Friday 24 March 2017

Clinton aims big, seeking gains in traditional GOP territory

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes photos with diners as she visits Tacos el Gordo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes photos with diners as she visits Tacos el Gordo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Julie Pace

Hillary Clinton turned up the heat yesterday on Republican candidates who are facing both tight election races and tough decisions on what to do about Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton turned up the heat yesterday on Republican candidates who are facing both tight election races and tough decisions on what to do about Donald Trump.

She's now seeking to spread her new momentum to fellow Democrats on November ballots.

At a rally in Colorado, Ms Clinton declared that Trump is "desperate" and running a "scorched earth strategy".

"That's all they have left - pure negativity, pessimism," she said.

Indeed, Trump kept up his unrelenting denunciations of Clinton at a rally in Florida. It's not enough for voters to elect him instead of her, he declared, "She has got to go to jail."

The focus on Republican congressional candidates is the latest sign the Clinton campaign is moving past a narrow focus on winning the White House, and now is aiming to win big - by delivering the Senate to Democrats, making deep cuts into the Republicans' majority in the House and, possibly, winning states long considered Republican territory.

"If you've got friends in Utah or Arizona, make sure they vote too," Ms Clinton told a raucous crowd in Pueblo.

"We are competing everywhere . . . I think Americans want to turn out in as big a number as possible" to reject Trump's message, Clinton said.

She had sympathetic words - serious or not - for Trump supporters who have begun to interrupt her events.

As security escorted one man out in Pueblo, Ms Clinton said: "You have to feel a little sorry for them; they've had a really bad couple of weeks."

Ms Clinton's new swagger and expanded ambitions come as Trump declares he feels unshackled and able to launch the sort of hard-edged, personal campaign his most ardent supporters love.

In Florida, he highlighted a new batch of hacked emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta's account, published by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group. He asserted that the emails show ever more clearly that the former secretary of state and her family are corrupt.

"It never ends with these people," he said.

Clinton aide Glen Caplin said on Wednesday that Trump's campaign needed to explain its "possible ties to foreign espionage".

The campaign has accused Roger Stone, a long-time Trump adviser, of having advance warning about the leak.

Stone has confirmed he had "back-channel communications" with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but denies knowing about the group's plans to release the trove of damaging correspondence.

WikiLeaks, which US officials have said has ties to Russian intelligence, released a fourth instalment of private correspondence between top Clinton campaign officials on Wednesday.

Podesta says the FBI is investigating Russia's possible involvement, raising the extraordinary prospect of a link between Russia and the US presidential election.

The FBI said anew that it is investigating possible Russian hacking involving US politics, but made no comment on Podesta.

Irish Independent

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