PHILADELPHIA (CN) — Hillary Clinton and running mate Tim Kaine kept the mood positive for the nearly 8,000 who gathered on the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia just weeks before Election Day.
“It’s important to give people something to vote for, not just to vote against,” Clinton told the crowd Saturday at the University of Pennsylvania.
Blaming their Republican opponents for the negative tenor pervading this election cycle, the Democrats focused particularly on Trump’s criticism of the military.
Hot off the heels of the primaries this summer, Trump sent out anti-Islamic Tweets when the Muslim parents of a U.S. soldier who died in Iraq spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
Khizir Khan pointed out the hypocrisy in Trump seeking a national ban on all Muslims, when his son, Humayun Khan, gave his life for this country. Ignoring the advice of his advisers, Trump drew out a feud with the Gold Star family, questioning whether it was because of Islam that only the soldier’s father, rather than his mother, spoke.
Several down-ticket candidates appeared at the Saturday rally with Clinton and Kaine.
Katie McGinty, who is running for the U.S. Senate, warned the crowd about how a Trump presidency could hurt the country.
“Donald Trump is trying to take down democracy,” McGinty said.
Clinton herself made a similar argument, saying Trump would be a dictator and crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kaine focused on Trump’s statement in the latest presidential debate where he danced around whether he will accept the election outcome.
“Trump insulted the pillars of our country’s democracy by saying he wouldn’t accept the results of the election,” Kaine said.
Pennsylvania has elected only one Democrat, Kathleen Kane, as its attorney general. She resigned over the summer after convicted of perjury and other charges and was replaced by the commonwealth’s inspector general, Bruce Beemer.
This November, Democrat Josh Shapiro is running against Republican John Raffrety for the seat.
Shapiro contrasted Trump as the “guy who led the rip-off economy” compared with Clinton, “someone who is unbelievably prepared.”
He reminded the crowd of the appearance that Trump did not pay federal income taxes in 18 years, saying the reputed millionaire has “cheated our school children, police and firefighters.”
Sen. Bob Casey said Trump’s campaign is best summarized in four words: “fear, smear, demonize and divide.” The incumbent senator said Clinton’s choice of Kaine as her running mate was the “governing, not political decision,” reflective of her dedication to public service.
The speeches also focused on the potential for Clinton becoming the country’s first female president, with McGinty lauding the making of “Herstory.”
McGinty could make history herself if voters choose her over incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey, becoming the commonwealth’s first female U.S. senator.
Kane, the recently disgraced former Pennsylvania attorney general, had been the first woman to hold that position as well. She faces sentencing Monday for her perjury crimes.
Feminist overtones marked the speech by Clinton’s running mate as well. Kane said his “career is built on the shoulders of very strong women.”
The senator from Virginia called it special that, even though Clinton’s mother lived in a time when women couldn’t vote, her daughter will be able to vote for her own mother in this historic election.
Audience members noted how natural and confident Clinton came off, and that her jokes were getting funnier.
“I thought the joke about the house always winning, and yet Donald somehow losing a billion dollars on a casino was great,” said George Dominguez, a Clinton supporter.
At one point Clinton referenced her great love for compromise and planning, and how frustrating it is to run against someone who seems incapable of either.
The former secretary of state took a serious tone about the election at the end of her speech, calling it the most anxiety-inducing one of her career. She told the crowd that she can only make it so clear that Trump is dangerous and unfit to be commander in chief, and that it is up to the voters to stop it from happening.
“This election will set the trajectory of this country for decades to come,” she said. Clinton finished with her one of her slogans: “Love trumps hate.”
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