WARREN, Mich. – Hillary Clinton is in Michigan Thursday drawing a contrast between her economic vision and proposals outlined by Donald Trump earlier this week.
“I just wish my opponent in this election saw the same Michigan I do,” Clinton said in a major economic address in Warren. “When Donald Trump visited Detroit on Monday, he talked only of failure, poverty, and crime. He’s missing so much.”
She continued, “And the same is true when it comes to our country. He describes America as an embarrassment. He said — quote — ‘We’re becoming a third-world country.’ I don’t believe that. We have a lot of urgent and important work to do — and that’s what I’m going to talk about today — but all the people I’ve met in this campaign have convinced me that Donald Trump is wrong. America’s best days are still ahead of us.”
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Clinton’s speech is not expected to outline new policy proposals, according to background provided by aides who have reviewed the remarks, but will instead go after Trump directly. The Democratic presidential nominee will question his commitment to the middle class, his refusal to release his tax returns and what she will call his “wildly unrealistic plans.”
“Here are four questions that the American people should ask of both candidates — and our answers should make your choice in November crystal clear,” Clinton said.
“First, which candidate has a real plan to create good-paying jobs? Second, who will restore fairness to our economy and ensure that those at the top pay their fair share? Third, who will really go to bat for working families? And, fourth, who can bring people together and deliver results that will make a difference in your lives?”
With economic numbers improving but many Americans not feeling to boost, the economy has become a flash point in the 2016 race. Clinton has looked to counter Trump’s populist message with pledges to boost the middle class, small businesses and American manufacturers.
Trump proposed a mix of tax breaks for Americans and a simplification of the tax code in an economic address on Monday in Detroit. Trump said, as president, that he would halve the number of income tax brackets and vowed that the poorest Americans will not pay taxes.
Clinton’s speech comes as a response to Trump’s remarks and aides said that she would cast herself as the “candidate will stand up for working families and the middle class” while arguing that Trump will be the candidate that “only benefits millionaires like himself.”
“Now that both plans are on the table, she will make the case that with her plan the middle class wins, while Trump’s plan is a win for himself and his millionaire and billionaire allies, friends and family,” the aide said.
The Trump campaign issued a statement Thursday, saying, “Right now the American economy is only working for the rigged system in Washington and on Wall Street, yet Hillary Clinton is running to keep things as they are. Clinton’s plans today will short circuit our economy by raising taxes, increasing spending and killing jobs. Donald Trump presents a better vision and a new direction — a plan to unleash prosperity, create jobs and increase wages so that all Americans can succeed.”
Clinton also will focus on Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns in particular, the aide said.
Clinton’s speech comes at the same time that her campaign is mounting a concerted effort to win over Republicans disaffected by Trump’s candidacy.
On Wednesday, the Clinton campaign launched “Together for America,” a group of Republican politicians, strategists and academics who have come out for Clinton. The list includes former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Congressman Chris Shays and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.
Clinton aides see her focus on the economy, especially spurring small businesses growth and investment in American industries, as one area that more Republicans could be drawn away from Trump.
Even the venue for Thursday’s event is another chapter in this effort: Clinton will deliver her remarks at Futuramic Tool & Engineering in Warren, Michigan, a machining and manufacturing plant in swing Macomb County.
The county, where Trump campaigned earlier in the year, helped coin the term “Reagan Democrats,” or reliable Democratic voters who voted for John F. Kennedy in 1960, but backed Reagan in 1980 and 1984. The county, which is filled with disaffected Democrats, out-of-work auto workers and is less racially diverse than nearby Detroit, should be prime territory for Trump.
But Clinton’s campaign sees it as fertile territory for her to seize on Trump’s vulnerabilities by questioning his commitment to the American economy by noting his history of outsourcing.