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Clinton Touts 'American Exceptionalism' in Appeal to Republicans


American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett presents an award to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after she spoke at the American Legion's 98th Annual Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Aug. 31, 2016.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, speaking Wednesday to an American Legion convention in Cincinnati, sought to appeal to Republican and independent voters concerned about Republican Donald Trump's national security credentials and his fitness for office.

"This election shouldn't be about ideology. It's not just about differences over policy," Clinton told the veterans group. "It truly is about who has the experience and the temperament to serve as president and commander in chief."

Clinton, a former secretary of state and former U.S. senator from New York, emphasized the United States' role as a superpower and offered a salute to "American exceptionalism," a term conservatives often use in a foreign policy context.

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Clinton on International Relationship Building, Trump's Rhetoric
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"When we say America is exceptional ... it means that we recognize America's unique and unparalleled ability to be a force for peace and progress," Clinton said. "When America fails to lead, we leave a vacuum."

She accused Trump of supporting a retreat from world affairs and indicated that his suggestions that U.S. forces should torture terror subjects and threaten their families would endanger the country.

Trump's Mexican visit

Clinton spoke on the same day that Trump met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City to try to build up his foreign policy credentials. Clinton's campaign said Nieto also had invited her to visit and that they would confer at a later date.

In her speech, Clinton noted that she had been endorsed for the presidency by a number of Republican foreign policy experts. On Wednesday, she secured another, this one from James Clad, who was a deputy assistant defense secretary under President George W. Bush.

Clad's statement said that “giving an incoherent amateur the keys to the White House this November will doom us to second- or third-class status.”

FILE - GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump
FILE - GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump

Clinton's Cincinnati speech came after several days of major private fundraisers held for her in the New York area, where she collected millions of dollars in preparation for the homestretch of her campaign.

Though many polls across the country have shown Clinton leading in the race for the White House, she has insisted that her campaign will not play it safe. At a fundraiser on Monday, she told backers she was “running against someone who will say or do anything. And who knows what that might be?”

Trump's immigration stance

Trump was scheduled to speak about his immigration policy Wednesday evening in Arizona and was expected to clarify his pledge to deport all 11 million people thought to be living in the United States illegally.

The Republican had spoken during his battle for the party's nomination about using a "deportation force" to clear the country of undocumented immigrants, but over the last few weeks he has suggested in meetings with Hispanic activists that his position could change. More mixed signals have come from the nominee and his assistants in recent days.

Information for this story came from AP. and Reuters.