Clinton tells America it is at a 'moment of reckoning'

Hillary Clinton capped a four-day convention celebration with a plea for national unity and tolerance. Now, one of the most divisive and distrusted figures in American politics must convince voters that she, rather than Republican rival Donald Trump, can bring a deeply divided nation together.

"America is once again at a moment of reckoning. Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart," Clinton said to a rapt Democratic convention audience. "And just as with our founders, there are no guarantees. It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we all will work together so we all can rise together."


After a convention speech aimed squarely at undercutting Trump, the first female presidential nominee embarks on a bus tour through two Rust Belt battlegrounds, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The shoot-from-the-hip billionaire believes he can make headway in those states with blue-collar white men, a demographic that has eluded Clinton and was unlikely to be swayed by a convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity.

Trump's tweeted response to Clinton's speech captured his pitch to those voters. He slammed the former secretary of state as an ineffectual defender against terrorism and blasted her judgment.

"Hillary's vision is a borderless world where working people have no power, no jobs, no safety," he wrote.

Starting with a rally Friday at Temple University, Clinton, accompanied by running mate Sen. Tim Kaine and their spouses, will focus on economic opportunity, diversity and national security, themes hammered home this week by an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers, and activists of all sexualities and races.

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

Democrats contrasted their optimistic, policy-laden message with the darker vision and less specific platform that marked Trump's turn during the Republican convention a week earlier.

Clinton's speech "was such a contrast with what we saw in Cleveland last week," Kaine told CNN's "New Day" Friday, who described the Republican convention as "dark and depressing."

Kaine said "there's still an awful lot of repair work" to be done on the economy, particularly with regard to job creation, but he insisted, "We don't have a single issue in this country that we can't tackle." He said job creation would be the top priority if Clinton wins the White House.

Selling that message will depend on whether Clinton can reach voters walled off by longstanding distrust. Despite her decades on the public stage, many know Clinton as much from Republican attacks as her resume, a fact Clinton confronted head-on: "I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me, so let me tell you."

The stakes are high: A loss to Trump would not only end Clinton's political career, it could be a devastating coda to her and her husband's political legacy and leave the Democratic Party weaker than it has been in a generation.

The convention provided hours of glowing tributes, including deeply personal testimonials from her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and former boss, President Barack Obama.

The event was meticulously designed to craft her image as a caring grandmother tough enough to battle terrorists and unite a party still unsettled by a fractious primary process. Clinton, who aides say spent weeks working on her address, saw the speech as a major opportunity to answer what her husband called the "cartoon alternative."

Lacking Obama's sweeping rhetoric or the "I-feel-your-pain" sensitivity of her husband, Clinton leaned into her wonky image, saying, "I sweat the details of policy."

And Clinton offered an open hand to backers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, saying, "I've heard you. Your cause is our cause."

Yet resentments lingered throughout the convention, with a handful of attendees heckling during her address others wearing neon shirts in protest. One held a bright red sign that stood out among the sea of flags and campaign placards, "Keep your promises."

Throughout the convention, Democrats tried to convey the stakes of the election not only to Sanders backers but to Republicans concerned about Trump's bombastic tone and foreign policy positions.

Speaker after speaker cast Trump as intolerant, inexperienced and dangerous, including the Pakistan-born immigrant father of a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq, who held up a copy of the Constitution and insisted that Trump "has sacrificed nothing."

In a first for a Democratic convention, a number of Republican economic and foreign policy leaders hammered home the point.

"I knew Ronald Reagan. I worked for Ronald Reagan. Donald Trump, you are no Ronald Reagan," said Doug Elmets, a Reagan administration aide, echoing a famous debate quip by vice presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.

Asserting Clinton's national security capabilities were a group of military leaders, including retired Gen. John Allen, the former deputy commander of the wars in the Middle East, who called Clinton the kind of "commander in chief America needs."


Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in Davenport, Iowa, contributed to this report.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018
The coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII is seen during a ceremony in Vittorio Veneto Square after its arrival in Bergamo, Italy, May 24. The body of the late pope left the Vatican on May 24 to be displayed in his home region until June 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

BERGAMO, Italy (CNS) — Accompanied by Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo and escorted by both Italian and Vatican police officers, the glass coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII left the Vatican early on May 24 for a 370-mile drive to Bergamo.

On this week's episode, we talk with Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib.
Olga SeguraMay 25, 2018