WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton took aim at Donald Trump's business record on Tuesday, making a strong case that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee would manage the U.S. economy as badly as he has done his many failed business ventures.
"He's written a lot of books about business, but they all seem to end at Chapter 11," Clinton said in a clear dig at Trump's four corporate bankruptcies. "Just like he should not have his finger on the button, he should not have his hands on our economy."
The former secretary of state, who was speaking at a rally in Ohio, argued that Trump's vague economic plans would drive the nation into a recession.
"Liberals and conservatives say Trump's ideas would be a disaster," she said. "[Former Republican presidential nominee] Mitt Romney and [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren, economists on the right and the left and center, all agree: Trump would throw us back into recession."
Clinton used Trump's own words to paint him as a callous, bumbling executive whose businesses profited, when they did, from taking advantage of ordinary Americans.
"The same people he's trying to get to vote for him are people he's been exploiting for years," Clinton said. "Because it is not just other investors or rich people that he took advantage of -- it was working people."
Over the course of his career, Trump has been involved in thousands of lawsuits, many of them involving contractors who argued that the real estate mogul never paid them for the work they did.
"Painters, waiters, plumbers, people who needed the money and didn't get it, not because [Trump] could not pay them, but because he could stiff them," Clinton said in one of the more powerful lines of her 40-minute speech.
"They all tell a similar story. 'I worked for him, I did my job, and he would not pay me what he owed me,'" Clinton said. "My late father was a small businessman. If his customers had done what Trump did, my dad would never had made it, so I take this personally."
Trump has based much of his candidacy on the idea that he can make the same kinds of deals for America that he makes for his businesses, including using threats of default on debt to negotiate lower payments. But experts agree that particular strategy would likely spark a global financial catastrophe. In a tweet sent out during Clinton's speech, Trump suggested again that his own deep history with debt would benefit the country.
The argument that Trump's repeated business failures are the best indicator of how he would manage the U.S. economy is a strong one for Clinton, and one that her campaign is likely to hammer in the coming months. On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign launched a new website, Art of the Steal, which promises to lay out "how Trump's career matches up with his policies."