The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s address focused on largely familiar proposals, including measures to make college debt-free, increase corporate profit-sharing, expand access to child care and ensure that large companies and the “super rich” pay their “fair share” of taxes.
“I will not raise taxes on the middle class,” Clinton said, recounting the difficulties that families in North Carolina have making ends meet, particularly those with children.
The summation of Clinton’s agenda, rolled out in pieces throughout the Democratic nominating contest, was intended to provide a contrast to what she derided as “flashy slogans” from Trump — and to reinforce the notion that Clinton is offering progressive solutions as she seeks to court skeptical supporters of her Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Clinton, a former senator from New York who has been criticized by Sanders and others for her ties to Wall Street, pledged to build on reforms of the financial sector. She also promised to “say no to bad trade deals,” including the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership, a high-profile target of Sanders.
And in a speech billed as an economic address, Clinton said she would also work to get “dark money” out of politics, another priority for the senator from Vermont and his supporters, who see the political system as rigged in favor of the “billionaire class.”
Seeking to contrast her concrete plans with those of Trump, Clinton chided him for having no strategy to rebuild the country’s infrastructure besides building a wall along the Mexican border.
Clinton portrayed herself as someone who would work across the aisle as president to get things done, citing her efforts as first lady to create the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which she said was accomplished with the help of Republicans.
“We need to make Washington work much better,” Clinton said. She acknowledged that her agenda could be difficult to push through Congress but offered an optimistic note, saying, “I really think progress is possible.”
In a race in which both candidates have been hobbled by high negative ratings, Trump delivered a blistering speech hours earlier Wednesday in New York in which he painted Clinton as a politician who had personally profited off her public service and was unfit for higher office.
“He’s going after me personally because he has no answers,” Clinton said toward the end of her nearly 50-minute remarks. “All he can do is try to distract us.”
She accused Trump of peddling “outlandish lies and conspiracy theories.”
On Tuesday, during an appearance in Columbus, Ohio, Clinton attacked Trump on what the real estate mogul has touted as his greatest strength: his business background. Her speech blended criticism of Trump’s economic policy positions with a recitation of some of his failed financial ventures. Aides billed Wednesday’s speech as the second in a “one-two punch.”
Clinton’s speech Wednesday was her second in two days staged in a general-election battleground state, destinations her campaign has made a greater priority than Trump.
In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) narrowly defeated Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in North Carolina. In 2012, President Obama lost the state to Republican Mitt Romney by a narrow margin.
In introductory remarks, former four-term North Carolina governor Jim Hunt said Clinton was the kind of politician residents of his state appreciate. “In North Carolina, we put our stock in doers, not big talkers,” Hunt said. “Hillary Clinton is doer. She doesn’t play a doer on TV.”