Min­nesotan joins White House race

Run­ning ‘for ev­ery Amer­i­can,’ Klobuchar says as she en­ters Demo­cratic field

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - SARA BUR­NETT In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Emily Swan­son of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

MIN­NEAPO­LIS — Min­nesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Sun­day joined the grow­ing group of Democrats jostling to be pres­i­dent and po­si­tioned her­self as the most prom­i­nent Mid­west­ern can­di­date in the field.

“For ev­ery Amer­i­can, I’m run­ning for you,” she told an ex­u­ber­ant crowd gath­ered on a freez­ing, snowy af­ter­noon at a park along the Mis­sis­sippi River with the Min­neapo­lis sky­line in the back­ground.

“And I prom­ise you this: As your pres­i­dent, I will look you in the eye. I will tell you what I think. I will fo­cus on getting things done. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. And no mat­ter what, I’ll lead from the heart,” the three-term se­na­tor said.

Klobuchar, who has prided her­self for achiev­ing re­sults through bi­par­ti­san co­op­er­a­tion, did not ut­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s name dur­ing her kick­off speech. But she did be­moan the con­duct of “for­eign pol­icy by tweet” and said Amer­i­cans must “stop the fear-mon­ger­ing and stop the hate. … We all live in the same coun­try of shared dreams.”

And she said that on her first day as pres­i­dent, she would have the U.S. re­join an in­ter­na­tional cli­mate agree­ment from which Trump has with­drawn.

Trump re­sponded to Klobuchar’s an­nounce­ment with a tweet mock­ing her stance that global warm­ing is a fact. He wrote that Klobuchar talked proudly “of fight­ing global warm­ing while stand­ing in a vir­tual bliz­zard of snow, ice and freez­ing tem­per­a­tures. Bad tim­ing. By the end of her speech she looked like a Snow­man(woman)!”

Klobuchar also spoke of the need to “heal the heart of our democ­racy and re­new our com­mit­ment to the com­mon good.”

As­sert­ing Mid­west­ern val­ues, she told a crowd warmed by hot cho­co­late, ap­ple cider, heat lamps and bon­fires: “I don’t have a po­lit­i­cal ma­chine. I don’t come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit.”

Klobuchar, who eas­ily won a third term last year, has pointed to her broad ap­peal across Min­nesota as she has dis­cussed a 2020 run. She has said that suc­cess could trans­late to other Mid­west­ern states such as Michi­gan and Wis­con­sin, re­li­ably Demo­cratic in pres­i­den­tial races for decades un­til Trump’s vic­tory over Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The list of Democrats al­ready in the race fea­tures sev­eral bet­ter-known sen­a­tors with the abil­ity to raise huge amounts of money — El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts, Ka­mala Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gil­li­brand of New York.

Klobuchar, 58, is known as a straight-shoot­ing, prag­ma­tist will­ing to work with Repub­li­cans, mak­ing her one of the Sen­ate’s most pro­duc­tive mem­bers at pass­ing leg­is­la­tion.

The back­drop for her rally was the In­ter­state 35 bridge over the Mis­sis­sippi. The span was built af­ter the pre­vi­ous bridge col­lapsed in 2007, killing 13 peo­ple. Klobuchar had worked with then-Sen. Norm Cole­man, R-Minn., to help fund the new bridge and get it com­pleted at a faster-than-usu- al pace.

“We worked across the aisle to get the fed­eral fund­ing and we re­built that I-35W bridge — in just over a year. That’s com­mu­nity. That’s a shared story. That’s or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things,” she said.

Klobuchar’s fo­cus in re­cent months has in­cluded pre­scrip­tion drug prices, a new farm bill and elec­tion se­cu­rity. She sup­ports the “Green New Deal,” a Demo­cratic plan pro­posed last week to com­bat cli­mate change and cre­ate thou­sands of jobs in re­new­able en­ergy.

But her leg­isla­tive record has drawn crit­i­cism from both sides. Some Repub­li­cans say Klobuchar is able to get things done be­cause she pushes smaller is­sues. Some pro­gres­sives say she lacks the bold ideas needed to ex­cite vot­ers.

Klobuchar on Sun­day also re­sponded to re­ports in Buz­zFeed and Huf­fPost that she has mis­treated staff, say­ing she “can be tough” but has many staff mem­bers who have worked for her for many years.

“I can push peo­ple. I know that,” she told re­porters af­ter the event. “I have, I’d say, high ex­pec­ta­tions for my­self; I have high ex­pec­ta­tions for the peo­ple who work for me. But I have high ex­pec­ta­tions for this coun­try. And that’s what we need. We need some­one who is fo­cused on getting things done for this coun­try.”

Klobuchar, a lawyer and the for­mer pros­e­cu­tor in Min­nesota’s largest county, raised her na­tional pro­file dur­ing a Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee hear­ing last fall for Supreme Court nom­i­nee Brett Ka­vanaugh.

When Klobuchar asked Ka­vanaugh whether he had ever had so much to drink that he didn’t re­mem­ber what hap­pened, he turned the ques­tion around, ask­ing Klobuchar, “Have you?”

Klobuchar con­tin­ued as Ka­vanaugh asked again. Ka­vanaugh later apol­o­gized to Klobuchar, whose father is an al­co­holic.

“When you have a par­ent who’s an al­co­holic, you’re pretty care­ful about drink­ing,” she said. “I was truly try­ing to get to the bot­tom of the facts and the ev­i­dence.”

AP/JIM MONE

Sen. Amy Klobuchar an­nounced her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign Sun­day in Min­neapo­lis with a speech in which she talked of the need to “heal the heart of our democ­racy and re­new our com­mit­ment to the com­mon good.”

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