At a time voter attention has shifted from the economy to personal safety and the threat of terrorist attacks, Clinton used the speech in Minnesota to cast herself as the steady, experienced hand in a presidential race otherwise dominated by what she characterized as dangerous blowhards.
“Promising to carpet-bomb until the desert glows doesn't make you sound strong,” Clinton said, referring to a vow made by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “It makes you sound like you are in over your head.”
She also delivered a rebuttal to some of the more incendiary remarks made by the GOP front-runner, Donald Trump.
“Bluster and bigotry are not credentials for becoming commander in chief,” Clinton said.
Clinton characterized the Republican plan for fighting Islamic State militants as having little substance. But she also seemed to be testing a slogan of her own in this new phase of the campaign, in which the issue of terrorism is overriding all others.
“We elect a president in part, in large part, to keep us safe,” Clinton said.
As she has in the past, Clinton argued that Trump — who has called to ban all foreign Muslims from entering the United States — is not an outlier in the GOP field.
“The truth is many of those candidates have also said disgraceful things about Muslims,” she said. “This kind of divisive rhetoric actually plays into the hands of terrorists.... It alienates partners and isolates moderates we need around the world.