Hillary Clinton made a New Year’s resolution to stop engaging with Donald Trump. But eight weeks later, she appears ready to break her resolution as Clinton and her aides accept that the real estate mogul is most likely the next GOP presidential nominee.
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Clinton’s top advisers are now strategizing how they would run against The Donald, even carefully studying the Republican debates. And now, ahead of Super Tuesday, Clinton has been giving some new attack lines a test run.
“I do believe that America remains great,” the Democratic presidential candidate said Sunday at a black church in Memphis, Tennessee, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great” slogan. “But,” she added, “what America needs to do now is become whole.”
The swipe was one that Clinton first debuted at her South Carolina primary victory speech on Saturday night. It came along with renewed calls for “love and kindness” and for an end to rhetoric of “prejudice” and “paranoia.”
The gist of her message: that Trump is dividing people, and she wants to unite the country.
"We need to find a way to move away from the mean-spiritedness and the divisiveness in politics," Clinton said in Memphis on Sunday. "If we pull together, if we act like the United States of America, America's years can still be ahead of us."
In a recent fundraiser email about him to supporters, she added: “I promise you that I will fight to make sure he never becomes president.”
Clinton’s renewed focus on Trump is a shift in her strategy from the past month, where she had been emphasizing her differences from her Democratic opponent, Bernie Sanders. Her new tone is both a sign she’s confident in her path to the nomination and that she acknowledges Trump would likely be her challenger.
And Clinton has already felt Trump's wrath.
In late December, Clinton accused Trump of having a “penchant for sexism,” and the responses she got in return may have been another reason the Democratic candidate decided to press the brakes on her attacks against him in January.
“If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!” Trump tweeted.
If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2015
He also charged Bill Clinton with being the one who has a “penchant for sexism.”
Clinton’s aides say they are prepared for these types of attacks should the two candidates become the nominees. And Trump, too, seems to be getting ready.
“I haven't even started on her,” he said about Clinton at the most recent GOP debate.