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Clinton rips Trump's qualifications and declares herself ready
[PHILADELPHIA] Hillary Clinton said the nation is at a "moment of reckoning" and belittled Republican Donald Trump's claim that he alone can solve the nation's problems, warning that the boast should ring alarm bells for every voter.
In accepting the US Democratic nomination for president on Thursday night in Philadelphia, Mrs Clinton said the US can advance only when each segment of society and members of every group work together.
"America is once again at a moment of reckoning," Mrs Clinton said as she became the first woman to accept a major party's nomination for president Thursday. "Powerful forces are threatening to pull us apart. Bonds of trust and respect are fraying."
She used her prime-time speech to blast Mr Trump as someone whose message is based on generating fear and division, using a reference to Ronald Reagan to drive home the point.
"He's betting that the perils of today's world will blind us to its unlimited promise," she said. "He's taken the Republican Party a long way, from 'Morning in America' to 'Midnight in America."'
She specifically questioned his knowledge of the Islamic State militant group. Mr Trump and other Republicans have criticized the Democratic convention for infrequent mentions of the US war on terrorism.
"Now Donald Trump says, and this is a quote, 'I know more about ISIS than the generals do,'" Mrs Clinton said. "No, Donald, you don't." "Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis," she said. "A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons."
Mrs Clinton also reached out to Senator Bernie Sanders, whose supporters have protested against her this week.
Democrats had worried that pro-Sanders protesters would disrupt her speech, but in the end they were limited to a handful of shouted taunts as she took the stage. A few Sanders supporters were escorted from the building.
"To all of your supporters here and around the country, I want you to know, I've heard you," she said. "Your cause is our cause."
Chelsea Clinton introduced her mother, seeking to soften the candidate's image by highlighting her maternal role as a loving grandmother.
"She's a listener and a doer, she's a woman driven by compassion, by faith, by a fierce sense of justice and a heart full of love," she said.
Mrs Clinton made an expansive case against Trump, singling out his business failures and his claim last week that "I alone can fix" the troubles in the US.
"Americans don't say: 'I alone can fix it,"' she said. "We say: 'We'll fix it together."'
She criticised Mr Trump for offering almost no specific plans, should he be elected president. But Mrs Clinton's speech was also spare on detail. Without delving deeply into policy specifics, Mrs Clinton laid out a lengthy list of domestic goals for her presidency.
She pledged to make college more affordable, ease the burden of student loan debt, increase infrastructure investments, overhaul immigration laws, expand health care coverage and close tax loopholes.
On foreign policy, she pledged to defeat Islamic State extremists and boost America's standing with world allies.
National Security Her appeal to patriotism followed a day in which President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden vouched for Mrs Clinton's national security credentials.
Mrs Clinton also turned to military veterans and the Muslim parents of a slain US soldier to draw a contrast with Mr Trump. The emphasis on national security caused a brief disturbance in the audience, as about 30 people chanted and held signs that read "No more wars" while retired General John Allen spoke. They were shouted down by others chanting "USA! USA!" as members of the crowd waved American flags.
Khizr Khan, a Pakistani-American whose son died while serving in the US military in 2004, scolded Mr Trump for his pledge to restrict Muslims from traveling to the U.S.
"Have you even read the United States Constitution?" Mr Khan said, as he pulled out a pocket copy of the document. "I will gladly lend you my copy."
Mrs Clinton's top challenge is confronting her vulnerabilities as a candidate and healing rifts within the Democratic party.
There are lingering resentments within the party among supporters of Mr Sanders. Voters more generally have expressed mistrust of Mrs Clinton over the controversies that have dogged her career in public life, most recently the investigation into her use of a private e-mail system while she served as secretary of state during Obama's first term.
She gave a nod to those controversies, saying "I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me." "The truth is, through all these years of public service, the 'service' part has always come easier to me than the 'public' part," she said.
To address doubts about her candidacy, Mrs Clinton sought to make the case for unity at a time when "people are anxious and looking for reassurance" due to threats of terrorism and violence.
"Every generation of Americans has come together to make our country freer, fairer, and stronger," she said. "None of us can do it alone. That's why we are stronger together."
Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 55.6 per cent of the public, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics. That would be the highest ever for a major party presidential nominee were it not for Mr Trump, whose unfavorability rating stands at 57.1 per cent.
Her biggest advantage is that the party's stars have aligned with her, the protests of Sanders supporters notwithstanding.
Mr Obama and Mr Biden on Wednesday night brought the crowd in the Wells Fargo Centre to its feet with rousing speeches that lauded the former secretary of state for her experience and steadiness and denigrated Mr Trump as a danger to the country.
"There has never been a man or a woman, not me, not Bill, nobody, more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America," Mr Obama said as former President Bill Clinton looked on from his seat.
After he concluded his speech, Mrs Clinton joined Mr Obama on stage to loud applause and the two departed with their arms around one another.
Their embrace extends to the 2016 campaign. Mrs Clinton has made clear she's running to build on Mr Obama's record in office. Mr Obama, in turn, is seeking to cement his legacy.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who was considered for Mrs Clinton's running mate before she chose Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, said Mrs Clinton needs to demonstrate to the general public the qualities that have attracted her loyal and devoted inner circle.
That could help Mrs Clinton alleviate her problem with voters who consider her untrustworthy or dishonest, he said.
Chelsea Clinton, 36, sought in her remarks to appeal to younger voters, who have soured on Clinton's candidacy.
A Gallup poll released on Thursday found that Mrs Clinton is viewed favorably by only 31 per cent of voters under age 30, her worst performance among the various age groups.
Those voters largely supported Mr Sanders, drawn to his call for a political revolution, and some have staged acts of protest during the convention. Daniel Hazard, 40, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, said he wore the fluorescent yellow shirt in a show of solidarity. He said the group had no plans to walk out of the arena in protest.
"This will remind them that we're half the party now," Mr Hazard said Thursday on the convention floor. "Has enough been done this week? Words do not convince us. Actions are all that will convince us."
Mr Trump issued a statement on Thursday describing the Democratic convention as naïve in its tone.
He criticised its planners for a lineup of speakers who seldom mentioned terrorism or US police and even for not placing American flags on the stage.
"Democrats have been speaking about a world that doesn't exist," Mr Trump said. "A world where America has full employment, where there's no such thing as radical Islamic terrorism, where the border is totally secured, and where thousands of innocent Americans have not suffered from rising crime in cities like Baltimore and Chicago."