By Edward Fitzpatrick
Campaigns ahead of Tuesday's primary with criticism of opponent Bernie Sanders, but also Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — To the beat of Rachel Platten's "Fight Song," Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton rallied supporters in Central Falls on Saturday, aiming to fend off Bernie Sanders in Tuesday's primary and taking swings at Donald Trump.
Amid signs that read "Sí, se puede," ("Yes, we can") Clinton spoke to about 1,000 people at Central Falls High School, bringing her campaign to the state's first Latino-majority city to try to capitalize on her support among people of color.
And amid introductions by U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Governor Raimondo and Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa, Clinton attempted to leverage her support among the state's top Democrats, who are already giving her all of their "superdelegates."
"I love this little state," Clinton said after taking the stage. "I have so many friends here."
Clinton has done well here in the past: In the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, she received 58 percent of the vote while now-President Barack Obama received 40 percent. But now she faces a challenge from Sanders, who is expected to draw a big crowd when he appears at the Temple to Music in Roger Williams Park in Providence at noon Sunday.
At one point, Clinton took a "two-for" swipe at Sanders and Trump while talking about making college more affordable. "Now, I have a difference with my esteemed opponent, who wants free college for everybody," she said, referring to Sanders. "I have to tell you, I don't want free college for people who can pay for it — like Donald Trump. I think we have to focus on where the need is."
More generally, Clinton said, "I am not making promises I can't keep."
But Clinton saved her most pointed attacks for Republican candidates Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. "What they say about the world is not only offensive, it's dangerous," she said.
Referring to Trump, Clinton said, "You know, loose cannons tend to misfire, and what we have with him is the loosest of all cannons."
She criticized Trump for suggesting a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, and she criticized Cruz for his call to step up policing of Muslim neighborhoods in the United States in the wake of terrorist attacks in Brussels.
Early in her speech, Clinton argued that "The economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House." She cited the 1990s and the administration of her husband, former President Bill Clinton (who is scheduled to return to Rhode Island on Monday to campaign for her).
"I kind of like what happened in the 1990s," she said, "We had 23 million new jobs and incomes went up for everybody — not just people at the top, but middle-class families, working families, poor people."
Clinton sought to blame Republicans for the economic problems that followed. "I'll tell you what happened — a Republican president happened," she said. "I was in the Senate arguing against, voting against, the return of trickle-down economics. Look what happened: They cut taxes on the wealthy, they took their eyes off the financial markets and mortgage markets, and we ended up in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression." And now Republicans "are coming back with the same snake oil — that is what Trump and Cruz are peddling," she said.
Against a backdrop of signs touting her union support, Clinton said, "We cannot revive the American middle class unless we do revive the American labor movement, because you are not going to get the kind of fair wages and benefits that workers deserve if they don't have power at the negotiating table. I intend to use the bully pulpit of the White House and the Department of Labor to enforce the labor laws we already have on the books."
Clinton was introduced by Central Falls High School valedictorian Helen Magana, who said, "As a Hispanic woman, I feel that going against adversity is a hard thing to do, and I feel that Hillary Clinton's drive to achieve something that would have been unimaginable in the past is so inspiring to me."
After leaving Central Falls, Clinton went to Johnston, where Mayor Joseph M. Polisena is a supporter, and she visited the Atwood Grill.
Original story here.