Klobuchar Relishes Her Role as Democratic Underdog

Pacific Junction, Iowa, resident Fran Karr, left, points out to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the location of her flooded home, during a stop to the recently flooded town of Pacific Junction, Iowa, on March 29, 2019. Jason Karr, Frans’s husband stands rear center. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

BOULDER, Colo. (CN) – The Paris climate agreement and the Iran nuclear deal, to Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar, are not deals of the past killed by the Trump administration but important pacts to pave the way for the future.

The third-term Minnesota senator closed out the Conference on World Affairs at the University of Colorado Boulder Saturday with a question-and-answer session ranging from affordable education to climate change, and a foreign policy centered on making amends with America’s allies.

Though many Democrats peg her as a pragmatic moderate, Klobuchar said she prefers the term “proven progressive.”

A poll released Tuesday by Morning Consult shows her holding only 2% of early voter support, but being an underdog is nothing new for Klobuchar.

“I’m someone who always had less resources than my opponents,” she told the crowd. “I set a fundraising record, when no one was returning my calls, I called up everyone I knew and I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends.”

Speaking before a crowd of 2,000, Klobuchar was warm and personable. When one person in the audience clapped or let out a whoop, she paused to acknowledge them. And her favorite way to retaliate against President Donald Trump is with humor.

“Every so often you’ve got to use a little humor against the guy,” she said. When Trump tweeted that she was a snowwoman who cried about global warming during a blizzard, she wrote back, “I’d like to see how your hair would fare in a blizzard.”

The so-called “senator of small things” has an optimistic can-do attitude on issues ranging from getting caught in the snow without gloves to funding the Green New Deal. Her plan starts with rolling back Trump-era corporate tax cuts putting billions of dollars back in the national budget.

“I thought she was really good with the Green New Deal,” said Boyd Schwartz, a Boulder-based brain integration therapist. “I thought she was really embracing of the more progressive ideas and I’d say the financing of the Green New Deal could be done lots of ways, but it’s nice that she delved into some specifics.”

Undecided voters in the audience agreed that she hit the right notes.

“I was very impressed, because I didn’t really disagree with her,” commented John Peterson, a registered independent. “I was pleasantly taken in with her views which align with mine, her foreign policy position I thought was good, her domestic message, and her appeal to unity was important.”

Looking beyond the country’s borders, Klobuchar stressed the importance of maintaining strong global alliances.

“The more we go into our shell, the more China becomes more powerful,” Klobuchar said. “The more things we do like back away from an international climate change agreement, the more China can go to other countries trying to say they’re part of the team.”

While her call to “stand with our allies” was met with applause, others were not sold on the details. When pressed on Trump’s achievements in the global arena, Klobuchar acknowledged his support of Juan Guaido who is leading an opposition movement against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“The senator could deepen her research with foreign affairs, because with Venezuela, it’s a blatant coup and the U.S. is really only in it for getting a hold of the oil reserves,” said Alex Wirth, who stood outside the event chanting his support for Maduro. “It seems strange that she would support that so I’m assuming that she just doesn’t know the whole story and I would hope she has someone around her who makes pro-humanitarian policies.”

In her talk, Klobuchar cited her travels with the late Sen. John McCain from whom she learned the importance of diplomacy and maintaining strong relationships with allies. Afterwards, the heartland heroine began to build relationships with the people right in front of her, shaking hands and taking selfies.

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