CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Hillary Rodham Clinton praised Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to veto a bill that would have allowed people with sincerely held religious beliefs to refuse to serve gays.
Speaking Wednesday to thousands of students, faculty and guests at the University of Miami, the former secretary of state and New York senator said Brewer’s rejection of “discriminatory legislation” recognized that “inclusive leadership is really what the 21st century is all about.”
Clinton’s remarks came before an address in which she called for greater civic participation in the country, urging young people to “find ways to make sure the barriers that too often divide us are torn down once and for all.”
“It is the work of this century to complete the unfinished business of making sure that every girl and boy, every woman and man, lives in societies that respect their rights no matter who they are,” she said.
Clinton has been traveling the country giving speeches at various trade industry events while considering another presidential campaign. The former first lady expects to make a decision whether to run later this year.
In a question-and-answer session, Clinton urged young people to sign up for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law as a key deadline approaches.
“Having access to health insurance, not connected to employment, subsidized as it is under the Affordable Care Act, liberates you to choose what you want to do in your life,” she said.
The White House has set an unofficial goal of 7 million enrollees by the end of March. Nearly 3.3 million people, or less than half the total, had enrolled through the end of January.
Unified in their opposition to the law, Republicans have been relentless in focusing on its problems, from complaints of canceled policies to higher insurance premiums and Obama’s unilateral decision to delay for two years the requirement that small businesses cover employees.
Clinton urged Americans to “get the facts,” and cited a popular provision in the law that allows young people to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.
“We can still disagree _ and we will _ but the disagreements will be based on something resembling evidence and it won’t be living in an evidence-free zone where we just argue past each other all the time,” she said.
Clinton also weighed in on foreign policy.
She said Venezuela “is not being well governed” and is “going backward” under President Nicolas Maduro, but stopped short of endorsing specific actions in response to the countrywide protests that the government says have left at least 15 people dead and 150 injured. She criticized the Maduro government.
“A democracy doesn’t just mean an election,” she said. “A democracy means a free press, protecting the rights of opponents, protecting a free economy, having an independent judiciary.”
On Syria, she said the United States should stay focused on removing chemical weapons from the war-torn country but that “a lot more international pressure is going to have to be brought to finish the job.”
The mission to eliminate Syria’s chemical stockpile has said the Assad government has missed at least two deadlines in the past two months to remove chemicals. The United States has accused Damascus of using stalling tactics.
Clinton said she hoped the United States can continue supporting “those forces inside Syria who are not allied with the extremists and are not looking to establish a theocratic mini-state but really want to negotiate with (President Barshar) Assad to bring about a peaceful transition.”
Clinton dodged a question about her own future when University of Miami president Donna Shalala, who served in President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet, asked the former first lady what the “TBD” _ shorthand for “to be determined” _ meant in her Twitter profile.
Referring to the social media tool’s limited space, Clinton said, “Well, I’d really like to but I have no characters left.”
Follow Michael J. Mishak on Twitter:
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food