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Hillary Clinton calls Donald Trump’s scorched-earth strategy “desperate”

Clinton Colorado Rally
Clinton Colorado Rally 34:01

PUEBLO, Colo. -- Hillary Clinton has said before that she and Donald Trump couldn’t be more different, but on Wednesday, the Democratic nominee strived to create one of the clearest contrasts yet with her opponent. As news outlets reported Trump would unleash a brutal “scorched-earth” strategy in the next four weeks, Clinton seemed to be trying to do the opposite.

“I am tired of all the divisions and the barriers,” she said at a rally at the state fairgrounds in Pueblo. “I want to bring people together across our party lines, across any lines that divide us. And not just people that vote for me -- I want to be the president, yes, for Democrats, but also Republicans and Independents.”

The Democratic nominee denounced Trump’s “unshackled” style on the stump.

“His campaign said today that they’re going to use a, quote, “scorched-earth” strategy for the remaining four weeks,” she said. “That just shows how desperate they are. That’s all they have left. Pure negativity. Pessimism.”

She added, “And we’re not going to let Donald Trump get away with it, are we?”

Trump appears to be making good on the promise to pull out all the stops. At a campaign event in Florida earlier on Wednesday, Trump said he was happy to “annihilate the enemy” in the second presidential debate. He insulted Clinton’s stamina -- which he praised at the debate -- and questioned whether Clinton could “stand up here for an hour and talk the way I talk.”

Trump full speech 52:20

“Let’s see how long she lasts, folks,” Trump said. “What a joke. What a total joke.”

He reiterated his plan to appoint a “special prosecutor” to investigate Clinton and her private email server and, in addition, said that he would “investigate the investigation.”

In Pueblo, Clinton pointed out that she and her rival in the Democratic primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, tried to “stay out of all the meanness” and she repeated what is quickly becoming a rallying cry for Clinton’s supporters.

“When they go low, we go high,” Clinton said, quoting First Lady Michelle Obama, as she did in the second debate. The crowd said it along with her this time. 

Clinton’s campaign aides, who say Clinton’s imperative before Election Day is to campaign on an inclusive message, have tried to undercut the revamped Trump strategy, which reportedly is designed to get so nasty that it actually depresses turnout. They have instead emphasized what they see as only increasing interest in voting and enthusiasm for their candidate.

Count down to Election Day 05:28

“In Florida in the last week, we saw that requests for ballots favored Democrats two-to-one,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, told reporters on board Clinton’s campaign plane on Wednesday. “In Colorado, for the first time in the state’s history, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans.”

And in Columbus, Ohio on Monday night, Clinton drew the largest crowd of her campaign: more than 18,000 people, according to U.S. Secret Service. 

“Across America, people are already voting in high numbers,” Clinton said in Pueblo. “We are competing everywhere, and the polls are tightening, because I think Americans want to turn out in as big a number as possible to reject the dark and divisive and hateful campaign that is being run by my opponent.”

Though she blamed Trump for the negativity, Clinton didn’t shy away from attacking her opponent. She zeroed in on his immigration policy in an appeal to this city’s population of Hispanic voters. And she invoked the Republican nominee’s now-famous slogan -- “Make America Great Again” -- as disingenuous.

“That would have maybe some truth to it, if he made anything in America,” she said, “and if he bought things that are made in America.”

Reaching out to steelworkers in the audience here, she referred to a Newsweek investigation that found Trump purchased steel from a Chinese company instead of an American one for his recent construction projects. It’s the same attack she has deployed in the last week in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“It’s going to be a race to the finish line, my friends,” she said. “I know if people turn out, if people show up, we’re gonna win.”

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