Minnesota moderate Klobuchar joins race
MINNEAPOLIS — Amy Klobuchar, the third-term Minnesota senator, entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Sunday, hopeful that her moderate politics, Midwestern roots and carefully cultivated history of bipartisanship can appeal to a broad swath of voters in contentious times.
On a snow-covered stage in Minneapolis, Klobuchar said that as president, she would “focus on getting things done” and reverse some of President Donald Trump’s signature policies. On her first day in office, she said, the United States would rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
“For too long, leaders in Washington have sat on the sidelines while others try to figure out what to do about our changing economy and its impact on our lives, what to do about the disruptive nature of new technologies, income inequality, the political and geographic divides, the changing climate, the tumult in our world,” she said.
“Let’s stop seeing those obstacles as obstacles on our path,” she continued. “Let’s see those obstacles as our path.”
Klobuchar, 58, is the fifth woman currently serving in Congress to announce her candidacy, joining a crowded and diverse field of Democratic presidential hopefuls.
With most of the top-tier candidates hailing from coastal states, Klobuchar believes her low-key brand of “Minnesota nice” politics could make her a compelling candidate.
“She’s not afraid to just be herself,” said Shirley Friberg, 81, of suburban Minneapolis. “And I think in small towns, that’s a big thing.”
A politician who prides herself on being able to “disagree without being disagreeable,” Klobuchar coasted to victory in November, beating her Republican opponent with 60 percent of the vote in a state that Trump nearly won in 2016.
Despite Klobuchar’s friendly public persona, she’s said to be a difficult boss. A survey of senators by the website LegiStorm found that her office had the highest turnover in the Senate.
Republicans latched onto that criticism Sunday.
“She has virtually no grassroots backing and even her own staff is complaining that she’s ‘intolerably cruel,’ ” Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement.
Klobuchar told the crowd that she would focus on reforming election laws. She also pledged to expand laws protecting online privacy.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, center, her husband, John Bessler, and their daughter Abigail acknowledge supporters Sunday from a snow-covered stage in Minneapolis after Klobuchar announced her candidacy.