At Indiana Rally, Clinton Plays Up Midwestern Values


From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

FT. WAYNE, IND. -- During a campaign rally in this heartland city today, Hillary Clinton channeled her middle class upbringing in order to relate directly with voters, recounting tales of potluck dinners at her church and painting drapes in her father's business when she was a child.

"I was born in Chicago and my dad was a small business man – I mean a small business man – he had a small drapery business where he would actually print drapery fabrics and travel around and sell them and he usually enlisted my mother, my brothers, and me," Clinton said. "You take a squeegee and you do the paint and you pick it up and you move it down the table, it was pretty labor intensive work. But it was one of the many experiences that really taught me the values I had my entire life: hard work, self reliance, individual responsibility good Midwestern values that we were raised with."

Although Clinton often tells stories about how she was raised, this was one of the only times she seemed to be spelling out to voters, 'Pick me, I am one of you.'

She spoke of her father, who served in the navy during World War II, settling his family down in the Chicago suburbs. "That's where we grew up, so we went to the schools in walking distance, we went to the church in walking distance," Clinton told the large crowd that braved intense wind and chilly temperatures to listen to her speak.

"We were at church about three times a week," she continued. "To go to Sunday school, to go back for youth fellowship, to go back for the potluck dinner in the middle of the week and see all kinds of molded salads of every sort that one could imagine."

After the trip down memory lane, Clinton seemed to be getting to her campaign message of the day, which is that she is the candidate who holds the down-to-earth values of Indiana voters, not her opponent. "We need a president, especially after the last seven years of George Bush, who doesn't just make speeches about American values but understands them, and lives them and believes them and wants to make sure they are available for everybody," she said.

The Clinton campaign has been painting Barack Obama as an elitist liberal after comments he made at a closed fundraiser in San Francisco earlier this month where he said middle class Americans were "bitter" over their economic situation which is why so many of them "cling" to guns and religion. The comments hurt Obama in the Pennsylvania primary, and no doubt the Clinton campaign will continue to push the message that Obama is out of touch with middle class voters.