Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wasted little time in attacking her Republican opponent — using her Wayne State University appearance to rebut a number of Donald Trump's claims during their second debate Sunday night.
"Anybody see that debate last night? (You've) never seen anything like that," she said seconds after a beyond-capacity crowd roared their welcome at the Matthaei Center in Midtown Detroit. "Donald Trump spent his time attacking when he should have been apologizing."
She went on to use words like "bizarre" to describe the Republican nominee's various claims throughout the debate.
What she didn't directly address was Trump's controversial comments about sexually assaulting women that were captured on video and audio in 2005 and became public Friday.
The first speaker of the event — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan — took a sly shot at Trump's reference to his comments being simply locker room talk. "Hillary is speaking for all the people who aren't in those country club locker rooms."
Clinton told the crowd that her campaign is "winning more and more support not just from independents but also Republicans."
Since the release of the 2005 tape, a number of Republicans — including former presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John McCain and Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley — have withdrawn their endorsements, but have said they will still not vote for Clinton.
Detroit resident Barry Marshall, 47, of Detroit, said after the speech he wished Clinton has spent more time on Trump's treatment of women.
"I don't think there's anyone out there who believes him when he says he's changed and is a different person," Marshall said. "My dad always told me that who you were when you thought no one was looking was who you really were. He's a sexist pig — and there's no way around that."
The one controversy Clinton spent time on was Trump's taxes. The New Yorks Times reported Trump took a nearly $916-million loss in 1995 and likely hasn't paid federal income tax since.
That didn't sit well with Clinton.
"I believe everyone in this room has paid more income tax than (Trump) has," she said.
After attacking Trump, Clinton made sure to feed red meat to her crowd — made up of college students and union workers.
She took Trump to task for his companies' business practices, including buying cheap steel from China to "build his skyscrapers."
"I do have some advice for Donald Trump: He wants to make America great again. Start by buying American steel," she said.
She also reiterated her support for making college tuition free for families earning les than $125,000.
That drew a loud cheer, including from Danielle Marcus, 19, a sophomore at Wayne State.
"We pay way too much for college," she said. "You have to take out huge loans and then you are in debt forever. It can really ruin your life. I think college should be like high school and be free, at least for those who don't make very much money."
Monday's visit was Clinton's first appearance in Michigan since Aug. 11, when she gave a speech on jobs and the economy in Warren.
She has sent a flock of surrogates to speak on her behalf in recent weeks, including her husband, former President Bill Clinton; her daughter, Chelsea Clinton; vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who was a Democratic candidate for president until dropping out after the Iowa caucuses. Bernie Sanders made several stops in Michigan last week campaigning for her.
Trump has been in Michigan five times since he was nominated.
In the latest Free Press/WXYZ poll taken before Sunday’s debate, Clinton regained an 11-percentage-point lead — 43%-32% — over Trump in the new poll, the same level of support she had following the nominating convention in Philadelphia in July and far outdistancing last month's results, when her 3-percentage-point lead over Trump was within the poll's margin of error and suggested he might catch her in a state that hasn't backed a Republican nominee since 1988.
Contact David Jesse 313-222-8851 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdavidj.
Detroit Free Press