Clin­ton’s ap­peal to U.S. veter­ans: Get on board

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Cather­ine Lucey

CINCIN­NATI — Por­tray­ing a vote for her as a pa­tri­otic act, Hil­lary Clin­ton made a vig­or­ous ap­peal to Repub­li­can vot­ers Wed­nes­day, ar­gu­ing that she would best up­hold Amer­i­can val­ues, care for the mil­i­tary and pro­tect na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests.

At the Amer­i­can Le­gion’s an­nual con­ven­tion in Cincin­nati, the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee called the United States an “ex­cep­tional na­tion” and ac­cused Repub­li­can ri­val Don­ald Trump of think­ing that ap­proach is “in­sult­ing to the rest of the world.”

“When we say Amer­ica is ex­cep­tional, it doesn’t mean that peo­ple from other places don’t feel deep na­tional pride just like we do,” Clin­ton said. “It means that we rec­og­nize Amer­ica’s unique and un­par­al­leled abil­ity to be a force for peace and progress, a cham­pion for free­dom and op­por­tu­nity.”

She said Amer­ica must be a leader in the world, “be­cause when Amer­ica fails to lead, we leave a vac­uum.”

The speech came as Trump made a last-minute trip to Mex­ico hours be­fore he was to de­liver a long­promised im­mi­gra­tion speech. Clin­ton said it “takes more than try­ing to make up for a year of in­sults and in­sin­u­a­tions by drop­ping in on our neigh­bors for a few hours.”

Clin­ton, who has an edge in many polls, has been ag­gres­sively court­ing Repub­li­cans and in­de­pen­dents who won’t vote for Trump but are still dis­com­fited by her cam­paign.

The speech was touted as one that would em­pha­size “Amer­i­can ex­cep­tion­al­ism,” an idea that the U.S., as an “ex­cep­tional” world cit­i­zen, has a moral obli­ga­tion to ad­vance democ­racy in the world rather than im­pose it against another coun­try’s will. The speech largely hewed to the theme of a coun­try with a strong mil­i­tary and one that cares for its veter­ans.

Clin­ton promised to in­vest in the mil­i­tary and sup­port veter­ans as she pledged not to pri­va­tize the De­part­ment of Veter­ans Af­fairs. She said the United States must mod­ern­ize the mil­i­tary and em­brace new tac­tics, not­ing that the coun­try should “treat cy­ber­at­tacks just like any other at­tacks” and re­spond through eco­nomic, diplo­matic and mil­i­tary means.

Em­pha­siz­ing her re­spect for ser­vice, Clin­ton noted her work with Sen. John McCain, of Ari­zona, a for­mer pris­oner of war in Viet­nam, and said she would never in­sult pris­on­ers of war or fam­i­lies of sol­diers killed in com­bat, as Trump has.

More than once, Clin­ton ex­plic­itly called on Repub­li­cans to get on board — both to sup­port her plans and to de­feat Trump.

“I hope you will join the grow­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans — Democrats, Repub­li­cans and in­de­pen­dents — who are sup­port­ing our vi­sion for the kind of fu­ture we want for our coun­try,” Clin­ton said.

Re­spond­ing to Clin­ton’s re­marks, Matt Miller, di­rec­tor of Veter­ans for Trump, said in a state­ment that Clin­ton “is fun­da­men­tally un­equipped to fur­ther the na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests of the United States and stand up for our veter­ans.” Hil­lary Clin­ton speaks at the Amer­i­can Le­gion’s con­ven­tion on Wed­nes­day in Cincin­nati.

AN­DREW HARNIK/AP

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