Amy Klobuchar Launches Presidential Bid During Snowy Minneapolis Rally

MINNEAPOLIS — (FOX 9) – U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar launched her presidential campaign Sunday afternoon during a snowy rally near downtown Minneapolis, joining a crowded field of Democrats seeking to challenge President Donald Trump.

A light but steady snow fell during the event at Boom Island Park, partially obscuring the Minneapolis skyline behind the stage. Some supporters trekked to the park on cross country skis, while others crowded around fire pits on the edge of the park before Klobuchar’s announcement.

In the days leading up to her launch event, Klobuchar has dealt with allegations that she’s mistreated staff in her Senate office for years. Several supporters at Sunday’s announcement told FOX 9 that they weren’t concerned about the headlines and said a tough-on-staff narrative could even become a positive for the nascent campaign.

Klobuchar has a built-in advantage with Democratic voters in Iowa because of her proximity to the state. She played up her Midwestern background in her kickoff speech.

“I’m asking you to join us on this campaign. It’s a homegrown one. I don’t have a political machine. I don’t come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit. I have family. I have friends. I have neighbors. I have all of you who are willing to come out in the middle of the winter, all of you who took the time to watch us today, all of you who are willing to stand up and say people matter,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar has secured the support of several key Minnesota Democratic politicians ahead of her announcement. U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and others joined Klobuchar at the event, her campaign said.

Klobuchar faces a field of candidates already beating a path to Iowa.

The senator would bring to the race an electoral track record of appealing to the middle. In November, she won in 42 Minnesota counties that voted for President Trump in 2016.

National polls indicate she has work to do, however. The latest poll in Iowa shows Klobuchar with just 2 percent preference, far behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who have not yet joined the race.

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan criticized Klobuchar’s decision to run for president so quickly after Minnesota voters re-elected her to a six-year term in the U.S. Senate.

“While Democrats are clearly hoping for a ‘moderate’ candidate, Klobuchar comes with serious flaws – the first being, her lack of integrity when it comes to her word,” Carnahan said in an emailed statement.

And Klobuchar must also deal with the negative headlines over her alleged treatment of staff.

The Huffington Post reported last week that Klobuchar’s reputation had scared off three people from leading her presidential campaign. Then, Buzzfeed interviewed former aides who said Klobuchar regularly berated staffers. None of the aides were willing to be named.

Klobuchar sought to appeal to centrist voters during her kickoff speech.

“We are all tired of the shutdowns and the putdowns, the gridlock and the grandstanding. Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity. Not by wallowing over what’s wrong, but my marching inexorably toward what’s right,” Klobuchar said.

Klobuchar’s office released the following excerpts from today’s speech:

“We are gathered here today on the Mississippi River—America’s great river, running straight through the middle of our country, through the heartland. It takes its name from a Native American word for “The Father of Waters.”

“We start in this place where about a mile downriver, on a beautiful summer day, a big bridge collapsed into this river … And suddenly the eyes of the nation were on our state. And that day America saw in a very visceral way that everyone matters. Everyone.”

“They saw it in the off-duty firefighter who dove into the murky water, over and over again, looking for survivors among dozens of trucks and cars. They saw it in the story of Paul Eickstadt, the semi-truck driver, who sacrificed his own life by veering off the road to save a school bus full of kids. They saw it in the school staff member, Jeremy Hernandez, who rescued each and every kid on that miracle school bus as it hung precariously next to a guardrail after plummeting thirty feet.”

“Later, we worked across the aisle to get the federal funding and we rebuilt that I-35W bridge—in just over a year. That’s community. That’s a shared story. That’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

“But that sense of community is fracturing across our nation right now, worn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics. We are all tired of the shutdowns and the putdowns, the gridlock and the grandstanding. Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity. Not by wallowing over what’s wrong, but my marching inexorably toward what’s right.”

“I’m asking you to join us on this campaign. It’s a homegrown one. I don’t have a political machine. I don’t come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit. I have family. I have friends. I have neighbors. I have all of you who are willing to come out in the middle of the winter, all of you who took the time to watch us today, all of you who are willing to stand up and say people matter.”

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