After Iowa, Clinton tweaks her message

February 3, 2016

Hillary Clinton takes a question during a campaign rally at the Derry Boys and Girls Club in Derry, New Hampshire February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

DERRY, New Hampshire – Hillary Clinton played up her progressive credentials in New Hampshire on Wednesday and indicated she plans to go toe-to-toe with Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders over the populist heart of the party that is fueling his campaign.

Clinton, after eking out a close victory in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses Monday and trailing Sanders in New Hampshire polls, struck a more scrappy tone than her usual message of experience and pragmatism during an event at a Boys and Girls Club and one focused on women.

Sanders, who has said he is the most progressive member of the U.S. Senate, was asked by reporters in Keene, New Hampshire, on Tuesday whether Clinton was progressive.

“Some days, yes,” Sanders answered. “Except when she announces that she is a proud moderate, and then I guess she is not progressive.”

Clinton, appearing relaxed and even amused, told her supporters in Derry that when she heard about Sanders’ remarks she was “a little disappointed to be honest, it was kind of a low blow.”

“I thought to myself, I think it was a good day for progressives when I helped get 8 million kids healthcare under the Children’s Health Insurance Program, I thought it was a good day for progressives when I joined with my colleagues in the Senate to stop George W. Bush from privatizing Social Security,” Clinton said, also listing her work fighting the gun lobby and on women’s rights.

“We’ve been fighting the progressive fight and getting results for people for years,” Clinton added.

Clinton’s remarks Wednesday in Derry and at a later stop in Dover were a message tweak for the former secretary of state, who in recent months has cast herself a realist who sets achievable goals. Her closing argument in Iowa was to “under promise and over deliver.” In September she said that when accused of being a moderate, she “pled guilty.”

In Dover, Clinton said she is aware of the metaphor being used to describe her race with Sanders as one in which voters must vote with their “head or their heart.”

“All I can tell you is, I hope you use both,” Clinton said. “We have to marry our hearts and our heads together.”



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