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Amy Klobuchar launches presidential bid, joining record number of women candidates

Klobuchar announces 2020 presidential bid
Amy Klobuchar announces 2020 presidential bid 25:20

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota entered the 2020 presidential race Sunday with a speech in the middle of a Midwestern snowstorm, joining a record number of women in the most diverse Democratic primary field in U.S. history.

"At a time when we must heal the heart of our democracy and renew our commitment to the common good, I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner, as the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, as the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota, to announce my candidacy for president of the United States," she told supporters braving frigid temperatures and relentless snowfall at an outdoor rally along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.

Klobuchar, who is expected to tout her moderate politics and Midwestern roots on the campaign trail, denounced the polarization in Washington and the divisiveness in political discourse.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar announces her candidacy for president amid snowfall on Feb. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Getty

"That sense of community is fracturing across our nation right now, worn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics. We are tired of the shutdowns and the showdowns, of the gridlock and the grandstanding," she said. "Today, on this snow day, on this island, we say, 'Enough is enough.'"

"Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity. Not by wallowing over what's wrong, but by marching inexorably toward what's right," she added.

Although she rebuked his administration's policies and rhetoric on climate change, political campaign spending, immigration and voting rights, Klobuchar never mentioned President Trump by name during her remarks. Her campaign is hoping her candidacy can get traction in battleground Midwestern states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio that Mr. Trump carried in 2016 election

She urged voters to "rise to the occasion" and help her thwart the president's reelection bid and become America's first female president.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar announces her candidacy for president during snowfall on Feb. 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kerem Yucel / AFP/Getty Images

"It's time to organize. Time to galvanize. Time to take back our democracy. It's time, America!" she said to a fervent applause.

After the speech, she told reporters she would be stumping in Wisconsin "because there wasn't a lot of campaigning there" during the 2016 presidential race. "That ends with me," she said.

Klobuchar is the fifth major woman candidate to launch a campaign for the Democratic nomination, joining fellow senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

A former county attorney, Klobuchar was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and easily won reelection to a third term in 2018 with a 24-point margin. She is known for her willingness to work in a bipartisan fashion, and has sponsored 111 pieces of legislation that have been signed into law.

In 2009, Klobuchar voted in favor of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. She is pro-choice and supports LGBT rights. She is also an outspoken advocate of gun control measures and has an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Klobuchar is a member of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, and made a name for herself for her calm yet incisive questioning of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during the contentious hearings in September. After telling him about her father's struggles with alcoholism, she asked Kavanaugh whether he had ever experienced a "blackout." He retorted, "Have you?" The moment quickly went viral, and Kavanaugh later apologized.

She was the sole senator from Minnesota until the resolution of the contested Senate election from January to July 2009, which Al Franken eventually won. When Franken was accused of sexual harassment in December 2017, Klobuchar did not call for Franken to step down, unlike many other senators. Franken resigned shortly after the allegations came to light.

"I felt I was in a different role as his colleague, that I'm someone that has worked with him for a long time, there's a lot of trust there, and I felt it was best to handle it in that way," Klobuchar told CNN at the time about why she did not call on him to resign.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) dismissed her announcement on Sunday, with a spokesman saying she "has virtually no grassroots backing" and referencing several news reports detailing a pattern of alleged abusive treatment toward her staff, which has reportedly hindered her efforts to recruit campaign personnel.

Later Sunday, Mr. Trump mocked his potential 2020 opponent for discussing efforts to mitigate climate change under heavy snowfall. "Amy Klobuchar announced that she is running for President, talking proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard of snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Bad timing. By the end of her speech she looked like a Snowman(woman)!" the president tweeted.

Scientists — including those working for Mr. Trump's administration — have repeatedly rebuffed him for suggesting extreme cold weather disapproves the assessment by the scientific community that the planet's changing climate is causing irreparable environmental damage.

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