How a candidate closes his or her bid to become president is critically important, even possibly decisive, and right now Hillary Clinton is not closing well. The last impressions voters will have concern two of her most persistent liabilities: the perceived co-mingling of her political and personal interests, as seen almost daily in her campaign’s leaked emails, and now a vivid reminder of her use of a personal email server, with the surprise announcement Friday that the FBI has discovered yet another batch of emails to reignite their supposedly extinguished investigation. These are not the final thoughts Clinton would prefer to impart to undecided voters as they mail in their ballots or get ready to step into voting booths. 

Even before this latest news, the polls were getting a little spooky for the Clinton campaign ahead of Halloween weekend. Her margin in national and some battleground state polls has narrowed. She is still ahead, with many more paths to victory, but the FBI announcement means she is in for a bumpy landing.

My experience in campaigns tells me that this is a moment where the candidate herself will need, once again, to summon some reserves of strength that have been pumped so many times before and that, at this point in the campaign, are probably down to mere fumes. Clinton is exhausted, as is everyone who advises her. The FBI announcement seems both predictable and perverse in its timing. The race seemed to be in the bag. The campaign has done so much so well for so long, and the candidate herself has risen to the main occasions of the debates. But now, like a marathon runner who stumbles across what she thinks is the finish line, the sadistic judge that governs the presidential electoral process has said, “Excuse me, this is not the end. Just a few more miles.”

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