Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton gave a raucous speech and an assertive press conference in Iowa.
Today's Hillary News & Views is Unfiltered Hillary - nothing but direct quotes on a variety of issues from the presidential contender.
Today, why don't we dig into that speech at the Iowa Wing Ding Dinner?
It was something of a greatest hits speech, reviving some of her best stump speech lines but also adding a lot more partisan red meat.
She began with another vocal defense of President Obama's Iran deal:
I want to start by saying something about one of the most serious decisions we face today as a nation, because nobody takes politics and governing more seriously than the people of Iowa. And that is the Iranian nuclear agreement.
As Secretary of State, I traveled tens of thousands of miles and twisted a lot of arms to build a global coalition against Iran and impose the most crippling sanctions in history. That pressure delivered a blow to Iran’s economy and gave us the leverage necessary to get to the negotiating table and begin the first preliminary talks.
Now, thanks to President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Moniz, we have an agreement that blocks Iran’s pathways to a bomb and gives us new tools for verification and inspection so that we can compel rigorous Iranian compliance.
I know there are people of good faith on both sides of this debate, people who are committed to protecting our security and the security of our allies, especially Israel, a true friend of America. None of us should have any illusions about Iran’s true intentions or its continuing threats to the region, to Israel, to the United States. That threat is real and it must be confronted, including how we enforce this agreement and deter Iranian aggression and sponsorship of terrorism.
But our path is clear. This agreement, combined with strong enforcement and deterrence, is the only way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. There is simply no viable alternative. That is why I strongly support President Obama. And I encourage all of you to get involved and let Congress know that you support the President as well.
And when this debate is over, we need to come together to ensure that this President and the next president have the tools, resources, and support to send a clear message to Iran: Cheat, and you will pay. And when you threaten the region and Israel, you threaten America.
We will keep confronting you on human rights and terrorism. And make no mistake, we will never allow you to acquire a nuclear weapon. Not just during the term of this agreement – never.She then moved on to frame the election as one Democrats can win, because they are fighting on the side of families, a fight she intends to lead:
Now, I know this is a little heavy for a Wing Ding dinner, but I bring it up because when you get past all the sound bites and the slogans, politics is about the choices we make – the choices we make about our leaders and our future.
And this election has to be about who best understands the pressures facing our families and the challenges facing our nation – who has the right vision for America’s future, and the skills and tenacity to lead us there.
That’s an election that Americans can really have confidence in and that Democrats can win every time.
Now, all of us in this room understand that thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, we’ve come back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. And we’re standing again, thank goodness, but we’re not yet running the way America should. You see it in your own lives.
Families are stretched in so many different directions, and so are your budgets. Out-of-pocket costs for everything from prescription drugs to childcare to college seem to go up a lot faster than wages.
On my first trip to Iowa this year, I met a single mom who’s juggling a job and classes at community college, while raising her three kids. She doesn’t expect anything to come easy. But if she could somehow get a raise, everything wouldn’t be quite so hard.
Boosting incomes for hardworking families so they can afford a middle-class life is the defining economic challenge of our time. And it will be my mission from the first day I’m president to the last.She gave a detailed history of her own work on behalf of families:
And this is not a new fight for me. My first job out of law school wasn’t at a big New York firm, it was at the Children’s Defense Fund.
And a few years after that, I started an organization called Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
Every step of the way, I’ve tried to even the odds for people who have the odds stacked against them.
I learned that from my mother. Abandoned and mistreated by her own family, she was out on her own by 14, working as a housemaid. She channeled her own hardship into a deep commitment to service and social justice.
And she made sure I internalized the creed of our Methodist faith, that we all have a responsibility to do all the good you can for all the people you can in all the ways you can.Then pivoted to the stories she's been hearing on the campaign trail:
I think about that and I think about her every day out on the campaign trail, like when I met a young man here in Iowa who wanted to buy the bowling alley where he’d worked as a teenager.
He'd gone to college, he had a plan, everything looked good. But then the bank took a look at his student debt and they balked. His dream almost died right there.
I’m sure some of you have similar experiences. After all, 40 million Americans have student debt. The total is more than $1.2 trillion. So maybe you’ve put off buying a house, changing job, or even getting married. Maybe you wonder how you’re possibly going to keep up with the payments.
That’s not the way it’s supposed to be in America. If you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead. That is the basic bargain of America.And on to her New College Compact, and how it contrasts with Republican plans, or lack thereof:
That’s why, this week, I announced a major new plan to make college more affordable. No student should have to borrow to pay tuition at a public college.
And everyone with student debt should be able to refinance it at lower rates. We are going to make sure, together, that cost isn’t a barrier and debt won’t hold anyone back.
Now, of course, Republicans rushed to condemn my plan.
In Wisconsin, Scott Walker has slashed funding for public universities and rolled back financial programs.
Marco Rubio would cut Pell Grants for students who need the help, while cutting taxes for multi-millionaires who don’t.
And Jeb Bush? As governor he oversaw a tuition increase of almost 60 percent. And at the end of his term, non-partisan experts said Florida deserved an F for college affordability.Ripping the GOP to shreds:
Now, none of this should be surprising. The debate over college this week was a microcosm of the broader choice in this election.
Republicans want to stack the deck even more for those at the top. Their policies would rip away the progress we’ve made.
You saw this in the Republican debates the other night.
Seventeen candidates, and not one of them said a single word about how to address the rising the cost of college. Not one.
They also had nothing to say about equal pay for women, or paid family leave or quality preschool for our kids so they can get the best start in life.
No solutions for skyrocketing prescription drug costs.
No commitment to end the era of mass incarceration or to say, loudly and clearly, yes, black lives matter.
And you had to listen really, really hard, because they said almost nothing at all about how to promote clean energy or take on climate change.To shreds:
What do the Republican candidates stand for?
Well, I'll tell you – you know already: cutting taxes for the super-wealthy; letting big corporations write their own rules. And that’s basically it.
And we’ve heard it all before, and it doesn’t work.
Trickle-down economics has to be one of the worst ideas of the 1980s, right up there with New Coke, shoulder pads, and big hair. I lived through that, there are photographs, and trust me, we don’t want to go back there.
Trump is the GOP, and the GOP is Trump:
Now, I know most of the attention these days is on a certain flamboyant frontrunner.
But don’t let the circus distract you. If you look at their policies, most of the other candidates are just Trump without the pizazz or the hair.
Yes, Mr. Trump says outrageous and hateful things about immigrants, but how many of the other candidates disagree with his platform? None of the leading candidates support a real path to citizenship. When they talk about legal status that’s code for second-class status.
It’s the same when it comes to women’s health and women’s rights. Mr. Trump’s words are appalling, but so are the policies of the other candidates.
Senator Rubio brags about wanting to deny victims of rape and incest access to an abortion.
Governor Bush says $500 million is too much to spend on women’s health.
And they all want to defund Planned Parenthood.Don't mess with women's rights, y'all:
Well, why don’t they try telling that to the mom who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening. Or the teenager who avoided an unintended pregnancy because she had access to contraception. Or anyone who was protected by an HIV test.
Now, this might work in a Republican primary, but it sure doesn’t work in 21st century America.
I am so tired of politicians shaming and blaming women.
I am tired of Republicans dismissing the contributions women make to our economy and ignoring the obstacles that hold so many back from contributing even more. We cannot afford to leave talent on the sidelines.
Women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying every day about how they’re going to take care of their child or what happens when a family member gets sick.
That is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, and it’s also an economic growth strategy.
This isn’t complicated. When you shortchange women you shortchange families, and when you shortchange families you shortchange America.
And I know when I talk about this some people think, “There she goes again with the women’s issues.”
Like, Mitch McConnell said recently, I’m playing the gender card. W
ell, if calling for equal pay and paid leave is playing the gender card, then deal me in.
Let me add, if helping more working parents find quality, affordable childcare is playing the gender card, then I’m ready to ante up.
If Republicans think they’re going to win this election by demeaning or dividing women, then they’re the ones not playing with a full deck.Citizens United:
We all know we’re going up against pretty powerful forces that will say, do and spend whatever it takes to stop me and stop you.
We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections.
We need justices on the Supreme Court who will protect every citizen’s right to vote, not every corporation’s right to buy an election.
And if necessary, we will pass a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.
You guys have been revving me up so much.
But I want to tell you, Citizens United was about me.
A lot of people don’t know that, but the backstory is eye-opening.
Before the 2008 presidential election, a group of right-wing operatives made a hit-job film with the goal of stopping a Democrat from taking the White House, and then used shadowy money to promote it. That film was called “Hillary: The Movie.”
I can tell you, it was no ‘Field of Dreams’ or ‘Bridges of Madison County.’
They took aim at me, but they ended up damaging our entire democracy. We can’t let them pull that same trick again.They target her personally for the same reason they target President Obama - to stop the Democratic agenda:
So for the past eight years, Republicans and their allies have attacked President Obama with everything they’ve got. Now I’m in their crosshairs again.
But the real target isn’t me; it’s everything you and I believe in.
It’s a progressive agenda that will help hardworking families get ahead.
It’s a fairer tax code and tougher regulations on powerful corporations.
That’s the fight we’re in.
Benghazi and e-mails and servers, oh my:
Now, they’ll try to tell you this is about Benghazi, but it’s not.
Benghazi was a tragedy. Four dedicated public servants lost their lives, and we have to be focused on how to prevent future tragedies.
But let’s be clear: seven exhaustive investigations, including a Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee and the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee, have already debunked all of the conspiracy theories.
It’s not about Benghazi.
You know what? It’s not about emails or servers either.
It's about politics.
I will do my part to provide transparency to Americans. That’s why I’m insisting 55,000 pages of my emails be published as soon as possible. I’ve even offered to answer questions for months before Congress. I’ve just provided my server to the Justice Department.
But here’s what I won’t do: I won’t get down in the mud with them. I won’t play politics with national security or dishonor the memory of those who we lost. I won’t pretend that this is anything other than what it is – the same old partisan games we’ve seen so many times before.Hillary the Fighter:
So I don’t care how many super PACs and Republicans pile on.
I’ve been fighting for families and underdogs my entire life and I’m not going to stop now.
So you know I got this from my mother too: she never let me forget why we keep fighting, even when the odds are long and the opposition is fierce.
I can hear her saying, “Life’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what you do with what happens to you. So get back out there.”
And that’s what I want all of us to do.
Let’s keep fighting to make sure everybody gets health care, just like I did when the insurance companies stopped us in the ‘90s. I found new partners and the result was the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has helped millions of our kids.
It’s why, as a senator from New York on 9/11, I stood by our firefighters and our police and other first responders who were rushing to danger.
And when they grew sick, I made it my personal mission to get them the care and support they needed. Nothing was more important.
And it’s why, as Secretary of State, I fought for the rights and opportunities of women and girls around the world.Republicans destroy everything they touch, because they are clueless and stuck in the past. Vote Democrat:
So I’m just getting warmed up, and I hope you are too.
We’ve got to stay focused on the issues that matter most to American families.
The Republicans don’t have a clue – that’s exactly what Republicans are hoping to avoid.
If this election is about the future, our future, we’re going to win against a Republican Party that is hopelessly out of touch and out of date.
Don’t look any further than right here in Iowa. You know what Governor Branstad has done to mental health and to education.
So all of us, together, let’s be focused on what this election should be about.
Let’s make sure that we reach out to everybody – Democrats, independents, Republicans alike – to ask them what they want for themselves, their children, and their grandchildren.
And you know, as we build this new America, I am absolutely confident we will be proud and confident about the future that awaits us, and we will even get to the point where in this new America that we are building together, a father will be able to say to his daughter, “You can be anything you want – even president of the United States.”Check back tomorrow for coverage of her press conference and more news and views from the campaign trail!
For more on Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency, check out…
The Hillary 2016 Platform Series
Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform
Part 2: Immigration Reform
Part 3: Voting Rights
Unfiltered Hillary: The Transcripts
July 31, 2015: National Urban League
July 20, 2015: Facebook Q&A
July 17, 2015: Iowa State Democratic Party Hall of Fame Dinner
April 23, 2015: Women in the World Summit