Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made an open plea Wednesday for support from Republicans and independents, hoping to capitalize on what her campaign contends was a suggestion from Republican Donald Trump calling for violence against her.
Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, created a new web site, togetherforamerica.com, looking for names of new voters. It said she "understands the complex and volatile world we live in, and she has the temperament to be president and commander-in-chief. Donald Trump does not."
She made the appeal hours after Trump told voters at a rally Tuesday that Clinton would "decimate the Second Amendment," which guarantees Americans the right to bear arms. He said gun rights are at stake in the election, because of a vacancy on the Supreme Court and the potential for the next president to name other new justices who could rule in favor of more restrictions on gun ownership.
But then he told a cheering rally in North Carolina, "By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, [there's] nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people ... Maybe there is. I don't know."
The Clinton campaign and Democratic opponents of Trump said his comment was a suggestion for violence against her, while Trump said it was nothing of the sort. His Republican supporters described it as an ill-conceived comment, perhaps a bad joke, but they said he certainly was not calling for gun violence against her if she wins the election, now less than three months away.
Trump blames media
CNN reported Wednesday that the Secret Service, which guards President Barack Obama and U.S. presidential candidates, discussed the matter with the Republican contender.
On his Twitter account, Trump blamed the news media for the latest uproar.
Media desperate to distract from Clinton%27s anti-2A stance. I said pro-2A citizens must organize and get out vote to save our Constitution!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2016
The National Rifle Association, which endorses Trump, defended him on Twitter and cast the election as a decision about the Second Amendment. The country's biggest gun lobby launched a $3 million television advertising campaign against Clinton, calling her "out of touch" for living under Secret Service protection while calling for new gun restrictions.
Clinton backs ‘common-sense reforms’
Clinton said during her speech at the Democratic National Convention last month that she does not want to repeal the Second Amendment or take away people's guns, but she does advocate "common-sense reforms."
"I just don't want you to be shot by someone who shouldn't have a gun in the first place," she said.
Republican House leader Paul Ryan told reporters that Trump's comment Tuesday sounded like a "joke gone bad."
"You should never joke about something like that," he said.
The back-and-forth comments over Trump's gun remark came as yet another major news organization, Bloomberg News, said its latest national poll shows Clinton with an edge in the race for the White House, 50 to 44 percent.
The nonpartisan website realclearpolitics.com, which compiles an average of multiple polls, shows Clinton, seeking to become the first female president in the U.S., with a 7.7-percentage-point lead over Trump, a real estate mogul making his first run for elected office.
The winner of the November 8 election will become the 45th U.S. president, succeeding Obama when he leaves office in January.
WATCH: Trump Crossed the Line, Clinton Says