KENT, Ohio — With just eight days before Election Day, Democrat Hillary Clinton cast Republican Donald Trump as ill-equipped to be commander-in-chief and an existential threat to the world’s future — all while downplaying the latest wrinkle in her email scandal.
Clinton sought to portray Trump as flippant and uneducated about the seriousness of nuclear weapons. She invoked Republican icon Ronald Reagan who “worked hard on arms control,” in contrast to Trump, who has suggested, she said, that more nations should have nuclear arms. Her condemnation came on the same day her campaign released a nuclear-war ad, titled “Daisy 2.0,” that aims to revisit a 1964 ad against GOP nominee Barry Goldwater.
Much like Trump, Clinton is seeking to frame Election Day as a referendum on her opponent’s credentials.
She said Trump acted as a “puppet” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. She talked about Trump’s “hair-trigger temper” and called him “temperamentally unfit” and wholly “unqualified.”
“In these last days, let’s not get distracted from the real choice in this election,” Clinton told a crowd at Kent State University. “Who will listen to good advice, keep a level head? That’s the person you want in commander in chief . . . Think of all these national security issues when you cast your vote. Your children and your grandchildren’s (future). Make no mistake, that’s what on the ballot this year.”
Before pivoting to Trump, Clinton briefly addressed the development that roiled the race Friday — the FBI told Congress it had found new emails that may be related to Clinton’s use of a private server while secretary of state. FBI Director James Comey said he would review the emails — contained on the home computer of disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Vowing not to get knocked off course, Clinton told supporters: “I’m sure you’re asking this new email story and . . . why in the world the FBI would jump into an election” at this point. She said using a private server was a “mistake and I regret it,” but she said the second look would end much the way Comey concluded last summer.
“I am sure they will reach the same conclusion they did when they looked at my emails for the last year,” Clinton said. “There is no case here.”
The criticism of Trump’s temperament began with a preliminary speaker. Bruce Blair, a former Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Launch Control Officer, called the Republican “quick- tempered” and “ill-informed about nuclear weapons.”
“If I were back in the launch chair, I would have no faith in his judgment. None,” Blair said. “And I would live in constant fear” of a bad decision.
Later at a nighttime rally along the Ohio River in Cincinnati, Clinton hit many of the same notes — saying her opponent had a “dark and divisive vision for our country that could tear us apart.”
“We’re not going to be discouraged. We’re not going to be knocked off course,” she told supporters.
She was joined on the Cincinnati stage by Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who shot by a gunman in a mass shooting outside a supermarket in 2011. Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have been advocates for gun safety and said Clinton was the lone candidate who supported the Second Amendment and tighter controls on the ability of felons, domestic abusers and terrorists to access weapons.
With press pool reports.