HAVERFORD, Pa. - Democrat Hillary Clinton slammed Republican Donald Trump on Tuesday for making disparaging comments about women's physical appearance, accusing Trump of taking the issue of female body image "to a new level of difficulty and meanness."
Hours before vice presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence face off in Virginia in their sole debate, Clinton urged women at an event in the Philadelphia suburbs billed as a "family town hall" to stand up to online bullying about how they look.
"It's shocking when women are called names and judged solely on the basis of physical attributes," the Democratic presidential nominee said in response to a 15-year-old girl's question about the problem of body image and the "damage Donald Trump does" when he talks about how women look.
"My opponent insulted Miss Universe," Clinton said, resurrecting her Republican rival's comments last week about former beauty queen Alicia Machado's weight gain after she won the Miss Universe contest in 1996.
"I mean, how do you get more acclaimed than that? But it wasn't good enough," Clinton said. "We can't take any of this seriously anymore. We need to laugh at it. We need to refute it."
Clinton, the first woman to be nominated for the presidency by a major US party, has rushed to capitalize on Trump's public feud with Machado, whom he once called "Miss Piggy" because of her weight gain, and make inroads with female voters five weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
Clinton's and Trump's running mates, Democrat Kaine, a US senator, and Republican Pence, governor of Indiana, will meet in a debate in Farmville, Virginia. In Israel, it will begin at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
The debate will provide voters their first extended chance to evaluate the No. 2's in the White House race and is the only showdown between the vice presidential candidates. Trump and Clinton will meet in their second debate on Sunday.