Donald Trump was in Windham, New Hampshire yesterday and gave a look at what he can do if he attempts to follow a script. The speech was not a great one, but, then again, it was Donald Trump. But it showed a discipline that he has eschewed thus far in the campaign and, unless he gets bored and goes onto something else, explored a very fertile line of attack on Hillary Clinton.

TRANSCRIPT

Unstable Hillary Clinton. Did you saw that where she basically short-circuited? She said… she did… it wasn’t a press conference ‘cause that’s around 250 days… but it was in front of some friendly reporters. They asked her a very easy question and she short circuited. She used the term. Short circuited. She took a little short circuit in the brain. And she’s got problems. I mean, if we had real people this would be a real problem for her. But I think that the people of this country don’t want somebody who is going to short circuit up here. Okay. Not as your president. Not as your president.
Remember, ISIS is looking folks, they dream of Hillary Clinton. They look at her and they say, ‘this can’t be happening to us, how great is this?’
Now you tell me she looks presidential. I look presidential. You tell me she looks presidential.

So unstable Hillary, she lacks the judgment, temperament and moral character, moral character, to lead this country. She’s a dangerous liar. Her greatest achievement is that, it’s gonna be that she got away [with slinging around the nation’s most closely held emails on a private server devoid of any security].

To his credit, he relentlessly hit Hillary’s competence and he did so to point where POLITICO’s Rebecca Morin seemed to take personal offense:

Donald Trump slammed Hillary Clinton as “totally unbalanced” during a rally Saturday night, playing up her mental state a day after Clinton said she “short-circuited.”

“She took a little short-circuit in the brain, she has problems,” the GOP nominee said at a rally in Windham, New Hampshire. “I think the people of this country don’t want somebody who’s going to short-circuit up here.”

“Unstable Hillary, she lacks the judgment, temperament and moral character to lead this country,” Trump said at his rally. “She is a totally unhinged person.”

“Her greatest achievement is getting out of trouble, it’s true,” Trump said, prompting chants of “lock her up.”

“She is a horrible, horrible human being,” Trump said. “She’s incompetent, and I don’t think that you can even think of allowing this woman to become the president of the United States.”

I apologize for not finding those exact quotes but it was just a few minutes short of an hour long and, if you’ve ever listened to a Trump speech you know this, there was no way of finding it without listening to every minute.

What struck me is what set this apart from his usual stream of consciousness was a) he followed notes, b) he stayed away from bashing brown people and immigrants and Ted Cruz, and c) focused as tightly upon Hillary Clinton as Donald Trump can focus. Which is to say not all that focused, but still…

This is also the bookend to Hillary’s attacks on Trump for his grotesque and unseemly ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs. Hillary, herself, is totally compromised as far as her dealings with the oligarchs, it is just that she is able to package the relationship much better. It wasn’t Trump who allowed US uranium mining to be handed over to the Russians or selected the Russians to be our go-between with Iran. That was Hillary. So there is a lot of irony in watching Trump accuse Hillary of being mentally unstable and incompetent and a liar and a horrible person with a terrible temperament and devoid of moral character. The charges, of course, are true. But they apply just as equally to Trump.

If Trump sticks to this script, however, I think it will be successful. While a small handful of people are aware of Trump’s obeisance to the Kremlin and many who hear the allegations will dismiss them as mere negative ads, Trump’s critique of Clinton hits the weak points she already has firmly established in the mind to the entire electorate. The only issue that might be questioned is her incompetence but we already know the rest.