Today's edition of Hillary News & Views kicks off with the big news she made in Florida on Friday,
starting with her proposal to end the trade embargo in Cuba. As always, Clinton's direct quotes are in bold.
“We have arrived at a decisive moment,” the former secretary of state said at Florida International University in Miami. “The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come. Even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are starting to recognize the urgency of moving forward. It’s time for their leaders to either get on board or get out of the way. The Cuba embargo needs to go once and for all.”...
“Today I am calling on Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell to step up and answer the pleas of the Cuban people,” she said. “By large majorities, they want a closer relationship with America. They want to buy our goods, read our books, surf our web, and learn from our people. They want to bring their country into the 21st century. That is the road toward democracy and dignity. And we should walk it together.”
Clinton also acknowledged her past skepticism about policy engagement with Cuba, which she had expressed during her first presidential bid in 2008. The candidate said she understood any hesitancy in the Cuban-U.S. community. However, Clinton said she came to the realization over time that “our previous policy of isolating Cuba was strengthening Castro’s grip” and was “unintentionally helping” the regime keep a closed society.
“If we go backward, no one will benefit more than the hardliners in Havana,” said Clinton, adding that, as president, she would work with Congress to lift the embargo, use her executive authority to allow more Americans to be able to visit the country, and use America’s new presence to support human and civil rights there.
She also criticized 2016 Republican presidential candidates, saying “They have it backward. Engagement is not a gift to the Castros. It’s a threat to the Castros.”
Today, President Obama is announcing his plan to impose stricter limits on emissions from power plants. As the Washington Times reports, he's already got the backing of his potential successor:
“It’s a good plan, and as president, I’d defend it,” Mrs. Clinton said in a statement...
“It will need defending, because Republican doubters and defeatists — including every Republican candidate for president — won’t offer any credible solution,” Mrs. Clinton said. “The truth is, they don’t want one. They just keep making the same tired arguments they’ve been making for years. They refuse to accept science.”
She said Republicans “refuse to believe in American ingenuity and entrepreneurship, even though we’ve seen time and time again that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand-in-hand.”...
Mrs. Clinton said the new plan would only be the start of drastic changes to U.S. energy policies that are needed to combat climate change, which has been blamed for sever weather, rising ocean levels and increased cases of asthma.
“Of course, the Clean Power Plan standards set the floor, not the ceiling,” she said. “We can and must go further.”
She rolled out her own climate change agenda last month, promising that, if elected, she would make it her top priority upon taking office.
“As president, I will build on the work of this administration and make America a clean energy superpower and a global leader in the fight against climate change. That’s a promise,” she said.Her comments criticizing Jeb! got the most press, but in her address on Friday to the National Urban League, she reaffirmed her alliance with the organization and asked to be held accountable by them:
So all of this points to an unavoidable conclusion: race. Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind. And yes, while that’s partly a legacy of discrimination that stretches back to the start of our nation, it is also because of discrimination that is still ongoing.
I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. You understand this better than I do — better than anyone. But I want to say it anyway. Because I’m planning to be President, and anyone who seeks that office has a responsibility to say it.
And more than that, to grapple with the systemic inequities that so many Americans face. Anyone who asks for your vote should try their hardest to see things as they actually are, not just as we want them to be. So I want you to know I see it and I hear you. And the racial disparity you work hard every day to overcome go against everything I believe in, and everything I want to help America achieve...
I will never stop working on issues of equality and opportunity, race and justice. That is a promise. I’ve done it my entire adult life. I will always be in your corner. Because issues like these — they are why I’m running for president. They are why I got involved in public service in the first place — to tear down the barriers that hold people back from developing their talents and achieving their dreams.
I’m asking you to hold me accountable, to hold all of us accountable. Because the work that you’re doing must lead to action. And you deserve leaders who not only get that, but who will work hard every day to make our country a better place — to make it live up to its potential and to provide the opportunities for every single child in this country to live up to his or her God-given potential.International Business Times reports that her call to be held accountable helped win over at least one Clinton skeptic:
When she approached the podium in Fort Lauderdale, she had yet to address the fatal shooting this month of Samuel DuBose by a white police officer in Cincinnati, and so the audience waited to see if they would hear her say his name. She did.
“Together, we’ve mourned Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray, and most recently, Sam DuBose. These names are emblazoned on our hearts,” Clinton said. “We’ve seen their faces, we’ve heard their grieving families. We’ve seen a massacre in Charleston, and black churches set on fire -- today, in 2015.”
National Urban League member Dara Kalima, 36, came to the conference hesitant to embrace Clinton, but found herself moved by the Democratic candidate's proclamations of responsibility to the Black Lives Matter movement.
She felt that Clinton was ready to join the movement in a meaningful way, and perhaps was past the mistakes that had made Kalima hesitant to support the former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady. Kalima said the mistakes included Clinton's disappointing remarks on racial relations and her campaign video filmed in Brooklyn, New York, which many criticized for not featuring any of the borough's African-American residents.
"The willingness to be held accountable was what really struck me," Kalima said. "That was the first time she addressed the community in a productive way."...
While Kalima praised both Clinton and O'Malley, she said that only the former secretary of state was able to meet the expectations of the Black Lives Matter movement, which works to improve racial tensions in the criminal justice system.
"Hillary understands the message and evoked the level of passion and commitment to the topic at hand," Kalima said.
People's World reports that Clinton will make the Employee Free Choice Act a priority if elected president:
The former New York senator and Secretary of State under President Obama told the AFL-CIO Executive Council on July 30 that "I believe worker power is vital to increasing incomes," in words she repeated at a subsequent press conference.
"I was an original co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act while I was in the Senate and will do everything I can to pass it" if elected to the Oval Office, she declared...
The Employee Free Choice Act, now dead, was labor's top legislative cause at the start of the Obama administration. It would have helped level the playing field between workers and bosses in organizing drives and in gaining first contracts, through card-check recognition, heavier fines for labor law-breaking and mandatory arbitration when first-contract negotiations hit impasses, among other measures.Clinton also shared how she has lobbied the Obama administration regarding the TPP:
"We extensively discussed trade in general and the TPP in particular," Clinton said. She told the leaders that "at this point, I'm hearing there have been some changes in a direction I might approve" towards stronger worker rights and lessened influence of that trade court.
"I've publicly and privately urged the White House to pay more attention to worker rights, environmental protections and the international dispute settlement mechanism," Clinton said she told the leaders.That's all for today. See you tomorrow morning!
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