Hillary Clinton Outlines Economic Policy In Rebuttal To Donald Trump

Aug 11, 2016
Originally published on August 11, 2016 6:46 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Hillary Clinton delivered a major speech about her plans for the economy today. Donald Trump did the same thing on Monday. And as NPR's Tamara Keith tells us, the speeches show just how differently the two presidential candidates see the state of the nation.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The advantage of giving your big economic policy speech second is you know what the other guy said. From beginning to end, Clinton's speech was a rebuttal of Trump's both in tone and in substance. Trump started his speech in Detroit on Monday talking about all that is wrong with the city. Clinton speaking 10 miles away in Warren, Mich., saw things differently.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: He talked only of failure, poverty and crime. He is missing so much about what makes Michigan great.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Clinton delivered his speech at a company called Futuramic Tool and Engineering. Trump talks about bringing back the steel mills, many of which have been shuttered for more than a generation, while Clinton emphasizes advanced manufacturing, a growing sector in the U.S. economy. Futuramic, she said, had faced a choice as the auto industry's struggle started hurting its business and it chose to adjust into aerospace.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: And what I believe with all my heart is that what's happening here can happen in so many places if we put our minds to it, if we support advanced manufacturing, if we are the kind of country that once again understands how important it is to build things. We are builders, and we need to get back to building.

KEITH: She talked about the incentives and tax changes she's proposed to keep American companies from moving their operations overseas. And Clinton went through a lengthy list of other economic policy ideas she's proposed during the campaign, from profit sharing to paid family leave.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: I imagine some of you might be thinking, well, that all sounds good, but what about trade? After all, Trump talks about it all the time.

KEITH: Donald Trump has made opposing trade deals like NAFTA and the yet-to-be-enacted Trans-Pacific Partnership a centerpiece of his economic populist pitch to voters, especially in Rust Belt states where he will need to perform well if he's going to win in November. And Clinton delivered her strongest statements yet on TPP.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: My message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this. I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: I oppose it now. I'll oppose it after the election, and I'll oppose it as president.

KEITH: Clinton has said she opposes the TPP in its current form since October of last year, but recently a political ally said she would likely implement it as president, which the campaign immediately tamped down. Clinton seemed to echo Trump's message on China, offering tough words on its currency manipulation. But she saved her toughest critique for her opponent, saying Trump was trading on fear and isolationism.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: Now, before he tweets...

CLINTON: Clinton always gets a rise out of the crowd when she mentions Trump's twitter habits.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: ...About how he's really the one who will put America first in trade, let's remember where Trump makes many of his own products because it sure is not America.

KEITH: What Clinton attempted to do with this speech was take Trump's populist economic message and say that while what he was proposing sounded good, it was actually designed to help the rich and powerful like himself.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: I'm running for president to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. And...

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: ...Based on what we know from the Trump campaign, he wants America to work for him and his friends at the expense of everyone else.

KEITH: Presidential campaigns are often battled over convincing voters who really has their best interests at heart. Until recently, the image Trump created of a blue-collar billionaire coming to the rescue put him solidly ahead of Clinton on the question of who voters trust more to handle the economy. But with this speech and her near constant criticism of Trump's business practices, Clinton is hoping to make his one-time strength a weakness. Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.