Clinton makes appeal to Republican voters
Portraying a vote for her as a patriotic act, Hillary Clinton made a vigorous appeal to Republican voters Wednesday, arguing that she would best uphold American values, care for the military and protect national security interests.
At the American Legion’s annual convention in Cincinnati, the Democratic presidential nominee called the United States an “exceptional nation” and accused Republican rival Donald Trump of thinking that approach is “insulting to the rest of the world.”
“When we say America is exceptional, it doesn’t mean that people from other places don’t feel deep national pride just like we do,” Clinton said. “It means that we recognize America’s unique and unparalleled ability to be a force for peace and progress, a champion for freedom and opportunity.”
She said America must be a leader in the world, “because when America fails to lead, we leave a vacuum.”
The speech came as Trump made a last-minute trip to Mexico hours before he was to deliver a long-expected immigration speech. Clinton questioned the move, saying it “takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours.”
Clinton, who has an edge in many state and national polls, has been aggressively courting Republicans and independents who won’t vote for Trump but are still discomfited by her campaign.
She stressed to the American Legion her experience on the Senate Armed Services Committee and as secretary of state and noted her role in advising President Barack Obama on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, saying she was “deeply honored” to take part.
The speech was touted as one that would emphasize “American exceptionalism,” an idea that the U.S., as an “exceptional” world citizen, has a moral obligation to advance democracy in the world rather than imposing it against another country’s will. The speech largely hewed to the theme of a country with a strong military and one that cares for its veterans – red meat to the American Legion audience.
Offering insight into her foreign policy, Clinton said, “We can’t cozy up to dictators; we have to stand up to them. We can’t contain ISIS, we must defeat them, and we will.”