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Democrats Celebrate, Republicans Criticize Clinton Speech

  • Chris Hannas

Hillary Clinton formally accepts the Democratic Party's nomination for President on the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

Hillary Clinton formally accepts the Democratic Party's nomination for President on the fourth night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (A. Shaker/VOA)

When Hillary Clinton gave a speech Thursday accepting her party's nomination for U.S. president, the reaction was predictable: Democrats loved it, while prominent Republicans were not big fans.

"So moved and so inspired by that powerful speech from our next president!" first lady Michelle Obama said.

"Great speech. She's tested. She's ready. She never quits," President Barack Obama wrote on Twitter, adding that is why Clinton should take over when he leaves the White House in January.

“It was just a remarkable, remarkable evening," New York delegate Silda Wall Spitzer told VOA. "I think that if the world didn’t know who Hillary Clinton was, they now have some idea of what an amazing human being she is and all of the good that she could bring as a leader to this country and that she is the right person now to take us forward.”

Trump tweets criticism

Donald Trump responded on Twitter, accusing Clinton of ignoring the country's problems and proposing solutions that will make Americans worse off.

Trump senior policy advisor Stephen Miller called Clinton's speech "an insulting collection of cliches and recycled rhetoric."

"It's a speech delivered from a fantasy universe, not the reality we live in today," Miller said in a statement. He said Clinton talks about unity but has an agenda that tears Americans apart.

"Her radical amnesty plan will take jobs, resources and benefits from the most vulnerable citizens of the United States and give them to the citizens of other countries. Her refusal to even say the words 'Radical Islam' or to mention her disaster in Libya, or her corrupt email scheme, all show how little she cares about the safety of the American people."

The Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia was packed on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, July 28, 2016. (Satarupa Barua/VOA)

The Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia was packed on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, July 28, 2016. (Satarupa Barua/VOA)

Party platform

While part of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia celebrated the record of the Obama administration, and the platform adopted there included many similar policies, Republicans have sought to negatively cast a Clinton presidency as essentially another term for Obama.

"So basically 'change' Hillary offered is same Obama agenda but with more taxes, more regs (regulations) and an 'intelligence surge' whatever that means," tweeted Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination in March.

Rubio also noted the chants from a small group of people inside the arena who support Clinton's rival in the Democratic race, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, calling their disruptions during her speech a "disaster."

The chants included slogans such as "no more war," but people watching on television would barely have known they happened, instead hearing louder counter-chants of "Hillary" and "U-S-A" that drowned out the protesters.

Qualifications, email scandal

Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said the strongest parts of Clinton's speech were her attacks on Trump's qualifications.

"I think that ultimately Trump's biggest challenge in this election is convincing people that he's qualified, and I thought Clinton made a fairly effective case that he's not," he said.

But Kondik said Clinton failed to address the lingering questions about her use of a private emails system when she was secretary of state, something that has helped make many voters question whether she can be trusted.

"I just think it might have been wise to have some sort of acknowledgment of that, of the email questions. Just essentially say something like, 'I know I made mistakes.'"

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. (Photo: A. Shaker / VOA)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on July 20, 2016. (Photo: A. Shaker / VOA)

Former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich called Clinton's address a "very solid, workmanlike speech," but said it contrasted greatly with the one Trump gave at his party's convention last week.

“He is saying we are in trouble and here are big things I’m going to do to get us out of trouble," Gingrich said on Fox News. "She’s saying we’re really doing pretty good and here are a handful of additional things I’m going to do to keep us moving in the right direction. So they’re radically different speeches and they’re appealing to radically different people.”

Carmen Morris, who was in attendance for the speech, told VOA that Clinton showed her dedication and commitment, and that Americans need to follow her calls to come together.

"We have our plate full in terms of challenges that we face, that we need to correct things, we need to make things better and we need to get rid of some of the things that is in our society that plagues us like all these senseless killings," Morris said. "And she is aware. The key thing for me is she is aware of all these things."

Elizabeth Cherneff contributed to this report.

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