(Brian Snyder/Reuters)CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton ridiculed Donald Trump’s plan to deport all undocumented immigrants and then allow provisional returns as unrealistic “political rhetoric” as she sought votes Sunday amid falling poll numbers here.
Trump, who is seeking the GOP nomination, said he would force undocumented immigrants to return to their home countries and apply for reentry. He has not said exactly how he would make that happen.
“Eleven or 12 million people? Really?” Clinton said at an organizing rally on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids.
“I’m going to be pressing very hard to get specifics, because there are no specifics,” she said.
The reference to what Clinton called Trump’s “political rhetoric” drew applause. It is part of tougher tactics Clinton has recently adopted against the Republican front-runner, whom she had previously dismissed as a sideshow.
Clinton made no mention of her softening support in Iowa during events here and in Newton on Sunday. She told the crowd in Cedar Rapids that she hoped to earn their votes, but most appeared to be supporters already.
An NBC News-Marist poll released hours before Clinton spoke in Iowa showed that she remains ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) but that her lead has shrunk from 24 percentage points in July to 11 points (38 percent to 27 percent.) Vice President Biden, who is considering entering the race, had 20 percent of support in the survey.
The same poll showed that Sanders has pulled ahead of Clinton by nine points in New Hampshire, where Clinton campaigned Saturday.
The Clinton team has tried to shrug off the tightening race as par for the course for Democratic primaries, but has had to try to reassure worried supporters. Neither Clinton supporters nor the campaign anticipated the strength of the Sanders challenge or that Biden might reverse what had seemed like a settled decision not to run.
“It is going to be a fight,” Clinton said here. “Make no mistake about it. It is going to be a hard election.”
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