WARREN, Mich. (CN) — Amidst a sweltering summer afternoon in the suburbs of Detroit, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday stayed cool in an air-conditioned factory as she tried to further differentiate her agenda from that of GOP candidate Donald Trump.
In remarks before a diverse crowd of about 500 attendees at Futuramic Tool and Engineering in the city of Warren, Clinton lauded the factory for its innovation and ability to adapt to changing industrial environments after it was launched in 1955.
Futuramic was originally an auto parts supplier but moved toward aerospace engineering. The company has assisted development of F-35 fighter jets for the military and is currently working with NASA to manufacture a rocket booster to be used on future trips to Mars.
“What happened here can happen everywhere,” Clinton said to applause.
After talking about her middle-class roots from Chicago and her father who established and ran a small business, Clinton went after Trump for his negativity and lack of substance.
She bristled at Trump’s suggestion that America has become a laughingstock for the rest of the world and made a point to contrast that with unbridled optimism.
“He is missing so much about what makes Michigan great. He describes America as an embarrassment. He stays we’re becoming a third world country. Look around you, my friends,” she said as the crowd cheered.
“The auto industry just had its best year ever. And here at Futuramic, so well named, you are on the front lines of what I believe will be a true manufacturing renaissance in America.”
That renaissance would not end with manufacturing, however, according to Clinton. She pushed for a recommitment to scientific research, an easier path to pay back student loans and talked about simplifying tax filings for small businesses.
“If you dream it, you should be able to build it,” she said.
Clinton began her criticism of Trump subtly, with a mention of “my opponent,” but soon was lambasting him for his refusal to release his tax returns and his reputation of skipping out on debts.
“It wasn’t that he couldn’t pay them. He wouldn’t pay them,” she said. “We’re all in this together; if we can grow together we can rise together.”
Clinton said that Trump’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax would save his family $4 billion.
“So they get a $4 billion tax cut and 99.8 percent of Americans would get nothing,” she said.
Clinton also tried to clarify her stance on trade, saying she would “kill (trade agreements) if it kills jobs,” and that there would be consequences for any other nation looking to “game the system.”
In spite of the hot and humid weather, protestors and supporters lined the street leading up to the small factory.
One Trump supporter waved a giant flag and yelled about how he was denied entry to the event because he isn’t a minority. Many others stood near the main road, held homemade signs and chanted “Lock her up!” to passing motorists who occasionally honked approval.
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