During a campaign stop in Columbus, Democrat Hillary Clinton vowed that as president she would fight for equal pay, Planned Parenthood and abortion rights, paid maternity leave and college affordability.
Clinton delivered a 30-minute campaign speech to about 400 supporters on Thursday before dashing off to a fundraiser in the Columbus suburbs. The rally was part of Clinton’s new “Women for Hillary” initiative designed to highlight her stance on women’s issues and contrast her record against the men running for president.
“There is one particular candidate who just seems to delight in insulting women every chance he gets,” Clinton said, apparently referring to real estate tycoon Donald Trump. “ I must say that if he emerges, I would love to debate him.”
Clinton said the GOP presidential hopefuls want more of the same: tax cuts for the rich, let corporations write the regulations, destroy labor unions and turn back the clock on women’s rights.
Outside the event, abortion protesters picketed the event, carrying a bullhorn and graphic posters of aborted fetuses. Inside, though, Clinton’s largest applause line came when she promised to defend abortion rights and Planned Parenthood.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges said in a written statement that Clinton hasn’t proven that she deserves to be promoted to president.
“Her secret server scandal is drowning out her message as a presidential candidate. After a long denial, it’s disappointing that it took a focus group and declining poll numbers for Hillary to finally manufacture a lackluster apology. How are voters going to trust her after months of refusing to address the elephant in the room?”
Clinton did not mention the email scandal that has hamstrung her presidential campaign. A new poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University shows U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is gaining favor with Iowa’s likely Democratic Caucus voters. Sanders has 41 percent to Clinton’s 40 percent while 12 percent back Vice President Joe Biden, who hasn’t announced his candidacy.
During her speech, though, Clinton was focused on the GOP contenders and her own agenda if she reaches the White House.
Clinton urged her supporters to listen to the next Republican debate for the candidates’ stances on family issues such as equal pay and refinancing college debt and then imagine what America would be like if one of them won the presidency.
“I don’t even want to think about that right now,” said Meredith Hood, 19, a political science major at Wittenberg University in Springfield. Hood and two classmates turned out for the rally and were impressed with Clinton.
“As soon as she started talking about women’s rights, women’s equality, I was in tears. She just has a really great stance,” said Lydia Dippre, 19, a Wittenberg student from Springfield. “I don’t think anybody is paying attention to women’s issues.”
Clinton closed her speech with hopeful rhetoric for women who want to see the political glass ceiling shattered.
“Just remember, together we can build an America where everyone has a shot at achieving their dreams and living up to their own potential. We can build an America where we are working with one another, helping one another, having each other’s back again. And we can build an America where every father can say to his daughter ‘You can grow up to be president of the United States.’”
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