The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Clinton knocks Bush’s ‘Right to Rise’ pitch in National Urban League speech

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the National Urban League's conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida July 31, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking to a mostly African American crowd here Friday morning, decried racial inequality and took an indirect swipe at Republican rival Jeb Bush, who will speak here later in the morning.

"The opportunity gap that America is facing is not just about economic inequality," said Clinton, mentioning the central theme of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders. "It is about racial inequality."

Clinton saved her most pointed criticism for Bush. While she did not mention his name, she called out "Right to Rise," the name of the pro-Bush super PAC operated by his top allies.

"I don't think you can credibly say that everyone has a right to rise and then say you're for phasing out Medicare or for repealing Obamacare," she said. "People can't rise when they can't afford health care."

She added: "And you cannot seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote."

And later: "What people say matters, but what they do matters more."

Clinton made her remarks at the National Urban League's annual conference. In addition to Bush and GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, Democratic rivals Martin O'Malley and Sanders are also speaking at the gathering.

Bush spokesman Tim Miller responded to Clinton, tweeting, "Clintonesque move to pass over chance to unite in favor of a false cheap shot. When you have no record of accomplishment to point to...."

In her speech, Clinton mentioned the Black Lives Matter movement and cited by name Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland and other African Americans whose deaths set off national controversies involving race, gun violence and law enforcement.

"Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind," said Clinton.

Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail

CLEVELAND, OH - On the third day of a bus tour through Pennsylvania and Ohio, Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with running mate Senator Tim Kaine, and Anne Holton, aboard the campaign bus in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday July 31, 2016. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)