Hillary Clinton urged Minnesota Democrats to rally for the 2020 election, telling supporters gathered in Minneapolis on Thursday night that the state could play a significant role in what’s shaping up to be a “very, very close” presidential election next year.
“Minnesota they’re really focused on,” she said, citing President Donald Trump’s renewed push to win the state. “It’s important that people here in Minnesota start right now thinking about how to reach out and talk to people and make the case we need a change and why we can’t wait to see what happens if we don’t change.”
Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, made a stop in Minneapolis to promote their just-released “The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.”
The former secretary of state’s narrow margin of victory over Trump in Minnesota in 2016 has fueled Trump and his supporters in their bid to flip the state next year. But on Thursday night at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, only Clinton supporters were in view.
Among those who packed the pews was budding women’s history buff Taelyn Sauser, who said she was excited to see the first female presidential nominee from a major political party.
But the 9-year-old Minnesota girl also had a question: How can we lift people up to be kind?
“There are lots of ways that you can show people what kindness means, and then we have to try to model that as best we can in our communities and even in our nations,” Clinton told the fourth-grader. “Being kind is not only the right thing to do. Being kind is a better way to live together.”
Organizers of the event, sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers, said all 1,000 tickets available for the talk were sold.
Nikki Powers, a longtime Clinton supporter and former campaign volunteer, was so excited that she showed up at noon — more than seven hours before the mother and daughter would take the stage. The 42-year-old executive assistant from Bloomington welcomed the opportunity to gather with other supporters nearly three years after what she called a “very heartbreaking” loss.
“It’s great to be surrounded by people who are like-minded,” she said.
Many in the audience said the book’s theme of highlighting strong women throughout history was also a draw.
Brenda Robertson, a retired teacher from Vadnais Heights, cited a desire to inspire the next generation of girls. She hoped to get copies of the book, included as part of the $45 ticket price, dedicated to her 10-year-old granddaughters.
“I love the courage, the resilience that Hillary has shown,” the 72-year-old said. “It’s so important for our young girls to have the model of women who have survived the ups and downs.”
Clinton’s latest publicity tour has unleashed a deluge of fresh press — and controversy.
Her comment suggesting that the Russians support U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential bid, made during a podcast interview, sparked backlash from the Hawaii Democrat and political rivals. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump also weighed in, condemning the remarks. And recently published comments from aides that she hasn’t ruled out a run for president prompted fresh speculation that she could herself become a late entrant in the race.
Clinton didn’t address those topics during Thursday night’s question-and-answer session, which was moderated by Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Detroit pediatrician and public health advocate whose research helped uncover the Flint, Mich., water crisis. Instead, the upbeat discussion largely stuck to the book and its underlying message about women who inspire. Both Clintons highlighted female figures featured in the manuscript, such as Hedy Lamarr, a 1930s movie star and inventor who helped develop the technology that led to cellphones, and paralympian Tatyana McFadden.
Those were the stories Taelyn, who attended the event alongside her grandmother, Minneapolis resident Stacey Parshall Jensen, had hoped to hear.
“I like learning about what they did,” Taelyn said. “A lot of times women in history are not written down.”
Hillary Clinton said she hoped the profiles would provide a “big dose of optimism and hopefulness.”
“I think we’re living in a time when we need to remind ourselves that there truly are heroes,” she said. “And those heroes can teach us lessons of courage and resilience.”