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Donald Trump has ‘nothing to offer the American people,’ Hillary Clinton charges

Hillary Clinton speech to union members
Hillary Clinton addresses the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at its conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
(John Gurzinski / AFP/Getty)

Hillary Clinton steered clear of the plagiarism controversy enveloping Donald Trump’s campaign Tuesday, instead heaping scorn on the Republican presidential candidate’s business record and the first day of his party’s convention.

“Last night in Cleveland was surreal,” she told union members in a speech in Las Vegas, comparing Trump’s dramatic entrance — silhouetted by bright lights as rock music blared — to the Wizard of Oz. 

“Lots of sound and fury,” Clinton said. “But when you pulled back the curtain, there was just Donald Trump, with nothing to offer the American people.” 

When Trump says he’ll help workers and get tough on Wall Street, Clinton said, “Don’t buy it.”

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“Donald Trump’s business model is basically fraud and abuse,” Clinton said.

She rattled off a list of Trump products that are produced outside the country, despite the candidate’s pledges to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United. States. 

“Trump ties come from China, not North Carolina,” Clinton said. “Trump suits were made in Mexico, not Ohio.”

Clinton also talked about the recent killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rogue, an issue that has inflamed an already raw national debate over policing and race relations.

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“If you take aim at police officers, you take aim at all of us,” she said in a speech to a union conference. “There can be no justification for killing a police officer. None — none at all.”

At the same time, Clinton said police need training in the “proper use of force” and “how to build trust with the communities they serve.” 

Amid her blistering criticisms of Trump, Clinton made  no mention of the most talked-about story from the first day of the Republican convention — allegations that the speech delivered by Trump’s wife Monday night included lines lifted from a Michelle Obama speech in 2008. 

Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has defended Melania Trump and accused Clinton’s operation of stoking the controversy. 

Clinton has been working to rally union support for her candidacy, and spoke to two organizations in Las Vegas on Tuesday. 

Her first speech was at a conference hosted by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, where she pledged to defend workers’ collective bargaining rights. 

“Supporting and respecting public employees means supporting and respecting police officers and firefighters, all the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe,” she told the union members.

Clinton later spoke to Unite Here, another labor group that includes the Culinary Union, a political powerhouse in Las Vegas. The union, which had decided not to back a candidate during Nevada’s caucus in February, endorsed her Tuesday.

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“We will deliver Nevada for Hillary Clinton,” said Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union.

Clinton is scheduled to campaign in Orlando and Tampa on Friday, where, a campaign official suggested, she may announce her vice presidential pick. 

The on-the-record hint, which came after days of backstage rumors, was dropped when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewed Karen Finney, a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign.

Blitzer asked whether the announcement could come on Friday.

“I expect that’s about right,” Finney said.

Finney later downplayed her answer.

“To be clear, there is no announcement set yet,” she tweeted.

Clinton has been widely reported to be seriously considering several candidates, including Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia and at least two members of President Obama’s Cabinet: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. 

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Kaine drew greater interest than usual during a long-scheduled fundraising swing in California this week that included four events in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“The attention has generated more than you might expect for a Virginia senator in California,” said one donor who co-hosted a fundraiser for Kaine, granted anonymity to freely discuss the closed-door event.

Kaine got repeated questions about his status, but gave no indication about what he knew, according to several people familiar with the discussion

Staff writer Michael A. Memoli in Washington contributed to this report.

chris.megerian@latimes.com

Twitter: @chrismegerian

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