CINCINNATI — With eight days remaining until Election Day, Hillary Clinton told a crowd of supporters here Monday that the FBI should hurry up and check out the additional emails that agents said they found while investigating the estranged husband of one of her aides.
"Go ahead. Look at them," the Democratic nominee said about the emails that may have been originally housed on a private server she used as secretary of state — a revelation that has thrown the presidential election into turmoil.
"I made a mistake. I'm not making any excuses," Clinton said about not using an official State Department email address. After an investigation that concluded during the summer, FBI Director James Comey called Clinton's treatment of classified material "extremely careless" but did not recommend prosecution.
Now that the bureau is reviewing emails from staffer Huma Abedin's laptop, "I know they’ll reach the same conclusion they reached when they looked at my emails last year," Clinton said Monday. "It wasn’t even a close call. And I think most people have moved on."
In Ohio, a swing state, Clinton is locked in a tight battle with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to a rolling average of state polls. No Republican has reached the White House without winning Ohio, and no Democrat has done so since 1960.
Clinton, who has trailed Trump by a few points in Ohio in the past few months, has led nationally but is seeking to fire up and reassure supporters after the FBI's announcement Friday.
Supporters in Cincinnati indicated Clinton's defense was working.
“It was politically timed," Rabbi Tom Friedmann, 65, of Montgomery, Ohio, said of the FBI's letter to several members of Congress. "If anything, it’s strengthened my support of Hillary. There is no other choice.”
Clinton’s sustained lead nationally and the lack of excitement she engenders among Democrats present a challenge for her campaign as it seeks to turn people out to vote — especially early voters. Democrats in 2012 used early voting to build an insurmountable lead before Election Day.
“(Hillary) is the face of the future," said Isaias Gamboa, 53, of Cincinnati. On the email controversy: "It’s like a gnat. Just shoo it away.”
Many of the people The Enquirer interviewed at Clinton’s rally, where an estimated 2,800 gathered in Smale Riverfront Park in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, indicated they already had voted.
Clinton is seeking to refocus the race after Comey's announcement. The bureau is reviewing emails that could be related to its former investigation of Clinton's private email server, he said without elaborating.
The political world erupted with Democrats insisting he had overstepped his bounds and Republicans — including Trump — warning that Clinton once again could face indictment.
The FBI appears to be focused on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and the estranged husband of Abedin.
It's unclear whether the material on the device is from Clinton. It's also not known if the emails in question are new or duplicates of the thousands the former secretary of state and her aides already have turned over.
So after addressing the emails, Clinton joined other speakers in casting the election in almost apocalyptic terms. She asked supporters to imagine if they don’t vote and Trump is elected:
“The American dream itself is at stake,” she said.
Then Clinton focused on gun control. Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, joined Clinton at the rally.
“Think about the difference between electing a president who will do nothing and a president who will tackle the epidemic of gun violence in America,” Clinton said. In 2011, a gun-wielding assailant nearly assassinated Giffords, and the former congresswoman, who may never fully regain her ability to speak and walk, is an outspoken advocate for stronger gun control policies — policies that Clinton champions.