With election results posting in her favor across multiple states Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton appeared before a celebratory in Miami and in a 14-minute speech sounded more like the Democratic nominee than a primary candidate.
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Following a stop at a BET event in Bal Harbour, the former secretary of state appeared at the Ice Palace film studios and delivered a message of reconciliation and cooperation while also throwing subtle jabs at potential Republican opponents in a general election.
Clinton congratulated Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on likely victories in Oklahoma and Vermont. But she never mentioned or alluded to him again as she established leads in Massachussetts and Minnesota and looked to win in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
“We've got work to do. But that work is not to make America great again,” she said, alluding to the phrase often used by Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. “America never stopped being great. We have to make America whole.”
While touting the nation’s recovery from a recession under President Barack Obama, Clinton spoke about visiting Flint, Mich., where children have been poisoned by toxic drinking water, and talked about changing lives for black families harassed by police and poor children doomed to attend failing schools. She said, in another allusion to Trump, that “instead of building walls, we're going to break down barriers.” When she spoke about breaking down barriers for women, the crowd erupted.
Haitian-American Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Jean Monestime introduced Clinton to the crowd at the studio, and whipped a multi-generational, multi-ethnic crowd into a roar. The audience, many of whom carried a great admiration for Clinton, lined up hours before the event in a line that snaked around North Miami Avenue and down 14th Street to see Clinton. They mostly ignored a small group of protesters carrying signs that said Clinton had “sold out” America and Israel.
“She's gonna be the nominee and she's going to beat Donald Trump. She's gonna kill him,” said Elizabeth Allen, of Boca Raton, who brought along a Bill Clinton for First Lady T-shirt. “I know Donald Trump. He's a terrible person.”
Earlier in the evening, at the luxurious St. Regis Bal Harbour resort, Clinton received a warm welcome from about 100 black female executives at the BET network’s Leading Women Defined summit. Host Debra Lee, the network’s CEO, called Clinton a “friend” as the two began to chat, and Lee was ecstatic about the chance to have the candidate appear on Super Tuesday.
“It just gives me chills,” she told Clinton.
Clinton began the interview saying, “Obviously I’m thinking about the states that voted today.” Then, in a line that received strong applause, Clinton said she was “thinking about how we can try to elevate the political dialogue, get away from the insults, and the really mean-spirited language.”
Some of the crowd sat in plush white couches, others at round bar tables with gold-colored tablecloths. Among those attending was Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin.
Early in her remarks, Clinton mentioned Fulton by name, and said she thinks about Fulton and other mothers who have lost children “to either police action, or senseless, terrible gun violence.”
“I’m always in awe of how they have been able to channel their grief into action,” Clinton said.