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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Clinton Speech Sets New Tone, Shows Dems How to Confront Trump

Hillary Clinton turned a corner in San Diego yesterday. She opened up a fierce, broadside attack on Donald Trump that left the GOP’s presidential nominee-apparent sputttering weak cheap shots and resembling a schoolyard bully who just got a fat shiner from a kid half his size.
Clinton’s speech was a genuine masterpiece. It was exceptionally well-written, and brilliantly-delivered. Here it is:

Few who saw Clinton’s speech would doubt that she is more than tough enough to win a one-on-one battle with Trump. She accomplished what President Carter tried and failed to do in 1980 — portray his GOP adversary as dangerously unprepared to conduct U.S. foreign policy and serve as commander in chief.
Credit Clinton’s staff with an impressive job of crafting her speech. Even the optics were compelling, with Clinton delivering her address in front of 19 U.S. flags. Everything about her presentation conveyed the impression that this is a candidate for president who has the gravitas, maturity, judgement and work ethic Americans want in the White House, in very stark contrast to Donald Trump. As Clinton put it in lacerating comments about Trump in her speech:

“He is not just unprepared — he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility,” Clinton said…This isn’t reality television. This is actual reality,” Clinton said as she chided the real estate mogul and political novice for his lack of experience on the world stage.
“He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia…The stakes in global statecraft are infinitely higher and more complex than in the world of luxury hotels…He believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world, which would cause an economic catastrophe far worse than anything we experienced in 2008”

As AP’s Julie Pace observed, “Gone was the wonky, meandering policy speech Clinton has delivered to lukewarm reviews in primary campaign appearances. Instead, she was focused and direct, lacing her remarks on the Islamic State group and Iranian nuclear accord with bumper sticker-worthy slogans about Trump.”
Stephen Collinson and Dan Merica noted at CNN Politics, “She attempted to convince voters that Trump’s ideas are a mix of “bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies.” She lambasted his “bragging” approach to foreign policy based on a string of “nasty tweets” and accused him of harboring a “bizarre” affinity for authoritarian leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Communist rulers of China and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.”
“It wasn’t just an incredibly well written speech, it was arguably Clinton’s most compelling public moment of the entire campaign so far,” said Simon Rosenberg, founder and president of NDN, a Democratic think tank,” quoted in Alex Sewitz-Wald’s nbcnews.com post, “Did Clinton Just Finally Figure Out How to Hit Trump?
Until now, Trump has pretty much dictated presidential campaign news coverage with his daily barrage of tweets, insults and half-baked pronouncements. Clinton’s speech changes that dynamic, challenges the media to provide more thoughtful coverage and shames Republicans who are cowering in Trump’s shadow. She also eloquently challenges American voters to do some serious thinking about what kind of nation and world they want for their families, and to face the danger presented by the Republican’s nominee.

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