"I actually think Staten Island values are New York values, and New York values are American values,” Clinton said at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden.
The line refers most directly to comments made by Cruz, who once took a swipe at the “New York values” of his opponent, Trump.
But Trump was just as much a focus of Clinton’s remarks, which featured a long riff on the dangers of divisiveness.
“I’ve got no problem with people having political disagreements, that’s in America’s DNA, isn’t it,” she said. “What I absolutely worry about is deliberate efforts to set Americans against each other."
In her roughly 30-minute speech, Clinton reflected on the shared experience of New Yorkers after Sept. 11, 2001, a theme that has played an outsize role in her campaign in this, her adopted home state.
Clinton told the crowd that bipartisanship shouldn’t be a dirty word. After 9/11, she recalled telling President George W. Bush that New York would need $20 billion to rebuild and aid families.
“He said: ‘You’ve got it,’ ” Clinton said. “Despite intense Republican pressure to back down.”
“I publicly say, 'Thank you, President George W. Bush, for making sure we got the money that we needed to rebuild our city,' ” Clinton said.
She added: “I have no time for people who are partisan for the sake of being partisan."
Clinton’s brief visit to the least-populous borough came just hours after Trump campaigned here at the Richmond County Republican Party Lincoln Day Lunch.
She noted, however, that although Staten Islanders — like many others in the state — were skeptical of her when she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000, they came around to strongly supporting her in 2006.
“When I ran in 2000, I didn’t carry Staten Island,” she said. “When I ran in 2006, I did.”
It was a testament, Clinton implied, to the voters here being willing to support a candidate who had worked for them, despite their political affiliation.
As Tuesday’s New York primary approaches, Clinton has grown increasingly frustrated by her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who has upped his criticism of her in recent weeks. Sanders’s supporters have correspondingly increased their protests at Clinton events and fundraisers.
Meanwhile, Clinton has criticized Sanders as being seemingly unprepared to answer questions about his signature issue: breaking up the big banks.
Clinton acknowledged that she has been derided as being “boring” for talking too much about policy and not doing enough to reflect the anger and frustration of voters. (“Oh, there she goes with her plans,” Clinton said, lowering her voice to mock her critics.)
"I am sick and tired of people running for president who view our country through a negative lens,” she said. “It is not enough to diagnose a problem, a lot of people can do that."
“We need people who can roll up their sleeves and get to work on solutions,” she added.
Earlier in the day, Clinton campaigned up and down New York and the surrounding areas. She visited an African American church in Westchester, attended block parties in Washington Heights and Brooklyn, and even did a little dance to a little Merengue music.
Clinton is looking for a decisive win in Brooklyn, not only to blunt Sanders's case that he still has a path to the Democratic nomination, but also to send a message to the Republican field.
“Tuesday is really important to send a message — a message that we’re going forward together, that we’re rejecting the mean-spiritedness and hate-filed demagoguery, that we’re going to work together, roll up our sleeves, and keep going into the future," she said in Brooklyn.