Hillary Clinton’s big economics speech in Warren, Michigan, today was a pretty standard address that veered between the campy clichés and intricate policy details that are hallmarks of your average Democratic platform.
The only thing missing? Obama. Despite giving the fact that her address touched on some of his signature proposals, Clinton made zero mention of the president who’s been in charge of the economy for the last seven years and change.
Instead of making her typical promise to “build on President Obama’s legacy,” she ran through a list of possible new federal spending programs she believes would spur economic growth.
That included a pitch to dramatically boost infrastructure spending—an idea Trump also backs—as well as support for getting every American home broadband internet within four years and tax credits for companies that offer paid apprenticeships.
Those apprenticeships, she added, could be a good alternative to a four-year college education.
“I think we’ve got to reverse what has become a kind of commonplace view, which is everybody needs to go to college,” she said.
And she made a quiet, Olympics-pegged case for globalization. In criticizing Trump, Clinton suggested her Republican opponent’s calls for restricted immigration and foreign trade come from a lack of confidence.
“His approach is based on fear, not strength—fear that we can’t compete with the rest of the world even when the rules are fair,” she said.
“If Team USA was as fearful as Trump, Michael Phelps and Simone Biles would be cowering in the locker room afraid to come out to compete,” she added.
The implication? That global trade deals and higher levels of legal immigration aren’t wrecking America, and that the country is nowhere near the Third World hellhole that Trump thinks he sees from the window of his jet.
But Clinton’s defense of globalization was less than full-throated. Despite her ardent efforts to gin up support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal as Secretary of State—she even called it “the gold standard in trade agreements”—Clinton said today that she is super-duper against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and always will be.
“I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” she stated. “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election, and I’ll oppose it as president.”
It’s a sharp repudiation of President Obama’s stance on the deal; he’s worked hard to build support for it, and sees it as a key part of his pivot-to-Asia foreign policy legacy.
So Clinton dropped one of her favorite stump-speech lines today, with no mention of growing Obama’s legacy, and instead talked about the perks of togetherness.
“If you step back, you’ll see we’re all in this together,” she said. “If we can grow together, we can all rise together. Because, you know what I like to say: We are stronger together.”
“I just don’t think insults and bullying is how we’re going to get things done,” she added.
Other things she’s looking to get done? Expanding Social Security, passing comprehensive immigration reform, and “strengthening unions” (no mention in the speech of how).
Clinton also talked up her hopes of making it possible for students to get four-year college degrees without accruing debt. And she praised Macomb County Community College for playing a “great role” in helping companies do skills training. Clinton isn’t the first prominent Dem to name-check the school; last September, Obama traveled to Macomb County Community College to pitch his own plan to make community college free for high schoolers with high GPAs. That plan went nowhere.
But it’s another reminder—as this whole speech was—that Clinton is comfortable with Obama’s technocratic, globalist-friendly style of governance. Even if she won’t name him.