Donald Trump has warned that a cloud of investigation will follow Hillary Clinton into the White House, evoking the bitter impeachment battle of the 1990s in a closing campaign argument meant to bring wayward Republicans home.
Ms Clinton and her allies, led by President Barack Obama, told voters to get serious about the dangers of Mr Trump.
As polls show Mr Trump closing in on Mr Clinton in key battleground states, her campaign is rushing to shore up support in some long-standing Democratic strongholds.
That includes the campaign’s Michigan firewall, a remarkable situation for a candidate who looked to be cruising to an easy win just a week ago.
Ms Clinton’s shrinking lead has given Mr Trump’s campaign a glimmer of hope, one he’s trying to broaden into breakthrough before time runs out.
That means courting the moderate Republicans and independents who have been the holdouts of his campaign, voters turned off by his controversies but equally repelled by the possible return of the Clintons.
Mr Trump directed his message at those voters at a rally in Jacksonville, where he zeroed in on questions of Ms Clinton’s trustworthiness and a new FBI review of an aide’s emails.
“Here we go again with the Ms Clintons – you remember the impeachment and the problems.” Mr Trump said. “That’s not what we need in our country, folks. We need someone who is ready to go to work.”
Mr Obama and allies, meanwhile, are seeking to keep the spotlight on Mr Trump, charging that his disparaging comments about women and minorities, and his temperament make him unfit for office.
The stakes are higher than a typical election and Americans need to get serious about the choice, Mr Obama told students at Florida International University in Miami.
“This isn’t a joke. This isn’t Survivor. This isn’t The Bachelorette.” Mr Obama said. “This counts.”
Mr Obama openly taunted the former reality-TV star, zig-zagging from mockery to dire warnings to boasting about his own record in office. And he repeatedly returned to his new campaign catchphrase capturing his disbelief in the unpredictable race to replace him.
“C’mon, man,” he said, to cheers.
The president’s mission in the final push before Tuesday is to fire up the Democratic base – and bait the Republican into veering off message. Democrats are counting on Mr Trump not to have the discipline or the ground game to capitalise on a late surge.
But the famously unconventional Mr Trump has so far hewed closer to convention, running some upbeat ads, bringing out his wife for a rare campaign appearance and even talking publicly about trying not to get distracted.
“We don’t want to blow it on November 8,” Mr Trump said on Thursday at the rally in Jacksonville, his fourth in Florida in two days.