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Clinton: Trump has 'no idea what he'd do to stop ISIS'

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally in Norfolk, Va., Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Speaking to supporters in California Thursday, Hillary Clinton argued why her presidency would mean a safer future for America.

"As a candidate for president, there's nothing I take more seriously than National security," Clinton told supporters gathered in San Diego.

Clinton told the crowd that Trump is unable to fulfill the responsibilities of the presidency, describing his foreign policies as "a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies."

"He is not just unprepared, he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility," Clinton said.

Clinton also accused Trump as misunderstanding what the threat posed by ISIS, saying that a Trump presidency would "embolden ISIS," and criticizing him for having "no idea how to stop ISIS."

While Clinton touted her own "clear strategy," to defeat the Islamic state, she failed to delve into it in her remarks, continuing a pattern that's played out through the election: while candidates have been eager to talk about the Islamic State, the details have been hazy.

"We're still in a stage of sound bites," Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Professor of History and Political Science at Vanderbilt University explained.

While the platforms written by the two parties are likely to give us a bit more detail on their foreign policy positions, Schwartz said he doubts such concrete details will be coming out of the candidates mouths.

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Addressing what voters may miss out on in such a situation, Schwartz described the theories presented by his colleague, Dr. John Geer, who argues that negative campaigning is a legitimate and important feature of the American campaign.

Noting how the presence of negative campaigning in modern day politics likely supports this theory, Schwartz said that "does mean that voters will get more of a reason not to vote for the other guy," than an explanation as to why they should vote for a specific candidate.

Candidates, Schwartz said have learned that if they lay out courses of action that opens them up to criticisms.

While voters may be getting cheated in a sense, Schwartz explained, this is something that in some ways they have brought upon themselves.

"In the sense that negative campaigning does seem to work," Schwartz said.


Dr. Michael Desch, Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, also noted negativity when commenting on the amount of substance that we've seen in the candidates comments.

"The problem for both of them is the discussion is very much cast in negative terms," said Desch suggesting this was a function of the fact that both Clinton and Trump have really strong negatives.

"We're sort of racing to the bottom," Desch said. With both candidates seeing tanking approval ratings over their shoulders, they're trying to bring the other persons ratings lower than their own.

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"I would like to see more of a fact and logic debate about different approaches for dealing with the real problem which I think ISIS constitutes," Desch said.

While the specific details of what the candidates' approaches would be are lacking, the ways in which they depart from one another are starting to emerge.

"The broad outlines of their differences are becoming a little bit clearer," Desch explained.

Asked how the policies Hillary Clinton has presented for combating ISIS differ from those presented by Trump, Schwartz pointed to Trump's non-committal nature.

"The problem is that Trump has been a bit all over the place on the Islamic State," Schwartz said.

While Trump "certainly promises to destroy" the terror group, he seems to be offering different, and at times conflicting strategy suggestions.

Schwartz suggested that is why Clinton will likely try to argue that Trump is erratic.

While Clinton's record as Secretary of State demonstrates consistency, experts questioned whether or not the outcomes of some of her decisions help her seem more qualified to handle the threat facing our nation.

"The problem is that her experience as Secretary of State is a mixed bag," Schwartz suggested.

Schwartz described the "failed intervention," in Libya as well as "Benghazi and accusations she got Americans killed."

"It's something of a mixed legacy" Schwartz said.

"On the one hand some voters will see it as a mark in her favor," Schwartz said, explaining that on the other side some will see her record, as Trump has argued, as "a mark of failure."

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"It's kind of a wash," Desch said. While Clinton can argue that her experience in the senate and as Secretary of State show she would be a more effective recipient of a 2 a.m. phone call, Desch argued there have been a lot of decisions Clinton has made or been associated with that have not ended so well.

"She'll say 'yep, I was there with President Obama when we sent Seal Team Six to get Osama Bin Laden,' He'll say 'right you also voted for the Iraq war."

"I think it cuts both ways, to be honest."

Desch reiterated the intense negatives both candidates face, describing Trump as being "perceived as shooting from the hip [and] not having a detailed plan," while Clinton is seen "as having a track record of, at best, mixed results."

Those factors considered, Desch suggested "means that it's going to be sort of a wash how this turns out, at least on the foreign policy side."

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