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Trump makes pitch to African-Americans at Roanoke rally

Before an enthusiastic crowd at Roanoke, Virginia's Berglund Center Saturday night, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said his economic plan was all about "jobs, jobs, jobs," and promised he would put "America first, always."

It was Trump's final campaign appearance before Monday night's debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in New York.

Reading primarily from a teleprompter, Trump touched on a wide array of policy issues, and made a special pitch to African-Americans.

Noting Saturday's official opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Trump said “it looked beautiful, and we’re all very proud of that," and that the nation should be proud of the "incredible contribution of the African-American community to our nation.

"I will make sure their success is protected and supported," Trump said.

But Trump went further when he said that he wanted to "make sure every African-American child is included in the American dream," through what he said was the "new civil rights issue of our time — school choice."

Trump said he would go into America's inner cities, which he said were neglected by politicians except during election years.

"I want to go into our neglected neighborhoods and unlock our potential for all our people," Trump said.

"To those African-American and Hispanic voters, vote for Donald Trump. What do you have to lose?" he said.

"I will fight harder for you than anyone has before," Trump said. 

Also addressing the crowd were two current, and one former, members of Virginia's congressional delegation.

Former 5th district Rep. Virgil Goode, who ran as the Constitution Party's presidential nominee in 2012, said, “We don’t need to bring 100,000 refugees in from the Middle East," and "give them free everything.

"We need to take care of our own first," Goode said.

Ninth district Rep. Morgan Griffith said, "It’s a lot easier to say you’re for Trump today than it was five or six months ago when it seemed Hillary was a sure thing to win."

Griffith lashed out at the Clinton campaign's honesty, saying that the former secretary of state "lied" about the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, because the attack occurred during an election year.

"They will tell you lies again this year in order to stop us from getting the White House," Griffith said.

Sixth district Rep. Bob Goodlatte said Clinton's election would mean former President Bill Clinton would be returning to the White House. Goodlatte said the former president “lied, he committed perjury, he was impeached,” by the House due to actions related to his affair with former White House staffer Monica Lewinsky.
 
Trump said he was not "running to be president of the world. I’m running to be President of the United States and turn things around. 

"Everything that is broken today can be fixed," he said. "All we have to do is tune out the naysayers."

Democratic Party of Virginia communications director Emily Bolton said in a Twitter post that, "Trump's messages of hate aren't compatible with Virginia values — plain & simple."

Trump still trails Clinton in Virginia, though some recent polls show the race tightening.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Friday showed Clinton leading Trump in Virginia 45 percent to 39 percent. Quinnipiac's Aug. 17 poll of the state showed Clinton ahead 45 percent to 34 percent.

Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson polled 8 percent in both Quinnipiac polls.

A Roanoke College poll released Thursday showed Clinton ahead of Trump 44 percent to 37 percent, and Johnson at 8 percent.

President Barack Obama won Virginia 51.2 percent to 47.3 percent over Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.