Hillary Clinton has been content in recent weeks to sit back and let Donald Trump be the news, allowing him to make his own bold claims and be the focal point of the campaign.
The roles were reversed on Thursday.
During a speech in Reno, Nev., Clinton went big. And she almost seemed to take a page out of Trump’s playbook, using bold claims and the power of suggestion to paint a dark picture of a Donald Trump who isn't just an unwitting bigot, but rather someone deliberately advocating racist policies and fomenting extremism in the United States.
"Trump’s lack of knowledge or experience or solutions would be bad enough," Clinton said. "But what he’s doing here is more sinister."
She said Trump is a man with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination in his business dealings, who is "reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters."
She said people who are thinking it's all bluster and that he might change his ways are hoping against hope.
"But the hard truth is, there’s no other Donald Trump," she said. "This is it."
She also made some particularly bold claims, including suggesting Trump might retaliate against slights on social media by using the military.
And she didn't give any indication that she meant to be hyperbolic.
"So when a tweet gets under his skin and he wants to retaliate with a cruise missile, maybe cooler heads will be there to convince him not to," she said. She punctuated the remark by saying: "Maybe."
Clinton even cited an African-American Muslim Olympian who won a medal in fencing, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and suggested she might be expelled from the United States under a Trump administration.
Trump has talked regularly abut temporarily banning Muslims from immigrating to the United States, not deporting them. But Clinton suggested it’s an open question.
"Would she even have a place in Donald Trump’s America?" Clinton asked.
Clinton also brought up a hypothetical situation in which an immigrant coming to the United States would be made to prove they aren’t a Muslim.
And then she suggested the only parallel for such a religious test is the Islamic State. She summed it up by saying that Trump’s policy would "equate" the United States with terrorists.
"Come to think of it, there actually may be one other place that does that: The so-called Islamic State — the territory that ISIS controls," Clinton said. "What a would be a cruel irony that someone running for president would equate us with them."
The speech, of course, came after the Clinton campaign released a video earlier Thursday showing white nationalists and supremacists, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, praising Trump. It was very much a guilt-by-association attack on Trump.
Clinton is clearly drawing some lines and connecting some dots here — really in much the same way Trump does. And in doing so, she made clear that she is not giving Trump the benefit of the doubt on any of this stuff going forward.
She did just about everything, in fact, except say "Donald Trump is an unrepentant racist."
And in a campaign increasingly full of suggestions — including most recently about her health — and bold claims -- including most recently Trump calling Clinton a "bigot" -- Clinton served notice that she won’t be unilaterally disarming.
"Now, some people will say that his bluster and bigotry is just overheated campaign rhetoric — an outrageous person saying outrageous things for attention," she said. "But look at the policies Trump has proposed: They would put prejudice into practice."