In fact, it might have been clearer what she was trying to accomplish.
Lines met with gentle nods in Wisconsin were greeted with vigorous applause Friday by the residents of Denmark, South Carolina, a rural town with a population of less than 4,000. At the heart of her message was a phrase that Clinton repeated multiple times during her remarks.
“I want you to understand, I will not promise you something I cannot deliver,” Clinton said. “I will not make promises I know I cannot keep.”
“We are going to turn this ‘Corridor of Shame’ into the ‘Corridor of Opportunity,’” Clinton proclaimed, reminding the crowd of her 40-year-old ties to the state.
The message resonated with voters, who seemed to give Clinton’s promises the benefit of the doubt.
“She’s being real, and that’s what we need,” said Annie Rowe, a Denmark resident who is studying to be a medical assistant. “Everybody makes promises, you’ve got to live up to them.”
Her colleague, Angelan Wise, added that Clinton seemed to care about their community. “People are always saying ‘I promise to do this and I promise to do that,’” she told ABC News. Of other politicians, she said, “you want us to vote for you, but then you don’t come and explain what you’re going to do for us, for African Americans.”
To some, Sanders’ image has remained that of an interloping outsider. Asked what they thought about the Vermont senator, each woman shook her head.
“I don’t really know him that well,” said Wise.
And in a race in which Clinton’s trustworthiness has repeatedly been questioned, voters here have seemed eager to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt – especially as she continues to tie herself to President Obama.
“I will also build on the progress that President Obama has made for our country,” Clinton said, noting she had embraced the president’s policies more tightly than Sanders.
It was a recycled talking point from Thursday’s debate. But in South Carolina, the crowd cheered loudly.