Mon, Oct 26, 2015 - Page 7 News List

Hillary Clinton’s husband turns out to rally faithful

AP, DES MOINES, Iowa

Potential Democratic US presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton turned to her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, and pop singer Katy Perry to energize her campaign’s faithful on Saturday before a pivotal gathering of thousands of Democrats.

One hundred days remain before Iowa’s vote that leads off the state-by-state race for presidential nominations, and Clinton’s event was designed to generate enthusiasm before the state Democratic party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner.

The dinner caps a key stretch for Hillary Clinton, who received a boost from US Vice President Joe Biden’s decision not to run for president on Wednesday and then put together a grinding, competent appearance on Thursday before a Republican-led congressional committee probing the deadly 2012 attacks on diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya.

“She’s my firework,” Perry told Clinton supporters at a free concert, wearing a white strapless gown adorned with a Clinton campaign logo and a flowing US flag cape.

Bill Clinton told the rally that during the past few weeks Americans have “learned a lot about Hillary, what she’s for, why she’s running and what kind of president she would be.”

With tongue in cheek, he complained that he was tired of women having a “stranglehold” on the position of first spouse and hoped to break that White House gender barrier.

More than 6,000 activists were expected to attend the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, which traditionally serves as a commencement to the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses.

Clinton and her chief Democratic presidential rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, sit atop a Democratic presidential field that has effectively pared down to a two-person race for the nomination after Biden announced this week he would not seek the White House.

Sanders rallied thousands of cheering supporters before marching across a bridge spanning the Des Moines River.

Sanders later used a speech to draw sharp contrasts with Clinton on a number of issues, implicitly criticizing her delayed opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Keystone XL oil pipeline to Canada as well as her vote in favor of the Iraq war.

“I promise you tonight as your president I will govern based on principle not poll numbers,” Sanders said, eliciting roars from his supporters. “I pledge to you that every day I will fight for the public interest not the corporate interests.”

He vowed “not to abandon any segment of American society whether you’re gay or black or Latino or poor or working class, just because it is politically expedient at a given time.”

In the hours before the fundraiser, Iowa’s capitol city was full of pageantry as supporters of the three campaigns poured into Des Moines wearing T-shirts and waving signs.

Some Clinton enthusiasts painted their cars to show support for Clinton and her team dispatched young loyalists along street corners to wave signs at passing cars.

Bill Clinton headlined his first campaign rally at the pre-dinner concert featuring Perry, a Clinton backer whose hit song, Roar, is an anthem at Hillary Clinton events.

The former president has raised money for his wife’s campaign, but the rally was his first big splash during the race.

At the free concert, Perry performed her hits Roar, and Firework, along with a rendition of America the Beautiful.

The dinner, also known as the “J-J,” is an important showcase for Sanders, who has drawn large crowds with his calls for a “political revolution” to address the gap between the wealthy and the poor.

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