CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Charlotte Monday morning, marking her second visit to the Queen City this month.
She spoke to thousands of veterans at the Convention Center, just days before Democrats will formally nominate her.
Both she and Republican nominee Donald Trump will speak to the veterans on back-to-back days, and each will gain national exposure.
They're headlining a five-day Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention. There will be 12,000 veterans in attendance, representing 1.7 million people across the country.
Clinton spoke for about 30 minutes, telling the crowd that the United States has the world’s greatest military and that if she were president, she would only use force with a clear and outlined strategy.
Click below to watch Clinton's full speech at the VFW Convention
Clinton said she was outraged with long VA wait times and has a detailed plan to revamp the VA, saying it is one of her highest priorities.
She told the crowd that veterans deserve thanks and respect, and although she did not mention Donald Trump by name, she did allude to his comments numerous times.
In an effort to connect with the veterans, Clinton mentioned how proud she was of her father, who was a chief petty officer in the Navy, and spoke about her new running mate Sen. Tim Kaine, and how his son is a Marine who was set to deploy Monday.
Clinton stressed the seriousness the role the military plays, and aligned herself with conservatives, saying Sen. John McCain is someone she has worked with in the past -- directly alluding to the fact that Trump has attacked him in the past.
Overall, Clinton’s message was about military and about trust.
“Americans aren’t just choosing a president. We’re also choosing a Commander in Chief. The person who decides questions of war and peace, life and death,” she said.
Clinton also announced that she just received a big endorsement from retired Gen. John Allen.
Clinton's visit comes days after she chose her running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.
One political analyst said this is all part of her plan to reach as many people as possible, especially in North Carolina, which is being called a swing state.
"It's a swing state that brings in quite a few electoral votes,” said Winthrop’s Dean of Political Science, Dr. Karen Kedrowski. “There's 14 and that's not an insignificant number, especially with a race that's expected to be as close as this one."
Clinton addressed a crowd later Monday at the Neighborhood Theater in NoDa in Charlotte, following her appearance at the Charlotte Convention Center
"There are some states that are going to get more attention than others, and you know North Carolina is one of them," Clinton said.
That's why supporters have spent months making calls and signs and trying to make the most of being in a key swing state.
"It just re-energized me to get out there and work hard," Clinton supporter Mendy Deviney said.
Clinton and other local leaders highlighted controversial state policies backed by Republicans to inspire voters to push back in the presidential election.
"Hillary Clinton is adamantly opposed to HB2," Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts said.
Some in the crowd looked beyond a new email controversy showing DNC leaders favoring Clinton over her primary opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"It doesn't impact my vote at all for Hillary,” Shawn Grady said. “It wasn't from her campaign it was from the DNC.”
Clinton told supporters her campaign is hiring field organizers in the Charlotte area.
Her visit proves to voters how important North Carolina is as a prominent swing state.
Channel 9 spoke with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police about security and the protesters that the political appearance will likely draw over the next two days.
Early Monday morning, more than a dozen security officers were spotted going inside the front doors of the Convention Center, right after CMPD officers and Cabarrus County deputies were seen using K9 units to comb the area.
CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said security won't be as tight as it was when President Obama visited Charlotte earlier this month, but he also said the department will still remain busy patrolling.
The special appearance of the high-profile presidential candidates means police are expecting large crowds outside, including protesters.
“You can expect to see officers on hand to deal with protesters again,” said Estes. “We protect the rights of anyone to protest anything, just as long as it doesn't interfere with anyone else's rights.”
People attending the event will be searched.
Trump and running mate Mike Pence will appear in Winston-Salem on Monday evening. Party officials say Gov. Pat McCrory and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr will also be on hand for that event.
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