PHOENIX (UPI) — First lady Michelle Obama, speaking in normally red Arizona, said Donald Trump’s strategy is to make the election so nasty it will “take away your hope.”

At a rally in Phoenix on Thursday, Obama encouraged supporters of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton not to give in to Trump’s angry style of campaigning or get discouraged about the state of the race – because that’s part of his plan.

The strategy, she said, is “to make this election so dirty and so ugly that we just turn off the TV and say, ‘We just don’t want any part of it.'”

Obama was particularly critical of Trump’s refusal to say that he would accept the outcome of the election if he were to lose, and his complaints that the election is “rigged.”

“So when you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy and saying this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been decided and you shouldn’t even bother to make your voice heard,” Obama said. “They are trying to take away your hope.”

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If Trump were to reject the election’s outcome, she said “he is threatening the very idea of America itself.”

Obama has been one of the Clinton campaign’s top surrogates in the closing weeks of the campaign – a role she played for her husband, as well. According to the campaign, she drew a crowd of 7,000 in Phoenix, the heart of normally conservative Arizona. Recent polls have suggested Trump’s slide nationally has put the state in play.

The state has only voted for a Democrat once since 1952. Mitt Romney won the state by 9 points in 2012.


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