Klobuchar eyes surge ahead of Democrats' New Hampshire vote
Amy Klobuchar, running as an experienced unifier who gets things done, has surged in polling ahead of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and is making a late bid to capitalize on her momentum.
The 59-year-old senator from America's Midwest suddenly finds herself in third place in the independent-minded New England battleground, shaking up a volatile race to see who faces Donald Trump in November.
Bernie Sanders, the Minnesota lawyer's leftist Senate colleague, leads the race in New Hampshire, followed by former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.
But Klobuchar is suddenly a player in the Granite State, and with a spotlight shining on her campaign she seized the initiative and added a fifth event to her packed Monday schedule.
"I'm just putting all my heart into this, going to every diner, going to every place, not just doing the big rallies," she told reporters after addressing the Rotary Club of Nashua, a group of community-minded residents and business leaders.
Klobuchar may well be benefiting from a pronounced slide by former vice president Joe Biden, whose standing in New Hampshire suffered after he finished a lowly fourth in the first-in-the-nation Iowa vote last week.
Addressing Rotary members, Klobuchar positioned herself as an accomplished problem solver who has reached across the aisle in the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation on health care, infrastructure and other key issues.
- 'Not always the celebrity' -
When White House hopefuls surge, "they're not always the celebrity candidate, and they're not always the brand newcomer," she said, in an apparent dig at Buttigieg, her 38-year-old rival who finished atop a crowded field in Iowa.
If Klobuchar is making hay after an impressive showing at Friday's Democratic debate, campaign insiders will be aware that the comparison with Buttigieg could prove a double-edged sword.
At more than 20 years Klobuchar's junior, her fellow moderate Midwesterner has presented his lack of Washington experience as a feature of his White House run, not a bug -- leaving Minnesota's senior senator trailing in his wake.
And as Klobuchar presented herself in Nashua as the candidate "that can get things done," a new nationwide poll showed her on just four percent, trailing badly behind Buttigieg who scored 10 percent.
Klobuchar has enjoyed even less success against her progressive rivals, trailing 10 points behind Senator Elizabeth Warren in the Quinnipiac University survey and a massive 21 points behind Sanders, who was given frontrunner status over Biden for the first time.
Candidates were asked at Friday's debate in Manchester, southern New Hampshire, whether they opposed having a democratic socialist like Sanders leading the party.
- 'A different philosophy' -
Eager to push her middle-of the-road credentials, Klobuchar told the Rotarians in Nashua she was "the only one that raised my hand and said, 'No, I don't think so.'"
While she and Sanders are friends, she simply has "a different philosophy," she said.
She also dismissed a policy proposal by Sanders and other liberals like Warren to institute free college tuition.
"That sounds great on a bumper sticker (but) I don't think that's best for the economy," she said.
She may have her work cut out on the national stage, but voters in New Hampshire appeared to be warming to her message, with two local polls released Monday showing Klobuchar climbing into third spot.
The Boston Globe/Suffolk survey has her at 14 percent support, behind Sanders at 27 and Buttigieg at 19. Biden and Warren were both at 12 percent.
"Our campaign has been surging," Klobuchar said, adding that she has "beaten the odds" to get this far.
Local accountant Peter Hood, an independent voter looking for a candidate who could defeat Trump, said he came away impressed by Klobuchar's level-headed, unifying approach.
"I like her moderate views," the 52-year-old told AFP. "We have to get away from the polarization of the country. I find President Trump and Bernie Sanders are two opposites of the same coin."
Short link: https://tipnews.com/u/MTIyNzQ4