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Politics & Government

Hillary Clinton Responds To Mass Shooting In Orlando

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In every presidential campaign, there are turning points. And today could be one of them. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both gave speeches in response to the attack in Orlando. The differences between those responses were striking. In a moment, we'll hear from NPR's Don Gonyea who is with Donald Trump. But first, here's NPR's Tamara Keith. She's following the Clinton campaign.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: The usual Clinton campaign soundtrack of upbeat pop numbers was gone, replaced with somber instrumentals and when Clinton took the stage, no music at all.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HILLARY CLINTON: Today is not a day for politics. On Sunday, Americans woke up to a nightmare that's become mind-numbingly familiar, another act of terrorism in a place no one expected.

KEITH: Clinton said people are heartbroken and furious, but that the country must respond by coming together.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: The Orlando terrorist may be dead, but the virus that poisoned his mind remains very much alive, and we must attack it with clear eyes, steady hands, unwavering determination and pride in our country and our values.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Clinton talked about supporting the LGBT community, but the bulk of the speech was about the threat posed by ISIS and people who act on their own inspired by its message. While Clinton said the U.S. needs to do more to stop lone wolf attacks, she also called on American allies in the Middle East to crack down on terrorism.

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CLINTON: It is long past time for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: The attack in Orlando raised another issue that has been a key focus for Clinton throughout the campaign, gun violence.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: If the FBI is watching you for a suspected terrorist with links, you shouldn't be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: Clinton wants to expand terror watch lists, called for people on no-fly lists to be prevented from buying guns and wants to close loopholes that make it possible for gun buyers to avoid getting background checks.

Clinton never mentioned Donald Trump by name. But when she said things like this, it was clear who she was talking about.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: Threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim-Americans as well as millions of Muslim businesspeople and tourists from entering our country hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror.

KEITH: And that, she argued, makes America less safe. In a phone interview this morning with NPR's Steve Inskeep, Clinton responded to Trump's criticism - that she wouldn't use the phrase radical Islamic terrorism. She said it was part of his ongoing obsession with name-calling.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

CLINTON: You know, whether you call it radical jihadism or radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I'm happy to say either, but that's not the point. The point is Trump goes way too far.

KEITH: In Cleveland, Clinton closed out her remarks harkening back to September 12, 2001, a day, she said, when Americans of all walks of life rallied together.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CLINTON: We had each other's backs. I was a senator from New York. There was a Republican president, a Republican governor and a Republican mayor. We did not attack each other. We worked with each other to protect our country and to rebuild our city.

(APPLAUSE)

KEITH: But it seems that may have been a different time in American politics. Tamara Keith, NPR News, Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.