Bombings make New York even more central to the presidential race

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NEW YORK -- The bombings in Chelsea and Seaside Park, N.J., as well as the arrest of suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami, were bound to figure in to the presidential race.

However, with both candidates being New Yorkers and the bombings and manhunt taking place in the New York metro area, as well as the first debate between the two candidates set for next Monday on Long Island, the political stakes are very New York-centric and very high.

Monday saw Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton in New York, defending her resume against terrorism and attacking her opponent's criticism of it.

"I am prepared to, ready to, actually, take on those challenges, not engage in a lot of irresponsible, reckless rhetoric," she said at a news conference next to her campaign plane in White Plains, "but to do the hard work as I have done before."

She went on to talk about Trump specifically.

"You don't hear a plan from him," Clinton said. "He keeps saying he has a secret plan. The secret is he has no plan."

Her comments were a direct response to comments Trump had made by phone earlier in the day on the Fox News morning show, Fox and Friends.

"Our country's been weak," he said, adding that he felt that under President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the country has become more vulnerable to attacks.

"Our leaders have been, I won't say weak," Trump said. "I say stupid." He also claimed that the president had vowed to let hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees into the country, and that Clinton intended to allow over a million. Both figures are completely false.

That didn't stop Trump, however, to further comment without appearing in person. He tweeted, "Hilary Clinton's weakness while she was Secretary of State, has emboldened terrorists all over the world."

It all unfolded as the countdown continued to the debate between the two rivals next Monday, September 26th, at Hofstra University.

"[Terrorism] is huge news and is going to consume the rest of this campaign," said Jeanne Zaino, PhD, political science professor at Iona College in New Rochelle.

Because of its import and longevity as a campaign issue, answering a core question about terrorism will be central in both candidates' drive to win. Explaining "how are they going to address this" will be the key to pulling out a win, said Zaino.

"Trump will say the president and Clinton have invited terrorism into the United States," Dr. Zaino said. "On the other hand," she added, "the Democrats say to Trump, 'It's your reckless rhetoric that attracts vitriol."

She said that terrorism mobilizes the Republican base, but that a show by Clinton of an experienced, even hand over the issue can help her win. That win, should it happen, is more than likely to be thin, and based on persuasiveness on handling terror, Zaino said.

"What will win the day," she said, "is who can make the better argument."