Hillary Clinton Joins Counter-Terrorism Talks at USC

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders also is in Southern California as the candidates prepare for another round of primaries

Former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was joined by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday at USC in what her campaign billed as "a conversation with the community on local homeland security and counterterrorism efforts."

The forum gave Clinton an opportunity to bolster her foreign policy credentials while condemning her Republican rivals'' "divisive language" in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday.

"We cannot allow our nation to be pitting people against one another," said Clinton, who emphasized building cooperation within the American Muslim community. "We cannot give in to panic and fear."

"She is spending so much time talking about working with the Muslim community ... to establish a sharp contrast not with Bernie Sanders but a general election opponent," said Dan Schnur of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

Outside the roundtable discussion, USC students -- many of them supporters of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders -- quietly protested Clinton's visit.

The forum comes one day after Clinton used a speech at  Stanford University to further outline her strategy for defeating the Islamic State group.

"We face an adversary that is constantly adapting and operating across  multiple theaters, so our response must be just as nimble and far-reaching," Clinton said.  "Second, to defeat this transnational threat, we need to reinforce the alliances that have been core pillars of American power for decades.  And third, we need to rely on what actually works, not bluster that alienates our partners and doesn't make us any safer."

Clinton is scheduled to remain in Los Angeles Thursday to raise funds for her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination and appear on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live.''

Clinton will speak at a $2,700 per-person fundraiser in Santa Monica Thursday afternoon, tape her
talk show appearance, then speak at an evening event at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub, which will also include performances by the singers Estelle and Ben Harper. Hip-hop music magnate Russell Simmons will serve as master of ceremonies.

Tickets start at $500 with a $1,000 ticket giving the donor "preferred viewing,'' according to the invitation.

Clinton's visit to Los Angeles comes the day after thousands joined a rally at the Wiltern Theater in Koreatown to support her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders.

Sanders currently trails former Secretary of State Clinton in the Democratic delegate count.

Both candidates are preparing for primaries in Washington, North Dakota and Wisconsin over the next two weeks. The California primary is scheduled for June 7.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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