SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Friday the mass killing in California heightened the need for intelligence sharing, military strikes in places where extreme elements have taken hold and a prohibition of gun purchases by those on terror watch lists.
The former secretary of state said in Iowa that the massacre that left 14 dead and many more injured in San Bernardino, California, showed the U.S. must step up its vigilance against global threats. She said the fight must also occur online, given the sophisticated use of the Internet by extremist groups.
"We're going to have to figure out how we deprive them of the oxygen of social media. They run multiple Twitter accounts and other kinds of accounts," Clinton told reporters after a town hall event. "I don't know that we would let that continue if we were dealing with a criminal network. Why should we let it continue if we're dealing with a terrorist network?"
Clinton's remarks came as the FBI announced it was officially investigating the shooting as an act of terrorism and indications one of the shooters made an online posting pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group and its leader. Clinton said the evidence increasingly adds "support for the view this was a terrorist act."
She said the nation needs to be vigilant and cooperative, "collecting and analyzing information," and urged the government to "redouble our efforts to dismantle the global structure of terrorism."
Throughout the day, Clinton harped on a vote in Washington against a measure to bar gun purchases by people whose name appear on no-fly lists for flights to and around the United States. Republicans, in turn, said Clinton's nod to gun control was misplaced.
"The fact Hillary Clinton and President Obama continue to exploit this situation to push for more restrictions on Americans' Second Amendment rights is as deplorable as it is dangerous," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.
Clinton scoffed at the criticism.
"I know we can save lives and we shouldn't be conflating the two," she said, referring to her efforts to protect people from terrorism and to the GOP criticism about gun control. "We can go after terrorists and we need to do more to save the lives of Americans every single day from homicide, suicide and these terrible accidents."
Clinton's two stops in Iowa, the home of the nation's leadoff presidential caucuses, were also about plugging a new plan to rebuild the nation's aging transportation system. It would aim to spend $275 billion to fix crumbling bridges, highways and airports, and would seek to create a national infrastructure bank that has been blocked by Republicans during President Barack Obama's two terms.
She was joined by Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who became the third member of President Barack Obama's cabinet to endorse Clinton. Perez praised Clinton as an advocate for workers, telling supporters, "Her North Star is the middle class."
Orange-shirted laborers from a union out of Des Moines dotted the crowd as well as local carpenters and people from other unions. The audience wasn't entirely union workers, though, and aides collected get-out-the-vote information from people as they walked into the training center.
David Parker, a carpenter's union member from Sioux City who does caulking and panel work on commercial job sites, wore a Clinton T-shirt but said he still isn't fully sold on her candidacy.
"She says she's for labor and labor-friendly and wants to spend all this money on infrastructure and stuff," he said. "We've endorsed others before and they'll promise you this and that and give you nothing. We've been burnt so many times. I've got t-shirts from other campaigns that are in a dresser drawer. You throw them over the top of something else when you want to go do something nasty."
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.
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