FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Hillary Clinton's savage takedown of Donald Trump in her recent foreign policy speech has her supporters fired up.
As the likely Democratic nominee toured California Saturday, crowds burst into applause at the mere mention of Thursday's speech, in which Clinton cast Trump as dangerously unqualified to be president. Supporters say they feel more confident and excited in the wake of the address — which could benefit Clinton, who has struggled to inspire enthusiasm throughout the drawn-out primary contest.
"I loved it. I was waiting for that," said Leslie Milke, 56, of Woodland Hills, a professor at Los Angeles Mission College, who saw Clinton. "I knew she was capable of that kind of speech....It really made me feel energized. It made me feel like we can win."
Clinton's speech in San Diego previewed her intention to mount an aggressive campaign against the real estate mogul. In it, she said Trump would lead the nation toward war and economic crisis, contrasting it with her long years of diplomatic experience and public service. Looking to the November general election, Clinton, who is expected to clinch the Democratic nomination in the coming days, said that electing Trump would be a "historic mistake."
Since then Clinton has only increased the heat.
"I think it is time to judge Donald Trump by his words and his deeds. I think his words and his deeds disqualify him from being president," Clinton said in Oxnard, Calif., on Saturday. She later mockingly cited some of Trump's past remarks, saying: "One of my personal favorites is he said he knows how to deal with Putin because he took the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow."
Later in the day, a raucous crowd of more than 1,400 in Fresno started chanting "Hillary, Hillary," when Clinton mentioned her speech.
"Donald Trump is not qualified or temperamentally fit to be president of the United States," Clinton said amid applause.
As she shifted her focus almost entirely to the presumptive Republican nominee, her rival Bernie Sanders continued his quest for the Democratic nomination, defiantly declaring Saturday that Clinton will not have enough pledged delegates after Tuesday's contests, and the Democrats are headed toward a contested summer convention.
Still, Clinton supporters like Walter Guzman, 44, of Oxnard, said it was time for her to turn to Trump, saying "she needs to stop concentrating on Bernie and start concentrating on Trump."
Of course, engaging with Trump — who has shown little restraint with negative campaigning and is skilled at sucking up media attention — has its risks. Many of Trump's GOP primary opponents sought to take him on unsuccessfully, most notably Sen. Marco Rubio, whose Trump attacks were viewed as out of keeping with his inspirational message.
Sandy Emberland, 72, of Thousand Oaks, said she knew the race was "going to be dirty and bad," but said "I think she will stay above the fray."
Meanwhile, Sonia Prince, 60, of North Oxnard, said that while she is confident Clinton can fight fire with fire, she'd prefer not to hear about Trump at all.
"Because bad publicity or good publicity, it's publicity for him," she said.