Story highlights

Clinton gave an economic speech Thursday

It is in Detroit

Detroit CNN  — 

Hillary Clinton lambasted Donald Trump’s economic plans in a speech Thursday as nothing more than a huge tax break for himself, labeling tax cuts he proposed earlier this week as “the Trump Loophole.”

Throughout her speech on the floor of a factory north of Detroit, Clinton accused Trump of using his presidential campaign to boost wealthy people like himself, looking to drive home a message that the only person Trump is looking out for is Trump.

“He would give trillions in tax cuts to big corporations, millionaires, and Wall Street money managers,” Clinton said. “In his speech on Monday, he called for a new tax loophole – let’s call it the ‘Trump Loophole’.”

She added, “It would allow him to pay less than half the current tax rate on income from many of his companies. He’d pay a lower rate than millions of middle class families.”

Clinton slammed the Republican nominee for proposing to eliminate of the Estate Tax, a move that would save his family $4 billion dollars based on the $10 billion Trump says he is worth.

“He’s offered no credible plans to address what working families are up against today,” Clinton said. “Nothing on student loans or the cost of prescription drugs. Nothing for farmers and struggling rural communities … Nothing for communities of color in our cities to overcome barriers of systemic racism. Nothing to create new opportunities for young people.”

Clinton closed the speech by arguing that Trump is only offering “a more extreme version of the failed theory of trickle-down economics, with the addition of his own unique Trumpian ideas that even Republicans reject.”

“He hasn’t offered any credible solutions for the very real economic challenges we face,” Clinton said. “Now those challenges emerged long before the recession, and they’ve persisted through our recovery. There’s too much inequality, too little upward mobility. It’s just too hard to get ahead.”

With economic numbers improving but many Americans not feeling a boost, the economy has become a flash point in the 2016 race. Clinton has looked to counter Trump’s populist, anti-trade message with pledges to help the middle class, small businesses and American manufacturers.

“Now, before he tweets about how he’s really one who’ll put ‘America First’ in trade, let’s remember where Trump makes many of his own products,” she said. “Because it’s sure not America. He’s made Trump ties in China and Trump suits in Mexico instead of here in Michigan. He keeps saying it’s not possible to make these things in America anymore. That’s just wrong.”

Clinton said Thursday that Trump “may talk a big game on trade, but his approach is based on fear, not strength.”

Clinton accused Trump of being afraid to stack American workers up against the competition, saying: “If Team USA was as fearful as Trump, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles would be cowering in the locker room. Instead, they’re winning gold medals.”

Clinton’s speech was not a new policy roll out, but was more intended to be a direct rebuttal to the mix of tax breaks and a simplification of the tax code that Trump outlined in an economic address on Monday in Detroit.

Trump said, as president, that he would halve the number of income tax brackets and vowed that the poorest Americans will not pay any taxes.

Clinton aides said Thursday that while the speech was in the works for weeks, their desire to respond to Trump’s economic plan in the same area he did it was heightened after they watched Trump’s speech on Monday. Aides said they wanted Clinton herself as the “candidate will stand up for working families and the middle class” while arguing that Trump will be the candidate that “only benefits millionaires like himself.”

The one new policy prescription Clinton did propose on Thursday: Expanding the child tax credit, a deduction worth $1,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17.

Clinton delivered her economic address in Macomb County, just outside Detroit, in the heart of some of the nation’s most fabled political terrain.

It was here the term “Reagan Democrat” was coined after he visited the county and made a plea to voters feeling the pains of economic hardship.

Yet, as Trump attempts to run an economic populist campaign that hits Clinton on trade and taxes, it’s an open question whether the history books will be updated with the term “Trump Democrats” after November.

Former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard said he expects there to be more ‘“Hillary Republicans” in Michigan.

“You’re talking about 36 whatever years ago, and a lot has changed,” Blanchard told CNN. “There’s still a lot of people with fond memories of Reagan but he was measured, optimistic, positive, I don’t think I remember him saying an unkind word about anybody. So it would be a totally different style and I think Hillary Clinton will not only carry Macomb County as Obama did, but carry Michigan.”

The county, which is filled with disaffected Democrats, out-of-work blue collar workers and is less racially diverse than nearby Detroit, should be prime territory for Trump.

But Clinton’s campaign sees it as fertile territory for her to seize on Trump’s vulnerabilities by questioning his commitment to the American economy by noting his history of outsourcing.

Trump overwhelmingly won Macomb County in the Republican Primary, winning almost 50% of the vote in a crowded field. And where did he rally days before Republicans went to the polls: Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center in Warren, a venue just miles from where Clinton spokes on Thursday.

As Clinton rolled into Warren before her speech, pro-Trump protesters, some holding signs that read “Hillary for Prison,” marched up and down the street in front of the machining and manufacturing plant in swing Macomb County.

Clinton’s speech came at the same time that her campaign is mounting a concerted effort to win over Republicans disaffected by Trump’s candidacy.

On Wednesday, the Clinton campaign launched “Together for America,” a group of Republican politicians, strategists and academics who have come out for Clinton. The list includes former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, former Congressman Chris Shays and former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.

Clinton aides see her focus on the economy, especially spurring small businesses growth and investment in American industries, as one area that more Republicans could be drawn away from Trump.

The Trump campaign issued a statement Thursday, saying: “Right now the American economy is only working for the rigged system in Washington and on Wall Street, yet Hillary Clinton is running to keep things as they are. Clinton’s plans today will short circuit our economy by raising taxes, increasing spending and killing jobs. Donald Trump presents a better vision and a new direction – a plan to unleash prosperity, create jobs and increase wages so that all Americans can succeed.”