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US candidate Hillary Clinton makes first campaign appearance with Michelle Obama

The two women emerged as something of a dynamic duo to make the case for Clinton's ascent to the White House. Clinton appears to have an edge in most of the swing states but Trump remains within striking distance.

Hillary Clinton made her first campaign appearance with first lady Michelle Obama, who has emerged as a powerful advocate for the former secretary of state, senator and first lady who is seeking to become the United States' first female president.

Their joint appearance at a campaign rally in the critical swing state of North Carolina drew an estimated 11,000 people, according to the fire marshal, making it one of the largest crowds to attend a Clinton campaign appearance.

"Seriously, is there anyone more inspiring than Michelle Obama" Clinton asked, and the crowd responded with boisterous cheers.

Obama reciprocated and referred to Clinton as "my girl" while reassuring the crowd that her support was not just political, but personal.

The first lady initially emerged as a powerful supporter for Clinton at the summer's Democratic nominating convention and then, again, earlier this month with the compelling comments she made in response to revelations of Republican candidate Donald Trump's vulgar comments about women.

"Yes, Hillary Clinton is my friend," Obama said, although the two have not been known to be especially close. The two women spoke of their mutual respect, shared values and their common goal - defeating Trump.

High stakes election

Obama acknowledged her reluctance to stand in the political spotlight but, she said, the stakes were too high to not take an active role.

"We want a president who takes this job seriously, and has the temperament and maturity to do it well. Someone who is steady. Someone who we can trust with the nuclear codes," Obama said. "I believe with all of my heart that Hillary Clinton will be that president."

The rally was aimed primarily at getting young people and women out to vote, and Clinton reminded voters of the importance of the elections.

"I wish I didn't have to say this. ... But indeed, dignity and respect for women and girls is also on the ballot in this election," Clinton told the crowd. "And I want to thank our first lady for her eloquent, powerful defense of that basic value."

US Präsidentschaftkandidat Donald Trump (picture alliance/dpa/EFE/G. Viera)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump

Meanwhile Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was campaigning in Ohio, a state that is absolutely critical to his chances of winning the White House.

He once again chastised Clinton for her tough stance against Russia's authoritarian leader Vladimir Putin. "She speaks very badly of Putin, and I don't think that's smart," Trump told a crowd of thousands, adding that Russia has nuclear weapons. "How do you speak so badly of someone" he asked?

The Clinton campaign jumped on Trump's comments and said, through a spokesman, they would "stand up to Putin in the face of his unacceptable behavior and not coddle him."

Trump also continued to hammer Clinton over the flow of donations into the Clinton Foundation, a charitable organization. He has alleged it is a corrupt scheme in which donations have been made in exchange for access, citing a daily release of thousands of stolen emails from the foundation by WikiLeaks.

"The more emails WikiLeaks releases, the more the lines between the Clinton Foundation, the secretary of state's office, and the Clintons' personal finances are blurred," Trump told thousands of supporters.

Despite Trump's allegations, the leaked emails have not shown that anyone received any special access as a result of a donation.

bik/jm (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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