During a stop at El Jimador restaurant in Denison on Sunday, December 22, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) continued a trend that appeared to have worked well for her during the Democratic debate three days prior - talk a lot about Donald Trump.
Although Klobuchar, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, attacked South Bend (Indiana) Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the debate, one source listed Klobuchar as saying Trump’s name the most among the seven candidates at the debate in Los Angeles.
In Denison, Klobuchar spent her time describing how she differs from Trump in character, behavior and action.
She painted herself as a person who came from a family that made their own way in the world, contrasting that to Trump’s rise to wealth.
“My grandfather was an iron ore miner who worked 1,500 underground. He saved money in a coffee can in the basement to send my father to a two-year college,” Klobuchar said. “That’s in stark contrast to Donald Trump, whose dad paid him $413 million. You can’t fit that into a coffee can.”
She continued that a gift of opportunity from family, a teacher, a work colleague or a neighbor should not give rise to a sense of entitlement, which she said Trump has, but a sense of obligation.
Klobuchar’s visit to Crawford County was part of a 27-county tour in four days.
She was the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota (in 2006) and was county attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota, for eight years before that.
Klobuchar spoke on the following points.
Healthcare: “I think we should be building on the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” she said, adding that the ACA or Obamacare is polling 10 points higher in popularity than the president of the United States.
“If you have some troubled water like we do when it comes to premiums and pharmaceuticals, you build a bridge over those waters instead of blowing one up,” Klobuchar said.
She would add non-profit public options to compete with private insurance but would still allow people to use their own insurance.
Pharmaceuticals: Klobuchar said she would bring in less expensive drugs from other countries, altering a line from former presidential candidate and formerAlaska Governor Sarah Palin when she said, “From my porch I can see Canada” referencing the lower prices for many medicines in that country.
Klobuchar added she would put a cap on pharmaceutical prices and said a bill in the U.S. House would save $350 billion in 10 years.
“Pharma has two lobbyists for every member of Congress. They think they own Washington; they actually probably do, but they do not own me,” she said.
Mental health and addiction: Klobuchar said she wants to make more mental health beds available and have counselors in every school.
“I would pay for everything that I proposed, because this president has added huge amounts to our debt. It’s going to be on the shoulders of our kids,” she added.
She proposes using money the government will receive from opioid settlements, which she said would conservatively be $40 billion, and put that toward treatment of addiction to drugs and alcohol and mental health.
“You add to that a two-cent-per-milligram tax on opioids and a few other things to get to $100 billion,” Klobuchar continued.
Long-term care: Klobuchar proposes taxing the appreciation or increase on trust funds of $500,000 and above, that people have established for their children. She said that would bring in over $100 billion that could be used to help seniors with long-term care. She said she would keep Medicare strong and make it easier to get long-term care insurance and make it easier for seniors to stay in their homes.
Immigration: Klobuchar pledged to enact immigration reform in her first year in office and pointed to the number of Fortune 500 companies headed by immigrants and the number of U.S. Nobel laureates that were born in other countries.
“We need workers in our field, factories, hospitals and nursing homes,” she said. “We need more doctors and nurses, especially in rural areas. Immigrants don’t diminish America. They are America.”
She charged that Trump has basically been using immigrants as wedges instead of making the country stronger.
Education: Making student loans easier to refinance and making it easier to get one- and two-year degrees and doubling the Pell Grant for college are among the proposals Klobuchar listed. She also spoke of universal child care to make it easier for families to get child care, no matter how much income they have.
Klobuchar laid out a strategy how she can defeat Trump in November 2020 by bringing people with her.
“Thirty-one of the counties in Iowa that voted for Barack Obama then for Donald Trump,” she said. “There are tons of people all over our state that don’t feel good about the fact that he’s been engaged in this war with China and what happens is there are farms that are going into bankruptcy.”
She added that workers in biofuels have been hurt by production slowdowns and plant closings she charged were caused by Trump giving “secret” waivers to oil companies.
“So we have strong arguments to make in rural America. We have a fired up Democratic base but we have to bring with us moderate Republicans and independents,” Klobuchar continued.
She said that the election is more than about economics but is also about decency, values and patriotism.
“It is about a guy that goes to the G20 (Summit) and when the reporter ask about the invasion of our election by a foreign power, he makes a joke about it with Vladimir Putin,” Klobuchar said.
She pointed to her experience of getting bills passed, of standing her ground but also finding common ground and her track record in winning elections as the reason she should be the candidate to face Donald Trump in November 2020.
Klobuchar’s campaign cited gains in the sixth Democratic candidate debate on Thursday, December 19, and announced more than $1 million had been raised since that time. On Sunday, Klobuchar said that she had doubled the campaign offices in Iowa and New Hampshire and had added staff in South Carolina and Nevada.