SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hillary Clinton vowed to defend Americans she says have been attacked by rival Donald Trump on Thursday, telling donors at a fundraiser that the campaign's negative tone might make some people retreat to the Internet to watch soothing cat GIFs.
Without mentioning allegations of sexual assault against Trump, Clinton said, "disturbing stories just keep on coming" about him. But she offered herself as a buffer to his insults of immigrants, African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and the disabled.
"There's hardly any part of America that he has not targeted. Now it makes you want to turn off the news. It makes you want to unplug the Internet or just look at cat GIFs," Clinton said to laughter. "Believe me, I get it. In the last few weeks, I've watched a lot of cats do a lot of weird and interesting things. But we have a job to do and it will be good for people and for cats."
Clinton delivered her most extensive remarks about allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump days after a video showed him bragging about kissing women and forcing himself on them without their permission. She also referenced reports that Trump's team may aggressively try to use her husband's past infidelities against her — beyond their decision to bring four former Bill Clinton accusers to last weekend's second presidential debate.
"His campaign is promising more scorched earth attacks. Now that's up to him. He can run his campaign however he chooses. And frankly I don't care if he goes after me. I signed on for this. But I will defend and stand up for every other person or every other group," she said.
Clinton urged voters not to become wary of the negative tone of the campaign. "I think some people are discouraged by it, feel that they don't want to even get involved by voting because it's so abhorrent to them," Clinton said. "But we have to make the case that the best way to rebuke the kind of campaign that the other side has run is by defeating my opponent and what he stands for."
Later, in an interview with "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Clinton said that Trump tried to "stalk" her on the debate stage, calling it "so odd." She said during the St. Louis debate she would "feel this presence behind me" as Trump walked close to her on stage. "I felt, whoa, this is really weird."
Clinton sat down for the popular daytime talk show ahead of a Los Angeles fundraiser with singer Elton John, discussing her bout with pneumonia, first lady Michelle Obama's message on the campaign trail and Clinton's upcoming 69th birthday.
Guarding against complacency, Clinton said she didn't want anyone to "think this election is over" because it has been so unpredictable. "I'm not taking anything for granted. We've got to work really hard for the next 3 1/2 weeks because, who knows — who knows what can happen?" Clinton said.