ASTON, Pa. — Donald Trump visited a key political area Tuesday — the Philadelphia suburbs — to pitch a plan on paying for child care, ideas addressed largely to suburban women voters.
The "Child Care Affordability Plan" would allow parents to deduct child care expenses from their income taxes, guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave, and create new "Dependent Care Savings Accounts" to help finance items ranging from childhood development to elderly care.
"It's pro-family, it's pro-child, it's pro-worker," Trump told a supportive crowd in Aston, Pa., near Philadelphia. "These are the people we have to take care of."
The New York businessman also said "there is no financial security in our country," and concern about child care is one reason.
Daughter Ivanka Trump, who has been pushing child care issues in her role as adviser to the campaign, introduced her father, telling the crowd that "we need to create policies that champion all parents."
Trump continued to attack Hillary Clinton for saying some Trump backers belong in a "basket of deplorables," slamming her both in Pennsylvania and at an earlier rally in Iowa.
"While my opponent slanders you as deplorable and irredeemable, I call you hard-working American patriots who love your country and want a better future for all of our people," Trump said in Iowa.
During a speech Monday in Baltimore, the Republican presidential nominee said, "You can’t lead this nation if you have such a low opinion for its citizens.”
The Clinton campaign responded with a television ad juxtaposing that comment with Trump's own attacks on voters, including this comment from last year about then-GOP primary rival Ben Carson, who is now a close ally of Trump: "How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of this country to believe this crap?"
Maya Harris, a senior policy adviser for the Clinton campaign, described Trump's child care plan as "half-baked," with financing to come from other programs like unemployment insurance. Harris said "the lack of seriousness of this proposal is no surprise, given his history of disrespecting women in the workplace and the fact there’s no evidence he ever provided paid family leave or child care to his own employees."
New radio ads unveiled by the Clinton campaign ahead of Trump's Tuesday speech highlight what the campaign called her "lifelong commitment to fighting for children and families." Among the the Democratic nominee's proposals is a plan to make preschool universal for 4-year-olds.
The Trump campaign sees Pennsylvania as a key part of its effort to claimed the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, though the state has not backed a GOP presidential candidate since 1988.
One key to winning Pennsylvania are the suburbs of Philadelphia, including the one in which Trump will discuss his child care plan Tuesday.
Current polls give Democratic nominee Clinton an edge in Pennsylvania — around 6 points, according to the average of polls compiled by the website RealClearPolitics.
Some of those same surveys show low marks for Trump among suburban women, one of the targets of Trump's speech in Aston.
Other specifics of Trump's child care proposals, according to the campaign statement, include:
• His proposed tax deductions for child care expenses are capped; people who make more than $250,000 individually — and more than $500,000 as joint filers — are not eligible.
• Lower income taxpayers would be eligible for rebates through the Earned Income Tax Credit.
• Trump's proposed Dependent Care Savings Accounts could be financed by tax-deductible contributions and tax-free appreciation, and parents could use them to finance traditional child care, after-school programs and tuition for private schools, as well as elder care for aged parents.
The campaign did not provide cost estimates, but indicated that they would be financed through elimination of waste and fraud in current programs.
Contributing: Brianne Pfannenstiel and William Petroski, The Des Moines Register. Follow David Jackson on Twitter: @djusatoday