Fox News Halftime Report

Hillary's big bet

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PHILADELPHIA – There’s one point on which Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump certainly agree: They like to put his name on things.

Clinton referred to Trump by name 22 times in her speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, double the number that Trump called her out in his longer acceptance speech a week ago.

Clinton battered and bashed Trump for much of her 57-minute address, attacking him personally, professionally and on policy points. In fact, she made much of the speech a rebuke to Trump’s speech.

“Don't believe anyone who says: ‘I alone can fix it,’ Clinton warned. “Those were actually Donald Trump's words in Cleveland. And they should set off alarm bells for all of us.”

What followed was a juxtaposition of Clinton’s concept of communitarian America with Trump’s view of a “crippled America” in need of deliverance that only he can provide.

Clinton even plugged her old book: “It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.”

That book has been a laugh line for two decades and a shorthand among conservatives for what they see as the collectivist impulses of the Democratic left. But in the past 20 years, Clinton’s once-derided concept has gone mainstream.

Barack Obama handily won re-election as Republicans tried to punish him for saying of private businesses, “you didn’t build that.” This is the era in which “government is the name we give to the things we do together.”

While it was an unsurprisingly liberal domestic plan, Clinton had a few goodies for moderate to conservative voters as she discussed her willingness to negotiate on topics, offered words of implicit praise for Ronald Reagan and extolled John McCain’s heroism.

And, with the help of an all-star cast of military leaders and families of troops killed in action, looked abroad too. Without overtly criticizing her old boss, Obama, she suggested a more vigorous, more aggressive foreign policy.

Trump, she said, was for pulling back from the world and temperamentally unfit for the presidency. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” she warned.

Her juxtaposition was between her vision of, ahem, organized communities at home and stability and order abroad with what she called the “bigotry and bombast” of Trump” who she said wants “to divide us - from the rest of the world, and from each other.”

Rather than making America great again, Clinton said that under her leadership, “America will be greater than ever.”

It was a good speech, especially graded on a curve. The stakes were high and Clinton is no great orator. But she did what she needed to do.

She excelled especially in her ascendency to her status as historical figure in her own right. When the speech was over and America expected to see her husband shuffle out on stage, there was her lutrine-looking junior partner, Sen. Tim Kaine. She’s the boss, applesauce.

What remains to be seen, though, is whether her idea to embrace making the election a referendum on Trump is a good idea.

The race is essentially tied, with a slight lean toward Clinton. Her assumption is that as Americans consider the ramifications of having Trump come crashing into Washington and the wider world, voters will flood toward her.

But what if they don’t? What was once shocking from Trump has become a normal part of the political discourse. The insults and the tossed-off lines about major policy issues don’t crackle or sting the way they once did. Trump is the new normal.

Attacking Trump for stiffing investors and vendors, Clinton said that his presidential pitch was essentially the same as it was to those who got burned in business with the celebrity developer: “Put your faith in him – and you'll win big.”

Now it’s Clinton herself who has a lot riding on Trump as we head into the heat of the general election season.

[Power Play: Last round from Philly - Who better to wrap the Democrats and our week in Philly than with our own Senior Political Correspondent Mike Emanuel and RCP’s Associate Editor A.B. Stoddard? The panel breaks down whether Dems can come to reluctant acceptance of their nominee after seeing the barnstorm primary Republicans had to get the guy they wanted. WATCH HERE.]

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.