Hillary Clinton fired up Charlotte campaign volunteers Monday by contrasting this week’s Democratic National Convention to a Republican convention that “took bigotry and fear to a new level.”
Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, spoke for 20 minutes to several hundred volunteers at NoDa’s Neighborhood Theatre after her appearance before a VFW convention.
She derided the GOP convention that nominated Donald Trump, saying the Republican took his “dark, divisive, dangerous campaign to another level.”
“I don’t know how you run for president of the United States if you spend all your time trashing the United States,” she said to cheers.
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The crowd was racially diverse, with some slogans printed in Spanish, and included many young people.
Clinton depicted Trump’s acceptance speech last Thursday as one in which he cast himself as the sole candidate who could fix the nation’s problems.
“It’s hard to imagine him speaking for immigrants, for people with disabilities, for African-Americans, Latinos, women or the working people who he has a history of stiffing, not supporting,” she said, listing groups Trump has insulted.
Clinton promised a Democratic convention of uplift and optimism, with appearances by speakers testifying about affordable health care, criminal justice reform, immigration reform and gun control.
“You’ll hear from people who recognize that strongmen and dictators don’t always care about America,” she said. She added later: “I have a very different vision of what we can do together. Here’s what I know: I can’t fix it by myself.”
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, an opening speaker, praised Clinton’s choice of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. Roberts singled out Kaine as a former governor who “stood up to the gun lobby” after a shooter killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007.
Before Clinton spoke, volunteer Mendy Deviney foreshadowed her hope for an optimistic tone at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.
“I would like them to convey a message that this is not an awful place, that we are a country that is united and wonderful, and that we have to build on the successes that we have had,” said Deviney, who works for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Before Clinton’s appearance, state GOP leaders held a news conference outside the theater to criticize her economic plan. They said Clinton could learn from policies they argue have boosted this state’s economy.
“Donald Trump knows, to make America great again, he is going to follow a lot of the recipe we’ve had in North Carolina that our legislature and our governor have followed,” said state GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse. “Our recipe is right.”
Woodhouse said policies such as reducing regulations and changing the tax code have worked “dramatically and spectacularly,” citing North Carolina’s 4.9 percent jobless rate in June.
Clinton’s economic plan includes closing what she calls corporate and Wall Street tax loopholes, restoring collective bargaining rights for unions and rewriting rules so more companies share profits with employees.
Woodhouse said Clinton’s policies will not work but instead will lead to stagnation and a shrinking economy.
Staff writers Tyler Fleming and Rachel Herzog contributed.