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As Trump Is Mired In Controversy, Clinton Campaigns In Red States


So much has changed since last month, September, when Democrat Hillary Clinton was facing questions about emails, her transparency and a case of pneumonia. She still faces questions, but she's in a much stronger position. And she's taking time away from campaigning to prepare for tomorrow's final debate. NPR's Tamara Keith covers the Clinton campaign and joins us now. Good morning.


MONTAGNE: How confident is the Clinton campaign?

KEITH: Well, Hillary Clinton told New York Times Magazine that she's, quote, "not going to lose," which is maybe what every candidate says, but her campaign is also making moves that would indicate that their internal numbers agree. She's heading off to Nevada today for more debate prep, but she's been off the trail for several days. In her stead, there have been some really high-profile surrogates, including, today, Bernie Sanders and Chelsea Clinton are both campaigning for Clinton in Arizona - yeah, that Arizona, red...


KEITH: ...Republican Arizona. Her campaign plans to spend $2 million in that state in the final weeks. And actually, the Arizona race is within the margin of error in polls. The campaign is also watching Georgia and Utah. And there's another state where the Clinton campaign has an ad running. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: She deserves your vote at this moment in time for Texas and America. Hillary for president.

MONTAGNE: Hillary in Texas - Tam.

KEITH: Yeah, so they are...

MONTAGNE: (Laughter) Do she have a chance?

KEITH: So they are definitely trying to expand the map, though I will say that this is just a one-week ad buy. It might be more of an experiment than anything else because Texas is definitely still in the Republican column.

MONTAGNE: So even though the Clinton campaign appears to be in a position of strength, they have plenty of negative headlines of their own. And the email controversy is not going away. I mean, the FBI released some notes from that investigation yesterday. And what did we learn from that?

KEITH: This is just the latest release of notes from the investigation into Clinton's private email server. It includes interviews with what seemed to be a couple of different people at the FBI who say they felt pressure from a high-level person at the State Department to change the classification of one particular email that came from Clinton's private email server. And there was a mention of a possible quid pro quo to change the classification level. But both agencies strenuously deny this.

The people at the FBI, they say, weren't involved in the later investigation into her server, and Clinton's campaign said they didn't know anything about these conversations at the time. Plus, the classification didn't actually happen, and the FBI didn't get what it was asking for either. So it looks like there was neither a quid nor a quo. But it is another story with Hillary Clinton's email, and Donald Trump is trying to capitalize on it. He's lashing out at the media for paying more attention to his sex scandals than this. He put out a video yesterday. And congressional Republicans are promising more hearings even after the election.

MONTAGNE: And certainly when Trump and Clinton are face to face at their debate tomorrow, she is going to have to answer questions about that.

KEITH: That and also WikiLeaks, the hack of her campaign chairman's email has led to a slow-roll of revelations being released by WikiLeaks, including over the weekend, what they say are transcripts of the paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs. Those speeches were not nearly as critical of Wall Street as she has been publicly on the campaign trail. But in some ways, those releases have only confirmed what people thought about her already.

MONTAGNE: Tamara, thanks very much.

KEITH: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Tamara Keith is readying to fly to Las Vegas with the Clinton campaign ahead of tomorrow night's final debate, which many NPR stations will air live, hosted by NPR's Robert Siegel. And we will be fact-checking that debate in real time at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
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