Minnesotan Klobuchar joins White House race
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on her first day as president, she would have the U.S. rejoin an international climate agreement from which Trump has withdrawn.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-usual 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.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar announces her bid for president Sunday at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis.