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Hillary Clinton to Jeb Bush: American workers "don't need a lecture, they need a raise"

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at The New School on July 13, 2015 in New York City.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at The New School on July 13, 2015 in New York City.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton ripped into top-tier Republican rivals Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker — but not the insurgent Donald Trump — in the midst of an economic policy speech Monday.

On Jeb Bush and whether workers need to work longer hours

Clinton's first name-check was Bush. Last week, Bush said that Americans "need to work longer hours" to boost the economy. That brought full gaffe condemnation from Democrats — and some pundits — leaving Bush defenders to assert that he meant it in the context of part-time laborers having more full-time employment opportunities. Clinton wasn't buying any of it.

"He must not have met very many American workers," she said. "They don’t need a lecture. They need a raise."

On Marco Rubio's tax cuts for the rich

A Tax Policy Center analysis of a version of Rubio's tax plan found that there would be minimal benefit to low-income families, while those making $3.3 million or more would see an average tax cut of about $240,000. Clinton urged listeners to "take a good look" at GOP tax plans, starting with Rubio's.

"That’s a sure budget-busting giveaway to the super-wealthy," she said.

On Scott Walker's crusade against unions

Clinton saved her harshest line of attack for the newest official candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who rose to national prominence by busting unions in his home state.

"Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names stomping on workers' rights," Clinton said. "I will fight back against these mean-spirited, misguided attacks."

The one she left alone: Donald Trump

Clinton drew an implicit contrast with Donald Trump, who has surged into a virtual tie with Bush atop the Republican field by whipping up fervor against unauthorized immigrants. "I know it’s not always how we think about this, but another engine of strong growth should be comprehensive immigration reform," she said.

But she didn't go after The Donald by name. That's probably because his rise is exposing rifts within the Republican Party. One iron law of politics: Don't get in the way when the other party is imploding.

Update: Allie Brandenburger, a spokesperson for Bush, sent in her response to Clinton's speech.

"Hillary Clinton is proposing the same failed policies we have seen in the Obama economy, where the typical American household’s income has declined and it's harder for businesses to hire and the middle class to achieve rising incomes.

"Americans want to work and want the opportunity to achieve earned success for their families, but Secretary Clinton’s antiquated proposals protect the special interests that want to stifle American ingenuity and 21st Century companies like Uber that are creating jobs. Governor Bush believes harnessing innovation and fostering technology can help us grow at 4 percent once again.”

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