Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned on two Iowa college campuses Monday at “organizing events” geared toward female students. Clinton spoke to about 500 people at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, then to a crowd of 800 at Luther College in Decorah.
“I was at an event over the weekend and this little girl came up to me and she said: ‘Can I ask you a question?’ And I said, ‘Sure,’ and I bent over. She was probably like six. She goes: ‘If you’re the lady president, will you be paid the same as the man president?'” Clinton said in Decorah and the crowd laughed. “And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s one of the jobs where you have to be paid the same, but there are some others where, unfortunately that’s not the case.'”
Clinton focused on issues of pay equity and family leave as well as campus sexual assault during her remarks to the college audiences. Clinton also touted the proposals she released earlier this month that seek to boost substance abuse treatment and recovery programs and ensure first responders have the drugs needed to treat overdoses.
“I did it because people all over Iowa started talking to me about. It was not something I thought I would really feature in my presidential campaign, but literally from Davenport to Sioux City, every place in between, I heard about it,” Clinton said. “…Something is not working right. Too many people — predominately, but not only young people — are not getting the right information.”
Clinton is calling on states to focus more on treatment and less on prison time for drug addicts. Clinton was in Iowa at the same time as President Obama, although they were more than 200 miles apart. Obama was in Des Moines Monday afternoon, urging a crowd of high school students and their parents to fill out college applications and financial aid forms, while Clinton was in Decorah.
“I have a very clear idea of how we can make college more affordable, but then also tackle this huge debt that students come out with,” Clinton said.
Clinton has proposed federal grants to states to help reduce the cost of tuition at public universities. Clinton also is calling for student loan payments to be no more than 10 percent of a graduate’s income.
“I do not stand here telling you that I will have all the answers when I am president, but I will tell you I have learned a lot,” Clinton said in Decorah, stressing her experience as secretary of state. “I understand a lot more than anyone else who is running, I believe it’s fair to say, about how to do the balance that you need to do on these difficult decisions.”
After her speech in Cedar Falls, Clinton took questions from reporters and told the media she’s been in enough campaigns to expect the “ebbs and flows” and fluctuations in the polls. A Quinnipiac University Poll released last week showed Clinton and Bernie Sanders are now essentially tied here in Iowa.
(Reporting in Decorah by Darin Swenson of KDEC Radio; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)