Clinton Takes Post-Debate Victory Lap in Raleigh

     (CN) – Hillary Clinton took a post-debate victory lap in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, hours after a pair of snap polls declared her the winner of her first head-to-head debate with Republican Donald Trump.
     “Did anybody see that debate last night?” Clinton said shortly after taking the stage in the Wake Technical Community College gymnasium.
     “Oh yes,” she said responding to the cheers of the 1,350 in attendance.
     “One down, two to go,” she said.
     So large was the crowd that many attendees were forced to watch a video-stream of her speech from a designated “overflow room” in the next building.
     To the delight of those who had come to see her, Clinton chided Trump over his performance, saying “He made very clear that he didn’t prepare for that debate.”
     Reminding her listeners that he had criticized her for taking time out from campaign appearances to get ready for the debate, Clinton joked that she had no other choice.
     “Just trying to keep track of everything he says took a lot of time,” she said.
     Turning to the debate itself, Clinton said “What I’ve heard from my opponent is dangerously incoherent,” adding, “It’s unclear exactly what he’s saying.”
     She also criticized Trump for speaking in generalities.
     “I have this old fashioned idea that if I’m asking for your vote I should tell you what I want to do,” she told the crowd.
     While Trump and the debate were the focus of most of her comments, Clinton also spoke of several recent developments in North Carolina that have roiled the electorate in this battleground state, including the fight over its controversial voter ID law, its even more controversial transgender “bathroom law,” and the shooting, just a week ago, of a black man by a Charlotte police officer.
     “We overlook the importance of how we treat each other,” Clinton said. “The respect we show. The kindness. The love. I think we’ve got to reassert our fundamental connection to each other.”
     Later, she added: “I think the American dream is big enough for everybody.”
     The former Secretary of State also ran through platform staples like raising minimum wage, equal pay for women, affordable education, affordable childcare and clean energy, but she seemed unable to stray too far the Republican opposition.
     Returning to Trump and a theme she bludgeoned him with during the debate, Clinton said “there’s a strong probability he hasn’t paid federal taxes a lot of years. He probably hasn’t paid a penny to support our vets, or our troops or our schools.”
     Clinton’s fans loudly agreed with much of the sentiment and booed at mentions of Trump’s alleged sexist and racist beliefs.
     “You won’t see this at a Trump rally,” one student said as she eyeballed the room. “You won’t see mothers and children and people of color.”
     Another Clinton supporter, Carolyn Burress, shared similar thoughts. “I’m very offended by his [Trump’s] comments about women and minorities. We don’t need a president who is trying to divide us as a country. We need a president who is trying to unite us… and I think she [Clinton] holds the best hope for us.”
     A retired teacher, Burress was especially impressed with Clinton’s history in the Children’s Defense Fund, which Clinton connected to the crowd in a story about her own mother’s childhood struggles and the importance of kindness and opportunity for poor children.
     Surrounded by a slew of “I’m With Her” and “I Will Vote” posters, Clinton also seized the opportunity to tell the crowd that it was National Voter Registration Day and expressed just how important the presidential election will be in the historically politically divided state of North Carolina.
     She urged supporters to help others register to vote, and said, “We want to prove who we are as Americans in this election. We’re not fearful. We don’t want to build walls, we want to build bridges.”
     Carolyn Burress is on board. For the first time in her life, she has begun registering voters on the weekends, and she plans to hit the phones again tomorrow.

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