Klobuchar shows off N.H. knowledge, Bennet points to past primary underdog, as they file for 2020

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., files to be listed on the New Hampshire primary ballot at the State House in Concord on Wednesday. AP photos

  • Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado files to run for president in the Secretary of State's office on Wednesday. Paul Steinhauser—For the Monitor

For the Monitor
Published: 11/6/2019 11:49:39 AM

Sen. Amy Klobuchar did her homework ahead of her filing to place her name on the first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballot.

The Democratic presidential candidate from Minnesota – at the Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday – noted that New Hampshire was “the first state to have its own constitution.”

Showing off her trademark humor and wit, she asked long-time New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner “is that right Secretary of State? I don’t want to mess this up. That’s correct. Right.”

She then highlighted that the Granite State was the ninth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

“Am I right on that? Okay, very good. And the biggest legislature in the country. This is a state where everywhere I go, it seems like everyone is elected to something,” she said. “I literally did a town hall and the moderator, I made a joke, ‘Oh, were you elected to be moderator.’ And he said ‘yes I was.’ ”

Klobuchar has seen her stock rise the past month following a strong performance in the most recent Democratic presidential nomination debate. But she still remains far behind the top-tier contenders in both polling and fundraising.

Gardner noted to Klobuchar that “you don’t have to have the most fame or fortune.”

“Excellent,” Klobuchar responded. And pointing to the secretary of state, she joked “he’s like a therapy session.”

Klobuchar filed the morning after Democrats nationally and in New Hampshire racked up victories in the 2019 elections.

“We are doing this the morning after elections across the country including right here in New Hampshire where I think eight of the ten mayors races were won by Democrats and there was a major shift in the town of Laconia,” she noted. “That was one tiny example of what we saw in the country last night.”

Klobuchar linked the Democratic victories to discontent with Republican President Donald Trump.

“There’s a lot of people out there, including our fired up Democratic base and including independents and moderate Republicans who’ve had it,” she said. “They don’t want this guy as president anymore. They want someone who can bring this country together.”

Klobuchar’s considered one of the more centrist or moderate contenders in the large field of Democratic White House hopefuls. But she takes issue with that description, and once again touted herself as a “proven progressive. That means I like get things done to make progress.”

Differentiating herself from many of her rivals, she said “look at how many bills I’ve passed compared to the other candidates. I’ve passed over a hundred.”

After filing and taking questions from reporters, Klobuchar held a rally in the plaza outside the State House. Later, in a brief interview with the Monitor and NHTalkRadio.com, Klobuchar took aim at Sen. Elizabeth Warren – one of the front-runners in the nomination race along with former Vice President Joe Biden.

Klobuchar has been very vocal in her opposition of a government-run Medicare-for-all health care system proposed by both Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – another top tier contender.

“Medicare for all is a worthy idea and my issue is with how that bill works and the fact that you would kick 149 million people off their insurance in just four years and I don’t agree with it. And her name is on that bill,” she said.

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado also criticized Medicare-for-all. Minutes after he filed at the Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday afternoon, he told the Monitor “I think that’s a big mistake.”

Bennet – like Klobuchar – also supports strengthening the current health care system by adding a public Medicare type option to the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s a lurch to a set of policies that are good for raising money on the internet, I guess, but are never going to happen,” he said of the plan. “And I don’t want to spent the next ten years spending a losing battle for Medicare-for-all.”

Bennet – who’s failed to make the cut for this autumn’s debates – faces extremely long odds of winning the nomination. But he told the Monitor he has “the resources to expand our operation” in New Hampshire and buy ads.

He pointed to another long-shot senator from Colorado who won the first-in-the-nation more than three decades ago

“The secretary of state and I were talking about the example of Gary Hart, another Colorado senator who was able to find traction in New Hampshire and actually win here, coming from far behind the in the polls,” Bennet said. “I think we can do a similar thing in this race because I believe we are where New Hampshire voters are.”

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