Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Monday touted her ability to work across the political aisle, just days before she’ll compete for delegates in Nevada’s Democratic caucuses.
In a wide-ranging hourlong interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board, the presidential candidate was asked how she would appeal to moderate voters and differentiate herself from more liberal candidates.
“I would stand up for what’s right,” she said. “Our progressives in our party are mad for a reason. They are mad because this president has been trampling on people’s civil liberties … . There’s a reason that they’re fired up, and I think that’s a good thing.”
Klobuchar said she has “consistently” won in districts that lean Republican in her home state.
“My case there is not that I am somehow someone who doesn’t have values consistent with my party,” she said. “It’s more that I am willing to meet people where they are and go not just where it is comfortable, but where it is uncomfortable.”
On the heels of a surprise third-place finish in New Hampshire’s Democratic primary, Klobuchar said she has since raised $12 million for her campaign. She discussed criminal justice reform, along with her time as a prosecutor, gun safety, tourism, debates, campaign finance and her opposition to using Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste dumping ground.
When asked about Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ proposal of free college in the United States, Klobuchar suggested instead increasing federal Pell Grants for students with financial need.
“It has been very clear on the debate stage that I do not agree with everything that Bernie Sanders has put forward,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar said she was “devoted” to reducing the national deficit, proposing to use billions of dollars from corporate tax cuts toward a deficit payment fund.
Klobuchar was asked how she would reach Americans who might distrust her because of her affiliation with the Democratic Party.
“Respect,” she said. “You just earn respect. You don’t get respect overnight.”
She spoke about reaching out across the country and across the aisle after election night.
“It’s how you act the next morning, who you call, what you do. That’s when you set the tone. You do it in how you act, and how you treat them. What you say about them, yeah, but also what you don’t say about them.”
She also expressed what she called a theme of her campaign.
“We need to cross a river of our divides to a higher plane in our politics,” Klobuchar said, adding that voters need a candidate who can not only win, but also can govern in the right way. “Is she going to govern in the same divisive way that Donald Trump does every day, wake up in his bathrobe and send a mean tweet? Or is she going to try to bring people together?”
Klobuchar said she favored the return of the congressional practice of earmarking government spending on infrastructure and transportation.
“You would have to have some more fairness about how that money went out, because certain states got more (in the past),” she said. “But it would at least give them some clout to be able to be part of getting that money. It doesn’t mean you change the amount of money, it means you have more say in where the money goes.”