RALEIGH, N.C. — Democrat Hillary Clinton hit the campaign trail a day after the first presidential debate, using Republican rival Donald Trump’s debate responses to cast him as a “dangerously incoherent” candidate who “probably hasn’t paid a penny” in federal taxes.
“He actually bragged about gaming the system to get out of paying his fair share of taxes,” Clinton told an audience of more than 1,400 supporters in a gymnasium at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh.
Clinton was referring to a point in the debate at Hofstra University when she confronted Trump about not releasing his tax returns.
The Manhattan real estate mogul has said repeatedly that he does not plan to release his income tax returns until the Internal Revenue Service concludes an audit of his taxes.
Clinton at the debate noted that previous Trump tax returns made public in 1980 indicated that he did not pay any federal taxes that year.
Clinton on Tuesday told the North Carolina audience that if Trump “not paying taxes makes him smart . . . what does that make all the rest of us?”
She continued, “This is a man who goes around calling our military a disaster . . . He probably hasn’t paid a penny to support our troops, or our vets, or our schools.”
Clinton said that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have released their income tax returns for the past 40 years.
The former secretary of state said that while Trump criticized her for taking time off from the campaign trail to focus on preparing for the debate, “he made very clear that he didn’t prepare for that debate.”
Clinton defended her decision to spend time rehearsing and studying policy manuals for the debate, telling the crowd, “just trying to keep track of everything he says took a lot of time.”
“What we hear from my opponent is dangerously incoherent,” Clinton said. “It’s unclear exactly what he is saying.”
Clinton, repeating a theme from the debate, characterized Trump as a brash businessman, accusing the real estate magnate of profiting from the housing crisis.
“What kind of person would want to root for 9 million families losing their homes?” Clinton said. “One who should never be president.”
At the rally, Clinton also encouraged Americans to register to vote — a call to action that came on National Voter Registration Day, an awareness campaign organized by the National Association of Secretaries of State to encourage voter participation.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will join Clinton on Wednesday for a rally at the University of New Hampshire campus in Durham, where Clinton is expected to discuss her college affordability plan.