By Scott Williams
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed a crowd of about 3,000 supporters Aug. 27 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The former secretary of state, senator and first lady addressed an array of topics ranging from foster care to gun violence.
The visit marks her first official visit to Ohio since Clinton announced her presidential bid early in 2015. Clinton beat out President Barack Obama in the 2008 Ohio primary, but lost the party nomination.
Clinton presented herself as a champion of civil rights and voting rights in her nearly half-hour speech.
“I am thrilled to be back in Cleveland and in Ohio with so many friends,” Clinton said.
Clinton was joined by democrat Rep. Marcia Fudge and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Strickland is running for the U.S. Senate seat against republican incumbent Rob Portman in the fall of 2016.
Cleveland native Kevinee Gilmore introduced Clinton, speaking of her experiences growing up in foster care and putting herself through college. Clinton’s opening remarks addressed Gilmore’s story.
“This is an issue that is real personal to me,” Clinton said. “I’ve always believed that when a child goes into foster care, it becomes our child. I want to let you know, that as your president, I will first and foremost be a champion for our children. I don’t care who you are, where you are from, what your circumstances might be. The first obligation of any nation is to take care of those in their years of their early lives and their later lives.”
Clinton’s visit was just over 24 hours after the violent live TV shootings of Virginia WDBJ journalist Alison Parker and videographer Andy Ward, which Clinton used as a springboard for the topic of gun control.
“I don’t know how we keep seeing shooting after shooting, reading about the people murdered because they went to Bible study, or they went to the movies, or they were just doing their job and not finally say, ‘We have to do something about this,’” Clinton said. “It makes no sense that bipartisan legislation supporting universal background checks failed despite overwhelming support from the public.”
Clinton segued from gun control into general cultural issues during which she suggested republican opponents were not prioritizing issues that mattered to the public.
“All of these issues: race, injustice, guns, voting rights, our trust or lack of trust between us — that really matters. [These issues] have to be at the heart of this election. You don’t hear much from republicans about any of this, do you?” Clinton said. “Don’t be distracted by the flamboyant front-runner. If you look at their policies, most of the other candidates are just Trump without the pizzazz or the hair. In between him insulting everybody else, it is a great reality TV show isn’t it?”
After criticizing the republicans, Clinton ended by asserting her intention to create an administration distinct from those she served on in the past.
“Now, I’m not running for my husband’s third term, and I’m not running for president Obama’s third term,” Clinton said. “I’m running for my first term, but I think it’s always useful if somebody running for president knows what works and what doesn’t work.”