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Fresh from DNC, Hillary Clinton heads to the Rust Belt

Rallying in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Donald Trump says: ‘Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy’


 
Donald Trump, left, and Hillary CLinton give their respective victory speeches on Super Tuesday. (AP)

Donald Trump, left, and Hillary Clinton. (AP)

PHILADELPHIA — Fresh off a spirited convention, Hillary Clinton told prospective voters Friday they face a “stark choice” in November and pressed ahead with the scalding rhetoric against her Republican rival that marked many of the speeches in Philadelphia. Donald Trump denounced her convention speech as “full of lies” and said he’s starting to agree with those calling for Clinton to be locked up.

The celebratory mood of this week’s Democratic convention spilled over into Friday as Clinton boarded her blue campaign bus, wrapped with the slogan “Stronger Together,” to open a three-day bus tour through the Rust Belt battlegrounds of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The effort to portray Trump as unfit for the presidency carried over, too.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that every election is important in its own way, but I can’t think of an election that was more important in my lifetime,” Clinton told thousands of supporters in a West Philadelphia arena. “It’s not so much that I’m on the ticket, it’s because of the stark choice that’s posed to Americans in this election.”

She said she had “a really late night” after her speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. “It was just hard to go to sleep.”

Rallying in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Trump at times seemed to brush off the fierce Democratic criticism, which went so far as to question his sanity. Sounding more like a pundit than the subject of all the vitriol, he pronounced her speech “so average” and “full of cliches.” But he grew harsher as his event went on.

“Remember this,” he said, “Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy.” And for the first time he encouraged his crowd’s anti-Clinton chants of “lock her up.”

“I’ve been saying let’s just beat her on November 8,” he said, “but you know what? I’m starting to agree with you.”

Polls find that most Americans question Clinton’s honesty. But in her convention speech and her first events afterward, her priority was to go after Trump, not ask for trust.

Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, running mate Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain.

“We don’t resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets,” said Clinton, addressing local officials and employees on the factory floor.

Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, as states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and was perhaps a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity.

Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation.

Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Barack Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men rawn to Trump’s message.

Democrats contrasted their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine told CNN he found the Republican gathering “dark and depressing.’

The convention provided hours of glowing tributes to Clinton, including deeply personal testimonials from her husband, daughter Chelsea Clinton and Obama.

And Clinton offered an open hand to backers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her primary season rival, saying, “I’ve heard you. Your cause is our cause.” But Trump said Friday that Sanders “sold his soul to the devil” when he — unlike some of his loudly protesting supporters — threw his support behind Clinton.


 

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