Hillary Clinton delivered remarks in Clear Lake, IA today about her experience and vision for a new America. The following is an excerpt from her speech:
“A couple of my leading opponents, directly and through surrogates, have spent months criticizing me without having to answer any of their own questions. They’ve been attacking my character. As I have said repeatedly, I really would prefer to attack the problems of the country and let my opponents run their own campaigns.
“But I have to set the record straight. Because often what you don’t know can be far more important than what you do know. The people of Iowa, I know, are good people who are trying very hard to make the right decision in this caucus. But people can only act on what they know. And I’ve heard a lot of talk about turning the page, but what about the action to back it up?
“When it comes to health care, one of my opponents believes it’s acceptable to leave out 15 million Americans. That would be 100,000 here in Iowa. Leave them out from his health care plan because universal coverage might be too hard to achieve. I disagree. I don’t think we should start by giving up on 15 million Americans. That’s why my health care plan covers everyone…
“When it comes to Social Security, one of my opponents uses the Republican talking points and has been open to raising the retirement age and cutting benefits. Now he says he is for lifting the payroll tax, which would be a trillion dollar tax increase. Again, I disagree. I don’t think we should fix Social Security on the backs of our seniors and the middle class. I have always fought for Social Security, I have always stood up against privatization, and as President, I will restore fiscal responsibility so we can keep Social Security as a sacred promise to our seniors.
“When it comes to Iran, I took a stand for aggressive diplomacy. One of my opponents made a different choice: He didn’t show up for the vote. He didn’t speak out during a presidential debate that night. And finally, he decided to play politics and claim that the vote he missed – a vote for diplomacy – was really a vote for war. Well if he really thought it was a rush to war, why did he rush to campaign and miss the vote?
“Now, there’s been a lot of talk about yes or no answers to complex questions. But most people don’t know that for legislators who don’t want to take a stand, there’s a third way to vote. Not yes, not no, but “present” – which is kind of like voting “maybe.” Well, in the Illinois State Senate, on issue after issue, my opponent voted “present,” instead of yes or no. Seven of those votes were on a woman’s right to choose. Two of those votes were on measures to protect families from gun violence - one of which was a measure about firing guns on or near school grounds.
“A President can’t vote “present.” A President can’t pick and choose which challenges he or she will face. My opponent’s campaign said that voting “present” was a strategy to provide political cover. The Chicago Tribune said the present votes were the equivalent of taking a pass. Instead of looking for political cover or taking a pass, we need a President who will take a stand and stand there and do whatever is necessary for their country.
“Standing up for America’s values and protecting our country and our people is the first job of the President. Bringing us together to end the war, fixing our economy, and taking on big challenges like immigration, health care, energy independence, climate change and so much else is what I will do.
“A President can't dodge the big fights, can’t find political cover, or have words speak louder than actions. A lot of words we have these days aren’t matched by action. And much of the actions I see, I simply disagree with. I have a very clear record on all of these issues. A record of 35 years of fighting for children and families, fighting for working people, fighting for our future – and as President, I will keep on fighting. But I’m running on more than just my record and my experience. I am also running on my vision and agenda of a new beginning for America.
“We need a new beginning on health care. We need to stand up to the drug companies and the insurance companies and provide health care for every single man, woman and child, at a price that people can afford and we’re going to give them the help to do that.”