Democratic presidential campaigns are trekking across Iowa on Sunday to appeal to voters in the state the starts off the 2016 presidential calendar. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks in Des Moines and Burlington while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders holds events in Waterloo, Iowa Falls and Indianola. Former Sen. Jim Webb, who is considering a presidential bid, addresses supporters in Panora and Urbandale. The latest from Sunday’s events:
5:35 p.m. EDT
Hillary Rodham Clinton is defending her low-key approach to a free trade deal that President Barack Obama is seeking to negotiate with Pacific Rim countries.
Speaking at a house party with Democratic activists in Burlington, Iowa, Clinton says she’s held her peace till now because she believed it was important for Congress to have a full debate “without thrusting presidential politics and candidates into it.”
Clinton says she now thinks the Obama administration has a chance “to drive a harder bargain.”
She reiterated her comments from earlier in the day that she would not line up in the debate as “pro trade” or “no trade,” but rather whether it’s a good deal for America.
5:30 p.m. EDT
Hillary Rodham Clinton says that getting out and talking one-on-one with people is informing her political agenda.
Speaking in Burlington, Clinton said that during her recent campaign stops, people in Iowa and New Hampshire raised concerns with her about treating mental illness and substance abuse. She pledged to come up with suggestions for addressing the problems.
Clinton said that several months ago these issues weren’t on the presidential agenda, but she gave them some thought after hearing from people in Davenport and Council Bluffs in Iowa, as well as Keene, New Hampshire.
Clinton said that’s why she is now talking about substance abuse and addiction.
The early part of Clinton’s campaign has been heavily focused on smaller events in the early voting states.
3:30 p.m. EDT
Former U.S. senator Jim Webb is kicking off a three-day tour of Iowa with an appearance at a small banquet hall in the rural community of Panora. His roughly 14-minute speech commemorating Flag Day does not include any mention of his plans to formally announce a presidential candidacy.
Webb says he’s “reaching that point” of making a decision but he’s “not going to put a date on it.”
Attendees didn’t seem to mind.
Referencing Webb’s military experience, 68-year-old Kathy Miller says he “adds interest to the field of candidates, because he’s (got) a little bit different background.”
Others are just happy there are choices besides Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Theresa Glass, a 71-year-old retired college teacher, says she’s “not real sold on Hillary.” Glass says she believes that Clinton should be better vetted and that other candidates have “wonderful ideas and things that need to be brought up.”
2:45 p.m. EDT
Hillary Rodham Clinton says President Barack Obama should work with his Democratic allies — starting with House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi — to address their concerns about a free trade deal his administration is negotiating with Pacific Rim countries.
It’s become a big campaign issue, especially after House Democrats on Friday rejected part of a trade package that would give the president stronger negotiating authority. There’s a chance of another vote this week.
Clinton’s guidance: Use the disagreement as an opportunity for the United States to get the strongest deal possible, and if that doesn’t happen, then scrap the deal.
12:15 p.m. EDT
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s team is working to build its Iowa organization one person at a time.
Clinton was speaking Sunday at a campaign event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. While supporters ate lunch at tables covered with red-and-white checked tablecloths, her aides fanned out with clipboards and pledge cards asking for their commitment to attend a precinct caucus for Clinton next year.
Clinton’s campaign has signaled Iowa will be the centerpiece of its ground game. The state has a long history of helping choose party nominees.
Pat Hagenkord of Norfolk, who wore a Rosie the Riveter-inspired Clinton button, said, “A lot of people I know are in wait-and-see mode.” She predicted Clinton would build a strong operation in the state, once voters began paying closer attention in the coming months.
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