• Clinton, Obama rally in Charlotte; Trump takes stage in Raleigh

    By: Jim Bradley , Joe Bruno , Blake Hanson , Liz Foster , Alexa Ashwell

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Thousands chanted "Hillary! Hillary!" as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama took the stage Tuesday at the Charlotte Convention Center in their first joint campaign event.

    The event came hours after FBI Director James Comey announced the findings of the investigation into Clinton's handling of classified material.

    PHOTOS: Clinton-Obama visit Charlotte in first joint campaign event

    Comey said he would not recommend charges against Clinton for her email practices but called her actions "extremely careless." 

    At the campaign event, Obama did not discuss the FBI's findings and encouraged the event's unity theme, saying no man or woman has ever been more qualified to be president than Clinton.

    "I'm here today because I believe in Hillary Clinton. I have had a front-row seat to her judgment and her commitment," Obama said. 

    SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES:  Clinton, Obama campaign in Charlotte Tuesday

    Clinton discussed her "foe-to-friend" relationship with Obama and acknowledged that although the country has made progress during his presidency, the nation still has "work to do."

    "I don't think he gets the credit he deserves for saving our economy. We've added 14 million private sector jobs ... 20 million people now have health care. Clean energy production has soared ... I could go on and on ... That is what leadership looks like," Clinton said.

    She said she plans to make college debt-free for all, community college free and will raise the minimum wage. 

    Clinton said the country must work together to build a future, "not as red states and blue states, but as the United States."

    She emphasized the nation’s progress by saying that none of the founding fathers envisioned a president that looked like Obama or her. 

    Clinton and Obama both criticized presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump during the event. 

    "In America, we don't tear each other down. We build bridges, not walls. We don't call the country we love a disaster or a laughingstock. We know America already is the greatest country on earth," Clinton said. 

    Obama added, "Anybody can tweet, but nobody actually knows what it takes" to be president.

    As the rally began, Trump released a lengthy statement casting her joint appearance with Obama as an example of a "rigged" political system.

    "It was no accident that charges were not recommended against Hillary the exact same day as President Obama campaigns with her for the first time," Trump said.

    Trump held a rally Tuesday evening at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.

    CLICK HERE for more information on Trump’s event.

    Obama said he will continue hitting the campaign trail hard for Clinton between now and November.  

    "I couldn't be prouder than the things we've accomplished together, but I am ready to pass the baton," he said at the end of his remarks.  

    White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, said the Clinton campaign will pay an ordinary share for the cost of the North Carolina trip through the Democratic National Committee.

    The pair stopped at Midwood Smokehouse in Plaza-Midwood after the event, which is about a five-minute drive from the Charlotte Convention Center.

    Related: Obama, Clinton sample NC BBQ after campaign event

    Trump talks jobs, security during speech in Raleigh

    During his speech Tuesday in Raleigh, Donald Trump immediately mentioned what Clinton and Obama did not: The results of the federal investigation into Clinton's personal email while she was secretary of state.

    The FBI did not recommended charges. CLICK HERE to view the full story.

    Trump called the decision evidence the system is rigged.

    “We're talking about the safety of our people. The laws are very explicit. Stupidity is not a reason that you’re going to be innocent,” he said.

    Security, border control and ending ISIS were among Trump's other top talking points.

    He also put an emphasis on jobs.

    “We're going to bring jobs back to North Carolina, we're going to bring jobs back to our country. It's going to be America first,” he said.

    Democrats focus on North Carolina as battleground state

    Anchor Brittney Johnson investigated how the campaign event impacted North Carolina's role in national politics, and elections like the governor's race.

    The crowd chanted “stronger together,” encompassing the theme of the event and the message democrats are sending at the national and state levels.

    "We're going to fight for every vote in this state, and with your help, we're going to win it," Clinton said.  

    Representative Alma Adams joined other state lawmakers and candidates, who used their time at the podium to emphasize the significance of the campaign stop.

    The stop also raised North Carolina's profile as a key battleground state.

    Voters handed President Obama victory in 2008 and barely pushed Republican Mitt Romney ahead in 2012.

    Clinton is leading Trump in the latest poll by 6 points, but the show of unity goes beyond the presidential race.

    Attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, Roy Cooper, who launched his first TV ads Tuesday, hopes the momentum from the event will help candidates turn the White House and the statehouse blue.

    “They chose our state to campaign together for the first time because they know we can win this state,” Cooper said.  

    The timing of the visit is also critical, as many voters mentioned the state is dealing with HB2, which is also a becoming a national issue.

    Local Democratic Party leaders told Channel 9 that between HB2 and the high-profile event, they're seeing an unprecedented amount of campaign volunteers. 

    GOP reaction

    The North Carolina GOP is calling for the president to stop campaigning with Hillary Clinton.

    The chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party criticized President Obama for campaigning for Secretary Clinton while she is under investigation by his administration.

    North Carolina GOP officials traveled to Charlotte Tuesday morning ahead of President Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Clinton's visit to the Queen City.

    Channel 9 spotted a few demonstrators outside the U.S. Attorney's office, where a news conference was held where Chairman Robin Hayes spoke before FBI officials announced they would not be recommending charges against Clinton.

    Hayes said he wouldn't be surprised by that outcome, and told Channel 9 he thinks Clinton worked out a deal with the Obama administration so that she wouldn't face charges.

    "The evidence grows and grows,” Hayes said. “This is wrong, this is unfair. This is influenced by a sitting president used to create an advantage for a presidential candidate. That is wrong any way you slice it.”

    Hayes also defended Governor Pat McCrory and Senator Richard Burr for not attending Donald Trump's rally Tuesday night in Raleigh, saying the NC GOP is not 100 percent united behind the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, but that things are improving.

    North Carolina 

    North Carolina has 15 electoral votes in the 2016 election.

    The state voted for Obama for president in 2008 and for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

    The Associated Press contributed to the story. 

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