Min­nesota moder­ate Klobuchar joins race

Houston Chronicle - - NATION WORLD - By Mitch Smith and Lisa Lerer

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.

Jim Mone / AP

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.

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