Hillary Clinton made a dramatic final plea for America to prove that “love trumps hate” just hours before the country goes to the polls today.
Speaking early this morning in the battleground state of North Carolina, Mrs Clinton urged Americans to vote in one of the most bitterly contested elections in US history and preached a message of inclusivity.
Dressed in red, her voice hoarse after a final blitz through three key states, she finished with a thinly veiled dig at her Republican opponent Donald Trump, saying: “We have to bridge the divides in this country. I want to be president for all of America. I want to be president for everyone.”
Referring to Mr Trump’s controversial plan to build a border wall with Mexico, she said she wanted to lead “an America where we build bridges not walls and where we prove conclusively that yes, love trumps hate.
“None of us want to wake up on Wednesday morning and wish we’d done more.”
Mr Trump addressed his final rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan – his fifth state yesterday in a whirlwind eleventh hour attempt to pull off a surprise victory – by telling supporters they were at the “crossroads of history” on their “independence day.”
“When you step in that voting booth today there is one core question to consider – do you want America to be ruled by the corrupt political class or do you want America to be ruled by you, the people?
“Today the American working class is going to strike back,” he added.
On an exhausting final day of a long and contentious campaign, the candidates chased one another across swing states in the hope of pressing home a crucial advantage.
The approach of the rival candidates in their last 24 hours on the stump was very different.
After weeks of attempting to tear down her brash, billionaire opponent, Mrs Clinton sought to shift her message and adopt a more presidential tone, stressing national unity over personal attacks.
Mr Trump kept his campaign down and dirty, branding Mrs Clinton the “face of failure” and predicting he would blow her away when the votes are counted later tonight.
Both candidates finally wrapped up the final day of their campaigns in the early hours.
Mr Trump had raced through Sarasota, Florida, Raleigh, North Carolina, Scranton, Pennsylvania, Manchester, New Hampshire and Grand Rapids, Michigan, while Mrs Clinton held rallies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Grand Rapids, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Raleigh.
First blood has already gone to the former First Lady, who came out on top in tiny Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, where eight residents cast their midnight votes in an election day tradition.
Four votes went to Mrs Clinton, two to Mr Trump, one to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and the final voter wrote in the beaten 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
But there was still a long way to go before either candidate could claim victory in New Hampshire, let alone secure the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency.
If the White House could be won on star support, Mrs Clinton would win hands down.
Hillary Clinton v Donald Trump: US Presidential Election
She met up with her husband Bill and her daughter Chelsea in Philadelphia. They were joined at the outdoor event attended by 33,000 people across from Independence Hall by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and musicians Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
At the later event in Raleigh, North Carolina, Mrs Clinton shared the stage with pop singer Lady Gaga, who said: “We can’t elect somebody that doesn’t care for the people. We can only elect somebody who does.”
In Philadelphia, an energised Mrs Clinton said the nation is facing a clear choice today – “a choice between division and unity.
“Between an economy that works for everyone or only those at the top. Between a strong leadership or a loose cannon who could put everything at risk.”
Mr Obama delivered a stirring speech supporting the woman he beat for the Democratic candidacy back in 2008, hailing “this fighter, this stateswoman, this mother, this grandmother, this patriot – our next president of the United States of America.”
He urged Americans to “reject a politics of resentment and a politics of blame and choose a politics that says we are stronger together,” and to “reject fear and choose hope” on Election Day.
“’I’ve been reading about Hillary Clinton having all these surrogates,” Mr Trump said at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“I had the best surrogates of all,” he added, introducing his adult children, Tiffany, Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka. His wife, Melania, was noticeably absent.
While Mr Obama campaigned on a message of change in 2008 and 2012, this time around it is Mr Trump who is claiming to be the game changer.
“Everybody is thirsting, thirsting for change,” he said in Pennsylvania.
He told supporters in North Carolina that the election result would be as big an upset as the EU referendum in the UK, saying, “I think it’s going to be Brexit plus plus plus.”
Both candidates will be casting their own votes before settling down to wait for the votes to come in state-by-state. All 435 House of Representatives seats in US Congress are up for re-election, plus 34 Senate seats and 12 Governorships