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Hillary Clinton Delivers Foreign Policy Speech In San Diego

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Hillary Clinton did not hold back this afternoon. In San Diego, ahead of the California primary, she gave a speech about national security. She didn't focus so much on her own policy proposals. Instead, Clinton made the case that Donald Trump is unfit to be commander-in-chief.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes because it's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin.

(LAUGHTER)

SHAPIRO: NPR's Tamara Keith joins us now here in the studio. Hey, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Tell us more about what Hillary Clinton said in this speech.

KEITH: She went after Donald Trump, and she went after him. And then she went after him again. And it was sort of zingers weaved in with anecdotes about her time as secretary of state, her own view about America's role in the world. And then there were times where it seemed like she was just straight up trolling Donald Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: We all know the tools Donald Trump brings to the table - bragging, mocking, composing nasty tweets. I'm willing to bet he's writing a few right now.

(LAUGHTER)

KEITH: And he was.

SHAPIRO: And, indeed, he was. What did they say?

KEITH: Well, it actually looked like he was starting to live tweet the speech right up until that moment where she delivered that line about him tweeting, and then it's been radio silence ever sent.

His last tweet during the speech said, quote, "bad performance by crooked Hillary - exclamation point. Reading poorly from teleprompter - exclamation point. She doesn't even look presidential - exclamation point."

SHAPIRO: I think he misspelled teleprompter in there. Go on.

KEITH: He did. You know, Republicans out on cable and reacting to this expressed frustration, though, that he wasn't criticizing her over the Iran nuclear deal or Libya or Syria or Benghazi. And the fact is she does have vulnerabilities that could be criticized in those very areas.

And in the past, both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have gone after her and said, yes, she has experience, but not always the best judgment.

SHAPIRO: Well, she did talk a lot about Donald Trump, but also talked about her own national security and foreign-policy experience. What did she say there?

KEITH: She didn't talk about Benghazi or the Iraq War or her - even her views on the appropriate time for American military intervention. But she did talk a lot about her travels overseas as secretary of state and more than once she talked about that pivotal moment for the Obama administration in the situation room advising the president on the bin Laden raid and then watching and waiting while that happened.

And she used that event to attack Trump on something that he has said where he - and he later softened it - but he said that he would have the military go after the families of terrorists.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: During the raid to kill bin Laden, when every second counted, our SEALs took the time to move the women and children in the compound to safety. Donald Trump may not get it, but that's what honor looks like.

(APPLAUSE)

SHAPIRO: Tam, what do you sense the Clinton campaign was trying to accomplish with this speech?

KEITH: A couple of things - the line that she delivered that I think was the point of this speech for her is she said making Donald Trump our commander-in-chief would be a historic mistake. She is really trying to make an argument about the commander-in-chief test and define him before he can define himself.

The other thing, though, is there is a primary on Tuesday in California. She delivered this speech in California. Bernie Sanders has said he'd be the best one to take on Donald Trump. She appears to be saying with this speech not so fast.

SHAPIRO: NPR's Tamara Keith. Thanks as always.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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