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Saturday, May 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Clinton in Pittsburgh Galvanizes Middle Class

PITTSBURGH (CN) — Hugged by Steelers owner Dan Rooney as she took the stage Saturday in Pittsburgh, Hillary Clinton championed issues important to her middle-class supporters: fighting the surge in opiate addiction among young Americans, stamping out anti-union legislation and raising minimum wages.

"Unlike our opponent, we don't believe we can do this alone," Clinton said to the crowd of more than 1,200 people at Taylor Allerdice High School.

Joining the presidential nominee on stage were several other Democrats running for office in Pennsylvania, including incumbent Rep. Mike Doyle and Senate hopeful Katie McGinty.

The daughter of a Philadelphia police officer, McGinty will become the first female senator in Pennsylvania history if elected this November.

"She believes our economy should work for everyone, not just for those at the top," Clinton said of the fellow glass-ceiling breaker.

Drawing parallels to her own campaign platforms, Clinton said McGinty also supports free admission to state schools and organizations like Planned Parenthood that improve women's access to health care.

Before heading to an evening rally in Philadelphia, the former first lady spent 40 minutes pledging to fight opiate addiction, right-to-work laws and other problems her base opposes.

"Whatever you care about will be on the ballot," Clinton told Pittsburgh voters.

Taking aim at her Republican rival, Clinton blasted Donald Trump for proudly exploiting tax loopholes and buying up cheap foreign-made steel to construct Trump Towers in Chicago and Las Vegas.

Clinton also took aim at Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican whom McGinty hopes to unseat, for waffling on his endorsement of Trump.

"How much more does Pat Toomey need to hear?" Clinton asked.

Waving off concerns about her stamina, Clinton joked that her ability to survive three debate bouts with Trump proves she has the strength to become president.

"You just have to find yourself in good cheer no matter what," she laughed. "I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable."

But Clinton said that she did not find humor in Trump's implication during their third and final debate that he may not accept the results from the upcoming election.

"Make no mistake, he is threatening our democracy," said Clinton.

"We know in our country the difference between leadership and dictatorship," the former first lady added. "Peaceful transition of power is one of those things that sets us apart."

Clinton left championship of feminist ideals to her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine.

The Virginia senator noted that, since Clinton's mother's era when women were not allowed to vote, they have taken a spotlight role in politics and organizing.

"Now Hillary's daughter, Chelsea, will get to vote for her mother," said Kaine.

Noting that today's women are the largest demographic of active voters in the United States, Kaine had one suggestion. "We should keep moving forward," he said.

The Virginia senator reprimanded Trump meanwhile for "setting the clock back on women."

Pennsylvania is not an early-voting state, but Kaine noted the voter-turnout spike in states like Arizona that do offer such access.

In the audience, voter Caren Swanson said Clinton's proposed health-insurance program is big draw for her family — having lost coverage once before when her husband was out of work.

Although she doesn't agree with the candidate on every policy, Swanson said Clinton "has the intelligence, the commitment and the compassion."

Swanson also voiced pride for the example Clinton's victory would set for her daughter in the "Trump Era," as she called it.

"She was 3 when Obama was first elected," Swanson said. "If Clinton wins this election, then by the time she can vote she will have no memory of a white man in office."

Political rallies are nothing new for Swanson's daughter, now 11, who first saw Clinton speak at a unity rally in Swissvale, New Hampshire, after President Barack Obama's re-election in 2012. Clara Swanson said she was once again thrilled by the candidate.

"I like that she cares for the people, she doesn't just want to be famous," Clara said of Clinton.

After the rally, Trump supporter Titus North lingered behind.

North ran on the Green Party ticket for mayor of Pittsburgh in 2005 and for Congress in 2006 and 2008.

Holding a homemade sign that said "Hillary = War, Trump = Peace," North said in an interview that he opposes Clinton's plan to impose a no-fly zone over Syria.

"Donald Trump, he speaks crudely and not always clearly, but in his own way he has been saying, 'Why should we start World War III over Syria?'" North said.

North quoted Gen. Joseph Dunford from the Pentagon as testifying at a recent hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria would mean a war with Russia.

"We have NATO troops deployed on Russia's borders in Lithuania, in Estonia and Latvia, we have missiles being deployed in Romania, and we have Hillary vilifying Vladimir Putin for everything," North said.

"The Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, she has also said that Hillary is much more of a danger to peace than Trump," North added.

"I would much rather have someone who says let's get along with Putin," North said. "Let's do business with Russia."

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