Hillary Clinton charged out of her history-making convention Friday, boosted by caffeine, joined by both running mate Tim Kaine and former President Bill Clinton at her side, and signaling a zest for taking on Republican Donald Trump.
Clinton – who joked that she stayed up late after accepting the Democratic presidential nomination and was running on a caffeine infusion – used a rally here to open the general election, taking direct aim at Trump’s appeal to working-class voters and his promise to bring jobs back to communities still struggling to recover from the economic downturn.
Clinton cast Trump’s Republican convention in Cleveland as one of empty promises and insults.
“Donald Trump did not offer one solution,” Clinton said. “The entire Republican convention seemed more about insulting me than about helping the American people.”
The entire Republican convention seemed more about insulting me than about helping the American people.
Trump has painted Clinton’s campaign as a third term of President Obama, but Clinton, who has embraced Obama, insisted she’s seeking change.
“I’m not satisfied with the status quo, I’m not telling you everything is peachy keen,” she said. “We’ve got work to do if we’re going to make sure everyone is included.”
The rally with Kaine kicked off a two-day bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio, where Clinton’s campaign hopes she can reach the white, blue-collar voters that Trump has been drawing in struggling Rustbelt towns and cities in western Pennsylvania and in eastern and central Ohio.
Clinton pledged that she’d spend her first 100 days as president championing what she said would be the “biggest investment in good paying jobs since World War 11.” She said the jobs would be in clean energy and infrastructure and that she’d pay particular attention to areas of the country “left out and left behind.”
Trump, she charged, hasn’t created jobs and “doesn’t make a thing in America except bankruptcies.”
The vice presidential candidate traditionally takes on the attack role, and Kaine began embracing it with relish, offering his own swipe at Trump and the Republican convention as he introduced Clinton.
It was a “twisted, dark tour,” Kaine said of the Republican week in Cleveland. “It was a journey through Donald Trump’s mind. That is a bizarre, frightening place.”
The one-time Catholic missionary cast himself and Clinton as public servants.
“It’s not about title, it’s not about money, it’s not about popularity, it’s not about prestige,” Kaine said. “It’s about serving other people.”
It's not about title, it's not about money, it's not about popularity, it's not about prestige.
Pennsylvania has voted for the Democratic nominee in the past six presidential elections – going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. There was huge applause when Clinton said the 42nd president would be a part of her team.
Trump has pledged to win the state, campaigning Wednesday in Scranton along with his vice presidential nominee, Mike Pence.
Polls, though, showed Clinton leading Trump in Pennsylvania ahead of this week’s Democratic National Convention. Clinton led Trump 50 percent to 41 percent, with 8 percent undecided in a Suffolk University poll released Thursday of likely general-election voters.
Clinton supporters packed the hall at Temple University – just miles from the arena where the former first lady Thursday became the first woman to accept a major party’s nomination for president. She offered a nod to the achievement at the rally, thanking host city Philadelphia, which she said knows “a little something about history and about making history.”
Hours before the event, a line of people waiting to get in stretched around the block, as vendors hawked buttons and T-shirts along the route.
Inside, more than 5,000 filled the gym, many waving American flags that had been distributed before the event began.
“It’s exciting, in my lifetime I’ve seen all men,” said Joann Sabato, 64, a semi-retired teacher from Newark, Delaware, who said she was especially enthused for her five-year-old granddaughter.
“I think she has the heart to do it,” Sabato said of Clinton. “I think it’s important we have someone in office that cares about people.”
Teachers Karen Lanchaster, 34, and Luna Cano, 36, were also marking the moment.
“It’s a historic moment,” Cano said. “I feel she has been at the forefront of women’s rights.”
Lanchaster said she has been following Clinton’s career since 2006, read her autobiography and liked what she did as Secretary of State: “She’s exceptionally qualified.”
Chris Vito, 30, a lifelong Democrat, turned Republican, said he’s returning to the Democratic side of the ledger to back Clinton.
The communications professional said he rejected Trump because the brash businessman “wasn’t careful about how he worded things” and put his “foot in his mouth.”
Trump was holding a pair of campaign events Friday in Colorado, another key battleground state where most public polling suggests Clinton holds a slim lead.
About 100 supporters waited as Clinton left the building and boarded her campaign bus, a dark blue bus adorned with her campaign slogan, STRONGER TOGETHER, in white letters. In smaller letters was the H logo with “Clinton Kaine” as well as hillaryclinton.com