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Amy Klobuchar makes Las Vegas campaign stop as caucus looms

U.S. Sen Amy Klobuchar stopped in Las Vegas on Saturday to pitch herself as a “proven progressive” presidential candidate who can also attract moderate Democrats.

“I bring people with me instead of shutting them out,” she said after a stop at her campaign’s office in the western Las Vegas Valley. “If people are tired of the noise and the nonsense and the extremes in our politics, they have a home with me.”

The senator from Minnesota campaigned in Nevada periodically in 2019, but she’s recently begun adding more staff on the ground. Before her afternoon appearance in Las Vegas, Klobuchar held similar events in Northern Nevada, with a meet-and-greet at the Douglas County Democratic Office in Minden and one at Sundance Bookstore in Reno.

Her campaign has focused hard on first-in-the-nation Iowa, where she’s visited every county in an appeal to fellow Midwesterners.

Although Klobuchar has consistently polled in the single digits in most early states and nationwide, she has remained solid as one of only six candidates to appear in every Democratic presidential primary debate in 2019.

’More moderate in tone’

After her speech, Klobuchar briefly spoke on the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of Trump. Klobuchar said that while she was still waiting for the Senate to be debriefed on the strike, she expressed concern at Trump’s reasoning.

“I am really concerned that he did not think through the repercussions of this,” she said.

Klobuchar also condemned Trump’s use of Twitter on Saturday afternoon to say the U.S. has “targeted 52 Iranian sites” that will be “hit very fast and very hard” if Iran retaliated against Americans or American assets.

“What I really am concerned about is what he’s just doing today, where by tweet he’s basically threatening going to war,” Klobuchar told reporters.

As for Nevada, Klobuchar said her voting record matches with the state’s senators, which shows she is a “proven progressive” who “maybe is a little more moderate in tone.”

Eric Levin, a 57-year-old Navy veteran, said that while he was Republican for most of his life, he plans to support Klobuchar now that his former party has become “unrecognizable.”

Levin said Klobuchar appealed to him as a more moderate candidate who could beat Trump in the election.

“I just really feel like we have to get the current president out of office, that’s my main concern,” he said after the senator’s speech on Saturday.

‘Decency, values, patriotism’

Klobuchar told attendees on Saturday that the upcoming election would be about “decency,” “values” and “patriotism,” qualities she said President Donald Trump has not exhibited.

In a statement emailed to the media, Trump’s Nevada communications director Keith Schipper was critical of Klobuchar’s stances on the economy and other issues.

“Nevadans have no interest in Klobuchar’s radical agenda, or her attempts to mislead voters, and will deliver the Silver State for President Trump in November,” the statement read.

Klobuchar’s speech touched on major Democratic talking points:

Health care: Klobuchar said she viewed the Affordable Care Act as a “beginning” to health care reform. She told the crowd she would favor a nonprofit public option for health care, but did not mention a “Medicare for all” option that is popular with other Democratic nominee hopefuls. She also spoke of strengthening Social Security, reducing prescription drug costs and addressing mental health care.

Immigration Reform: Klobuchar told the crowd she viewed immigration reform as an “economic imperative” for small and large businesses. “I see the workers we need in our health care system, in our nursing homes, and in our fields, and in our factories,” she said. “Immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America.”

Climate change: She also said she would make “the economic case” for addressing climate change. “The solution — on day one I will get us back into the International Climate Change Agreement,” Klobuchar said, adding that she would also bring back clean power standards and gas mileage standards.

Klobuchar also told the crowd that she has plans to pay for her proposals. That, she said, sets her apart from Trump.

“The president … has been treating all of you like poker chips in one of his not-always-stable casinos,” she said. “And I think we should show how we’re going to pay for things.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Rory Appleton contributed to this report.

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