President Obama, the country’s first black president, in 2008 and 2012.
Early, in-person voting in North Carolina ended Saturday.
Clinton headlined two battleground-state rallies Saturday and again relied on star power to help her with younger voters.
She began with an outdoor rally in South Florida to appeal to the region’s large black and immigrant population -- including Cubans, Columbians and other Latinos. And she will close with a rally in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with recording artist Katy Perry.
“In case you didn’t notice last night, I got to say I was with Jay Z and Beyonce,” Clinton said at the Florida rally, which was ended by rain after about five minutes. “It was the most extraordinary show. When a famous entertainer tells you I want to support you and do a show, it’s such a gift.”
Clinton is expected to be joined Sunday by NBA star LeBron James in Cleveland, Ohio, where Jay Z and Beyonce performed.
Meanwhile, Obama will return to Florida to help his former secretary of state, who if elected would be the country’s first female president.
Trump on Saturday slammed the Clinton campaign for letting Jay Z rap a profanity-laced song at the Friday night rally.
“He used every word in the book. Can you imagine if I said that?” Trump, whom the Clinton campaign and others have criticized for using racially and otherwise insensitive language, said in Tampa.
“That shows you the phoniness of politicians, the whole system. … In three days, we are going to win Florida. We are going to win the White House.”
Clinton has been the front-runner from the start of the race against first-time candidate Trump.
The race, like others in recent presidential election cycles, will be decided by the handful of so-called battleground states, in which voters could go for the Democratic or Republican nominee, with the remaining 50 or so states solidly Democratic or Republican.
Trump on Saturday was also in battleground North Carolina before heading to Nevada and Colorado. He announced in Tampa that he would visit liberal-leaning Minnesota before the polls close Tuesday.
Vice President Joe Biden held two rallies for Clinton in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
Clinton running-mate Virginia Gov. Tim Kane hosts three events in Florida, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will rally for Clinton in Iowa.