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Hillary Clinton Kicks Off 2-Day Campaign Visit To Florida


Hillary Clinton is spending the day in Florida on what her campaign calls a job tour. That's where she offered a rebuttal to a big speech by Donald Trump today. Trump spoke about his vision for the U.S. economy in Detroit. Clinton calls his plan, which is centered around massive tax reform, a return to trickle-down economics.


HILLARY CLINTON: It does not help the vast majority of Americans, but it does really well for people already at the top. Well, we're going to turn that upside down. We're going to make the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes for a change.

CORNISH: NPR's Don Gonyea is on the line from St. Petersburg. And, Don, we know Hillary Clinton is said to give her own big policy speech on Thursday, but she didn't exactly wait to push back on Trump, right? What else did she have to say?

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Right. She started this speech with kind of a condensed version of the things she's been saying on the trail about what she'll do. But she really, really quickly made the turn to Trump's Detroit speech and about how Trump's economic plan would add trillions to the national debt while its tax cuts do mostly benefit the wealthiest Americans. And she had this.


CLINTON: He would undermine the growth that we've had since the Great Recession. One independent expert - actually, the economist who advised John McCain in 2008, so, you know, not somebody that has any predisposition toward our side - but this economist did a study. He said under Trump's economic plans, we would lose in America 3 and a half million jobs.

GONYEA: And she's referring there to Mark Zandi, John McCain's campaign economists. Donald Trump has criticized Zandi as biased because he has also advised the Obama administration.

CORNISH: Now, as we said, she is calling this her jobs tour, though. So what did she say specifically about her own plans to help the economy?

GONYEA: Well, she talked about the need for the biggest investment in the nation's infrastructure since World War II - creating jobs, fixing roads and bridges and water and sewage systems and modernizing the electric grid. She also said that she will reach out to small businesses because Clinton says that's where most of the new and sustained job creation just has to come from. And in the process, she says she will reach out across the aisle to work with Republicans on all of that. And Clinton did say something today - did do something, rather, today that she's been doing frequently on the trail. Before the rally, she visited a small business. Today, it was a brewery, 3 Daughters Brewery in St. Petersburg.

CORNISH: Now, another issue that the Trump campaign has jumped on - Clinton opened herself up for more criticism over her private email system. She said heading into the weekend that she short-circuited during her recent interview when she falsely claimed the director of the FBI said her public statements on her email were truthful and the FBI director was actually talking about her statements to federal investigators. But how is the Clinton campaign responding to this issue that honestly is not going away?

GONYEA: Right. And, you know, there's a Trump web ad seizing on the short-circuit comment, showing her kind of like a robot in a low-budget science fiction movie, melting down. She doesn't say anything about it at the rallies but her running mate, Tim Kaine, was on "Meet The Press" yesterday. He acknowledged the email server was a mistake. He said Clinton learned from it, and he said they would be, quote, "real transparent" in the White House. But you're right, they are absolutely going to keep hearing about it right through November.

CORNISH: Still, Hillary Clinton has built up a healthy lead since the end of the conventions - her convention bounce, so to speak. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has had a lot of problems that appear to have an impact in the polls. So how confident are her supporters feeling?

GONYEA: Boy, they love the latest polls. But they kind of take a deep breath, saying they are confident, but hey, hey, this is Florida. It's always a battleground. Now, demographic changes in the state make it perhaps more friendly to Democrats than it has been in past years. But right here in the center of the state where the I-4 freeway cuts across, this is where elections are won and lost, and the people at this rally know it.

CORNISH: NPR's Don Gonyea traveling with the Clinton campaign in Florida. Don, thanks.

GONYEA: It's a pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.

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