Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton went on the offensive July 14, pushing for job creation, equal pay for women and immigration policies she said would not break up families.
But perhaps the biggest goal for Clinton was making sure likely Republican nominee Donald Trump does not win the presidency.
“This would be a good reality show, but it’s so serious,” said Clinton, speaking at a campaign rally at Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus.
Clinton focused on Trump’s personality and quoted the late poet Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Clinton vowed to raise taxes on the wealthy and those who can afford to pay, but vowed, “I will not raise taxes on the middle class.”
Regarding education, Clinton advocated for free community college and working to ensure students at four-year institutions did not graduate mired in debt. She also said she would press for paid family leave.
Clinton shared the stage with U.S. Sen. Timothy Kaine (D-Va.), a former Virginia governor and possible vice-presidential pick.
Kaine touted Clinton’s accomplishments, including eight years as First Lady, plus service as a U.S. senator and secretary of state.
Kaine boiled the race down to three questions: “Do you want a ‘You’re fired’ president or a ‘You’re hired’ president?”, “Do you want a trash-talking president or a bridge-building president?” and “Do you want a ‘me-first’ president or a ‘kids-and-families’ president?”
U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) said the presidential contest boiled down to character.
“This election is about integrity, which Hillary Clinton has in abundance and Donald Trump doesn’t have at all,” he said.
Beyer also excoriated Trump’s business record, citing numerous bankruptcies, more than 3,000 lawsuits and pay disputes with workers.
“If he cannot take care of his own employees, how can he ever take care of the American people?” Beyer asked.
U.S. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-11th) called Trump an “authoritarian figure” and “pathological narcissist” and said the November election was about America’s future.
“Never in American history have we faced as clear a choice as a country as we face this year,” he said.
With Hillary Clinton, Democrats “are nominating among the most qualified human beings ever to run for president of the United States,” Connolly said.
The event drew several hundred people, who queued up in lines that snaked along the community college’s service road.
Those who arrived early at the event were treated to songs sung by an African-American gospel choir; late arrivals made do with pre-recorded music by Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and other pop artists.
Some attendees wore red shirts with slogans in white reading “Does Your Candidate Have a Plan for Social Security?”, “Pantsuit Up” and “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.” Others held up signs reading “Love Trumps Hate,” and “HRC (heart symbol) 45,” which would be Clinton’s number in the presidential pantheon.
Many Democrats from Northern Virginia’s General Assembly delegation, plus some Fairfax County School Board members, sat in prime seats at one side of the podium.
Outside, vendors before and after the event hawked Clinton campaign buttons, T-shirts and other items.
“Cash, debit or credit,” one called out to the crowd leaving the rally. “My stuff comes with an eight-year guarantee.”