DELANO, California — -- Former President Clinton rarely mentions his wife's political rivals by name, usually referring to Bernie Sanders as "her opponent" and to Donald Trump as "the other guy," but today he cautioned a crowd of Hillary Clinton supporters in Delano that he has plenty of attack lines for Trump.
To the crowd’s disappointment, he said he would not deliver them — but then he did anyway.
"Now look, I got a lot of applause lines. I could make you boo Mr. Trump. I'm not interested in that. Not today," Bill Clinton said as he casually leaned against the lectern. "I want you to think about what you need. And I want you to think he may be a ruder version of what’s going around in the world."
However, the former president did deliver more lines that made the crowd boo Trump. Every time Clinton said the presumptive Republican nominee's name, the crowd loudly booed, and some people turned their thumbs downward.
Clinton switched back to his measured pacing around the tiny stage, returning to his stump lines, calling for an inclusive society in which bridges are built rather than walls. And then he dropped Trump's name again.
"She's been the strongest person to say Mr. Trump is wrong when he says we ought to keep the Muslims out and demonize them any more than immigrants," Clinton said. "America's got to be for everybody that will embrace our common values."
The Delano community has a large Hispanic immigrant population, and many people work on farms picking and sorting fruit. Clinton took advantage of Trump's high unfavorable rating among Hispanics, using attack lines that landed well with the crowd. Clinton briefly took on the persona of Donald Trump and harshly criticized his "Make America great again" campaign slogan.
"Or do what 'Make America great again' really means, which is, 'Hey, I'll make it the way it used to be. You will be better off, and if you’re not, at least you'll have somebody to look down on,'" he said. "That is a dumb idea. It will not work."
Clinton named the presumptive Republican nominee one last time during his concluding remarks, after calling for party unity and asking voters to rally behind Hillary Clinton and send her to the Democratic National Convention as the presumptive nominee.
"We need to send her to that convention with the wind in her back, with a united progressive front, to go after the conflict between her and Mr. Trump," he said.
This time, however, the crowd let out a loud cheer and applause rather than boos.