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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton clash over terror attack

After a week of continual speculation about Hillary Clinton's health helped Donald Trump surge to a tie in the polls, the attacks in New York and New Jersey will now dominate the race.

The first presidential debate next Monday night will now be a battle between who has the strength to provide security to the nation.

Monday provided a preview of that debate, with Mrs Clinton arguing that Mr Trump's rhetoric was a valuable propaganda tool for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.


"We know that a lot of the rhetoric we've heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular Isis, because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam rather than a war against jihadists," she said at a press conference.


The Republican nominee countered that Mrs Clinton had made the US weaker while serving as secretary of state.

"Her attacks on me are all meant to deflect from her record of unleashing this monster," he said at a rally in Florida.

The focus on national security would seem to help Mr Trump, who has run as a strongman prepared to take bold action where he claims Mrs Clinton and President Barack Obama tend to equivocate.

But as Mrs Clinton said on Monday, it is she and not Mr Trump who has been in the Situation Room, helping to make the "hard decisions to take terrorists off the battlefield".

Hillary Clinton and other senior members of the Obama administration watch as the raid on Osama bin Laden

She has portrayed herself as a steady, thoughtful stateswoman, and Mr Trump as erratic and dangerous.

Polls reveal that voters do trust her more when it comes to matters of national security, though only by a narrow margin.

Those views were shaped by events earlier in the campaign - such as when Mr Trump bafflingly thanked his supporters for offering "congrats" because he had predicted that a terrorist attack would take place.

He has become a more disciplined candidate, and the focus on terrorism offers him an opportunity to win over those supporters who approve of his muscular approach, but worry that he lacks the temperament to implement it successfully.

Donald Trump on recent NY attacks: 'We're going to get tough, smart and vigilant'Play! 00:35
There are also benefits for Mrs Clinton, the most obvious being that her health is now on the back burner.

She will try and set a trap for Mr Trump, tempting him to one-up her with wild assertions and in so doing expose himself as little more than a bombastic novice.

Should she succeed, she will likely regain her lead in the polls. Should she fail, one of her signature advantages - that voters believe she is more prepared to keep America safe - could begin to evaporate.  The Telegraph

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