Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stressed her connections to two presidents as she campaigned earlier this afternoon in Mason City.
“I’m going into this race with my eyes wide open about how hard it is to be the president of the United States,” Clinton said. “I have a little experience about that and I have to tell you I find it very reassuring because I have that experience to know what’s possible and how best to proceed.”
Clinton told the crowd she agreed to serve as President Obama’s first secretary of state because in America, we “close ranks after hard elections” like the one in 2008. Clinton then sent this shot at her 2016 critics.
“We can disagree and we will,” Clinton said. “We’ll have all kind of arguments, even, about the best way to do things, but we should be coming from a place of love, of loving our country and respecting one another.”
A gay married couple hosted the event at their home, for about 60 invited guests. Clinton started her remarks with a response to those who’ve criticized her for avoiding questions from the media. Clinton said she’s taking time to “talk and listen to people” — to build a “firm foundation” for her campaign.
“It really is about people-to-people connections if we’re really talking about what we want to do,” Clinton said,”but it will also give me the kind of information I need to be an even better president.”
Clinton praised President Obama for steering the economy out of the doldrums, but she said more must be done to “ignite opportunity for everybody” — not just those at the top.
“I know there are a lot of hard choices ahead of us. I wrote a book called, ‘Hard Choices’. There it is. I’ll sign that for you,” Clinton said, as someone in the crowd held up their copy. Then she returned to her message: “But I think we’re up for it. You know, I am a confident optimist.”
This is Clinton’s second trip to Iowa since she officially jumped into the race last month. Clinton will appear at another small event with invited guests in Cedar Falls tomorrow.
AUDIO of Clinton’s appearance, 33:55
(Reporting and photos in Mason City by Bob Fisher of KGLO Radio; additional reporting and editing by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)