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Detroit — Democrat Hillary Clinton said Friday that she will be an agent of change if elected president as she attacked Republican rival Donald Trump as disqualified to be president.

The former secretary of state’s stop into Detroit four days before Election Day underscored how the presidential race in Michigan has intensified in the final week of a grueling campaign.

“You have to vote. Our progress is on the line,” said Clinton, urging a crowd of more than 4,100 people packed into Eastern Market’s Shed 3 to go to the polls on Tuesday. “Everything that’s happened up until this point is on the line.”

Although President Barack Obama supports her candidacy as a continuation of his legacy, Clinton said her administration would be different, especially compared with Trump’s agenda.

“There will be change,” Clinton said. “The question is, what kind of change?”

“If my opponent were to win, we’d have a president who’s only ever been in it for himself,” she later added.


Hillary Clinton fires up the crowd to vote, talks about the preparation she puts in for the job of president. Steve Perez, The Detroit News

Clinton used the 30-minute speech to rally supporters four days before Election Day while acknowledging “it has been a really tough campaign.”

“But I’ll tell you what, Michigan, you can make the difference,” she said.

After the speech, Clinton’s caravan headed to Dearborn for an unannounced visit to Miller’s bar on Michigan Avenue, where she took numerous photos with supporters. Her campaign staff ordered hamburgers to go at the popular Dearborn watering hole where customers still pay through the honor system.

Back in Detroit, the former secretary of state hit a broad range of issues — from education to federal partnerships with cities like Detroit and clean water.

She briefly returned to criticizing the lead-contaminated water in Flint that happened under the Republican administration of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, whose environmental department experts didn’t insist on corrosion controls when the Genesee County city switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River in April 2014.

“What happened in Flint, Michigan, should not be normal or acceptable,” she said. “Our kids should be guaranteed clean air and water.”

In Warren on Monday, Trump made more pointed criticism of the Flint water crisis, blaming it on “incompetent politicians” without naming anyone.

Clinton, if elected, said she wants voters to hold her accountable for promises for improving the nation’s health care, schools and critical infrastructure.

Clinton said she wants voters to hold her accountable for promises if elected.

“I believe in making lists,” she said. “Maybe it’s a woman thing.”

Duggan slams FBI chief

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan kicked off the rally after 4 p.m. Friday with a warning to Democrats that Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey’s decision to reopen a probe into Clinton’s State Department emails could change “the course” of the election.

Duggan, a former Wayne County prosecutor, criticized Comey’s decision to publicly disclose a new review of emails that may be related to Clinton’s controversial private email server.

“I never thought I’d see the day when the head of the FBI, the week before an election, doesn’t say they have an indictment, doesn’t say we have an investigation, just says we have things to review and changes the course of an election,” Duggan said. “And you say the other guy is claiming the election is rigged. I don’t get it.”

Detroit’s mayor, whose anti-blight home demolition program was halted in mid-August for two months and remains under federal investigation, also emphasized the election is close in Michigan.

“Here’s the truth: I looked at the numbers and Michigan could decide the election,” Duggan said. “It is possible Michigan is this year’s Florida.”

Trump has made a late play to flip Michigan in his column. The Great Lakes State hasn’t sided with a Republican presidential candidate since the 1988 election of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.


Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, speaking at a rally in Detroit's Eastern Market. says three challenges facing the nation are making the economy work for everyone, strength and security, and bringing the country together. Steve Perez, The Detroit News

Duggan and other Democratic Party officials warmed up the crowd, highlighting Clinton’s career of public service and portraying Trump as unfit to occupy the White House.

“Donald Trump is all about fear, all about hate speech, all about reckless, ignorant behavior,” said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.

Clinton also railed against Trump’s portrayal of America in decline, economically and militarily.

“I have to say, when I hear my opponent talk America, I don’t recognize the country he’s talking about,” Clinton said. “It’s so divisive, so hateful. That is not the America that I believe in. ... We believe in an America that’s big-hearted, not small-minded.”

Kassem Allie, 58, of Dearborn said he believes Trump has run a divisive campaign in proposing a ban on Muslim immigrants from countries with ties to terrorism.

“I believe that Hillary Clinton actually is the person that will heal the wounds that have been created by this campaign,” Allie said before Clinton’s rally.

Supporters rally for candidates

Clinton made the latest trip to the Democratic stronghold of Detroit since John Kerry was in the Motor City the day before the 2004 election against incumbent Republican President George W. Bush.

Kerry carried Michigan by about 3 percentage points but still lost the election that year to Bush.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, boiled his argument for Clinton over Trump down to eight words: “Progress with Hillary, backwards with the other guy.”

Clinton’s visit to Detroit is her second in the past four weeks of the campaign and follows Trump’s campaign rallies Monday in Grand Rapids and Warren. The Trump campaign also sent surrogates to Michigan to campaign on his behalf this week.

GOP vice presidential candidate Mike Pence rallied supporters Friday morning in Lansing and will be in Holland Saturday morning.

Eric Trump, one of Trump’s three sons, ended a day of campaigning Friday along the I-75 corridor with a stop at a Detroit factory about four miles away from the Clinton rally. Eric Trump also visited an indoor shooting range in Taylor, emphasizing his father’s support for the Second Amendment.

Stabenow closed her speech by emphasizing the historical importance of electing Clinton the nation’s first female president.

“This Tuesday, we have the chance for the first time in our country’s history to truly show — not tell — show every little girl that just like her brother she can dream the biggest of dreams and make them happen in America,” Stabenow said.

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Twitter: @ChadLivengood

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