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“You may have noticed that my opponent and I have different views about, well, nearly everything,” the Democratic nominee said during her speech on national service at the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, Florida. “And not just about what makes America great and what we should do to make it even greater, but also about that basic question of how progress happens at all.”
Clinton accused Trump of believing in a “strongman approach” to governing and knocked him for saying, “I alone can fix it” during his remarks at the Republican National Convention.
“'I alone,'” Clinton said. “Well, we've learned that that’s his way: One person getting supreme power and exercising it ruthlessly. That’s why he admires dictators like Vladimir Putin so much,” she added, referring to Trump’s praise of Russia’s president.
Clinton then announced parts of her national service plan, which would include tripling the number of young people in AmeriCorps from 75,000 annually to 250,000 and doubling the size of participants' college scholarships. She would increase the size of the Peace Corps as well.
Clinton also announced plans for a new “National Service Reserve” that would allow people to serve their communities without a full-time commitment.
“Here’s the idea,” the candidate explained. “If you join the reserve, you’ll receive some basic training. And when your city or state needs you, you’ll get the call.”
Clinton said her goal is for 5 million people, particularly those under age 30, in all 50 states to participate in this program. She didn't say how she would pay for any of her plans.
Clinton’s speech is her fourth in a “Stronger Together” series focusing more on issues and less on her opponent. Other topics she's addressed in this series include disabilities, faith and the economy.
Today, however, Clinton didn’t hold back from taking shots at Trump.
“Now, I don't think you'll hear any of this from my opponent,” she said. “And you know what? That’s a shame because national service has always been a bipartisan goal. Yes, President Kennedy started the Peace Corps, and my husband started AmeriCorps, but President Nixon signed the Domestic Volunteer Service Act, President George H.W. Bush created the White House Office of National Service, and both President George W. Bush and President Obama have been huge champions of service.”
“This is something we should all be able to get behind," Clinton said. "And in times like these, when it can seem so hard to find any common ground, it’s even more important that we come together wherever we can."
Clinton got a warm reception, with those in the audience giving their loudest applause when the candidate asked if they watched the presidential debate Monday and at the end when she called for Americans to join together and roll up their sleeves to serve. She also got a standing ovation at the end of her remarks when she seemed to lose her voice for a moment.
Meanwhile, in a sign of how close the race is here in Florida, a group of vocal Trump supporters had gathered in front of the theater to protest the Democratic candidate."
“Lock Her Up!” they chanted. “Lock Her Up!”