By BOB CHAREST, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – While muscled young men in sleeveless T-shirts clanked weights in the alcove above her head, the 59-year old candidate, decked out in her trademark green blazer and operating on only three hours of sleep, held the rapt attention of a couple of hundred supporters Tuesday afternoon in the wellness center at New Hampshire Technical Institute.
As the Iowa voting problems had yet to be ironed out, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has been billing herself as the moderate from the Midwest in the Democratic race for the nomination, opened up her first campaign rally back in New Hampshire since the caucuses, the next episode of her campaign that started in a blizzard in her home state just about a year ago.
Welcome to the final week of the runup to the New Hampshire Primary, when because of what is going on with the Iowa caucus tally and with our primary less than a week away, all eyes are now firmly planted on the Granite State and the candidates who have a shot at the top prize.
Arriving at Greater Boston Manchester Regional Airport at 4 a.m., Klobuchar held the room as she extolled her standing as one of the top five in the race. She infused her standard speech with bits about the impeachment proceedings that have forced her and three other senators in the race back to Washington right in the middle of their campaigns. She noted that she will be going back again after her appearances in New Hampshire. The Senate is due to take up the vote on acquittal of President Trump.
She didn’t spare the current occupant of the White House in her remarks, highlighting what she called his divisiveness and inability to represent all Americans.
“If you look at what has been going on in our nation, when we have a President that literally wakes up every morning and divides people, it’s what he does,” Klobuchar said. “He goes after immigrants, he goes after people of color, he goes after Barack Obama. He goes after the energy secretary he appointed. He goes after the Federal Reserve chief that he nominated. He goes after the king of Denmark. Who does that? My all-time favorite is recently he goes after the prime minister of Canada for cutting him out of the Canadian version of ‘Home Alone II.’ That is a true story.”
This has been no usual campaign, as the past few weeks have shown. But Amy Klobuchar has been no usual candidate: a woman from the Midwest who has seemingly come out of nowhere to charm her way into the hearts of first-in-the-nation voters. Klobuchar has been so charming that even the state’s statewide newspaper, the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader, has endorsed her.
At today’s rally, she revealed no hint that she would rather prefer a pillow to a podium, as she operates on the adrenalin that will drive all the campaigns for the next six days.
“I truly believe that Donald Trump’s worst nightmare is someone who can bring people with her rather than shutting them out. Someone who can bring people with her in the middle who are tired of the noise and the nonsense and the extremes in our politics. To those people, I want to say, ‘You have a home with me.’”
Klobuchar wasn’t wearing the familiar gold coat she wore when she announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President during a Minnesota snowstorm on Feb. 10, 2019. She was wearing the green blazer, which she said was a tribute to the late Paul Wellstone, the Minnesota senator and a friend who died in a plane crash in 2002.
Sounding many of the familiar themes she’s been stating for months, Klobuchar aims to set herself apart from her Democratic counterparts by saying she knows the nation needs a new health-care policy, but she is not on board with a Medicare-for-all concept. She extolled the virtues of community colleges, unions and prescription drug changes, including her ability as President to immediately declare importation of lower-cost drugs from Canada legal in one of her first acts in the Oval Office.
“We are going to do it. We’ve surprised people every step of the way. We have exceeded all expectations,” she told supporters.