"There is only one candidate for president who has the experience, the temperament, and the judgment to be commander-in-chief, and that’s Hillary Clinton," Panetta said, opening his speech by reiterating remarks that he made at a national security panel earlier the same day. "This is no time to gamble with our future."
The former CIA director and secretary of defense went on to cite Clinton's national security experience, calling her "the only candidate who has laid out a comprehensive plan to defeat and to destroy ISIS and keep America safe." He referenced violence earlier this year in Istanbul, as well as recent attacks in France, as examples of the "flashpoints and threats from around the globe" facing America today.
"Hillary Clinton is the single most experienced and prepared person who has ever run for president of the United States," Panetta said. "Meanwhile, Donald Trump says he gets his foreign policy experience from watching TV and running the Miss Universe pageant."
Panetta also referenced Trump's suggestion that Russian hackers should "find" and release deleted emails from Hillary Clinton's private server.
"Think about that for a moment," he said, speaking over chants of "No more war!" from the audience. "Donald Trump, who wants to be president of the United States, is asking one of our adversaries to engage in hacking or intelligence efforts against the United States of America to affect an election. As someone who is responsible for protecting our nation from cyber attacks, it is inconceivable to me that any presidential candidate would be that irresponsible."
Panetta also took the opportunity to condemn Trump’s national security proposals, citing the GOP nominee’s endorsement of torture, alienation of international allies, praise for strongmen like Russian President Vladimir Putin, and suggestions that he would ask American troops to commit war crimes.
"In an unstable world, we cannot afford unstable leadership," Panetta concluded. "If we care about our security, if we care about our freedoms, if we care about the American dream, there is only one choice. Hillary Clinton for president of the United States."