At LAT, "Clinton apologizes for calling half of Trump's supporters 'deplorables'":
Republicans went on the attack Saturday after Hillary Clinton, during remarks at a fundraiser late Friday night, said that “you could put half of [Donald] Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables,” which she referred to as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”More.
In tweets, speeches and press statements, Trump, his running mate Mike Pence, and Republican officials accused Clinton of elitism and disrespect. Pence, the Indiana governor, said Clinton had insulted “hardworking Americans.”
“Hillary, they are not a basket of anything. They are Americans, and they deserve your respect,” Pence said during a speech to the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.
The dueling statements increased the focus on racial and ethnic tension that already has dominated the 2016 campaign, often to Trump’s detriment. This time, however, it was Republicans who thought their opponent had wandered into political damaging territory.
Pence said Clinton’s “low opinion” of the American people disqualified her from being elected president. “The men and women who support Donald Trump's campaign are hardworking Americans — farmers, coal miners, teachers, veterans, members of our law enforcement community — members of every class of this country, who know that we can make America great again,” he said.
The Republican criticism prompted a quick, but partial, apology from Clinton, who said in a statement released early Saturday: “Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that's never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ -- that was wrong.”
But Clinton went on to say that Trump had nevertheless repeatedly engaged in “deplorable” behavior throughout his campaign. She cited his attacks on a federal judge’s Mexican heritage, his comments about the parents of a Muslim soldier killed in Iraq, and his role as a leader of the birther movement that wrongly claimed President Obama was not born in the United States.
“I won't stop calling out bigotry and racist rhetoric in this campaign,” Clinton said.
In a call with reporters organized by the Republican National Committee, Trump supporters said that Clinton had been caught saying in private something she would not have said in public.
Her comment was “reprehensible, despicable, yet revealing,” said Cleveland Pastor Darrell Scott. “She was basically caught. She wasn’t expecting this to get out,” he said. “It demonstrates the type of person she really is.”
In fact, however, Clinton’s aides had invited reporters to watch her remarks at the fundraiser — something they often do not do (and Trump’s campaign almost never does) — and she had previously used a version of the “deplorable” remark in an interview.
All that suggests the remark may not have been one the campaign was trying to hide.
Indeed, some Republican strategists suggested that a campaign discussion of whether some of Trump’s supporters are racist — and, if so, how many — might be advantageous to Clinton...