>> The horrific police shootings in Dallas, a national protest over police killing Blacks, shaping up as an urgent test for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with Americans fearing ever more deeply for the direction of the nation. I'm political correspondent Jim Oliphant in Washington. The violence in Dallas and the killing of two Black men by police in the days before amounts to what is a serious leadership test for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
How to convince a nation that they are capable of leading it through a raging storm. For some, the events of the past week have evoked memories of 1968, the social upheaval over civil rights and the Vietnam War. Now, issues of gun violence and racial justice have again reached the boiling point.
But as my colleague, Steve Holland, has found, recent history shows that candidates need to do more than just restate the problem or call it a crisis. We all remember in 2008, when confronted with the financial crisis, John McCain said he was suspending his campaign and going back to Washington to try to work on the issue.
Well, Barack Obama, on the other hand, stayed cool, calm, and collected. Ultimately, it was Obama that voters seemed to trust more with handling the problem. To some critics, Trump flunked his last leadership test after the massacre in Orlando when he immediately doubled down on his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Clinton, in the other hand, called for unity, which ended up being better received.>> We are stronger.>> Clinton certainly has been the more forceful candidate when it comes to trying to deal with the issue of police violence in African-American communities. She's called for more restrictions on guns and for criminal justice reform.
Trump is seized upon the tragedy in Dallas to argue that he is the better law and order candidate.>> We must stand in solidarity, with law enforcement, the force between civilization and total chaos.>> And to reaffirm that, he may be moving closer to naming retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn as his vice presidential running mate.
Flynn is a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and remember these two candidates are assuming their biggest public stages yet in the upcoming conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Both of which are going to afford them the opportunity to reassure a jittery public about the racial divisions in the country and the issues of police violence.