January 13, 2020 / 11:10 AM / 12 days ago

Democrat Klobuchar on diversity and taking on Trump in the 2020 presidential race

FORT DODGE, Iowa (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Amy Klobuchar is banking on a strong showing in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation nominating contest on Feb. 3 to jump-start her path to the party’s nomination.

The moderate U.S. senator from Minnesota, who is polling in fifth place with Iowa voters, squeezed three town halls and a 10-hour side trip to early voting state Nevada into 32 hours over the weekend as she raced to raise her profile.

Ahead of the Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, she also sat down with Reuters to make the case that her mix of practical policy priorities, humor and blunt talk is what Democrats need to win back the White House in the November election from Republican President Donald Trump.

DIVERSITY IN THE DEMOCRATIC FIELD

I miss my good friend Kamala (Harris) very much. ... I just saw her this week in the Senate, and I miss her on that debate stage. We became close friends during that campaign. I really, really miss her. And Cory (Booker), I wish he could get on that stage again. Maybe he will, as well as Andrew Yang. There are a number of people still running for this job who are diverse, and I hope they get on the stage...

If I win and become president, I will make sure that ... my government reflects this country. That’s one of the problems with Donald Trump. His Cabinet does not reflect where this nation is.

DEBATING TRUMP

First of all, you have to have that ability to make a joke or poke at him or just show how absurd he is. Because he does use humor. A lot of people, including myself, just don’t always think it’s funny, but you gotta remember that. So just meeting it without some animation and some humor I think is a problem. So that’s the first thing. The second is just ignoring him. Sometimes he wants you to go down the rabbit hole with him.

IRAN AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS

We need to be a leader again in the world, and that means working with our allies. I really go back way before (Trump) made that decision about (killing Iranian General Qassem) Soleimani, and that would mean the Iranian (nuclear) agreement. I would not have gotten us out of that agreement. I think it was a big mistake. I supported (the agreement) because I don’t want Iran to get a nuclear weapon. And they’ve now announced they’re going to start enriching uranium again. So I think that was a big mistake. And it’s led to a lot of our problems...

I would visit our European allies in my first 100 days, as well as a number of our other allies renegotiating these international agreements, like the Russian nuclear agreement and the climate-change agreement and the Iranian agreement. I’m looking at a European trade agreement again, which I think would be a good idea...

People are really sickened by how this president stands with dictators instead of allies and stands with tyrants instead of innocents. And I would make very clear what those values are.

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar speaks at a community college event in Fort Dodge, Iowa, U.S. January 11, 2020. REUTERS/Scott Morgan

WINNING BACK TRUMP VOTERS

When you look at my track record, where I have brought people with me who are moderate Republicans and independents in every single election, I have won in the reddest of red congressional districts and with some ease. And I’ve done it by going not just where it’s comfortable, but where it’s uncomfortable. I’ve done it by speaking truth to power. And by really focusing on issues that help people. It’s a very simple view of democracy. But I think people are looking for a little less drama and a little more progress...

You’ve got this combination of needing a fired-up Democratic base, but also making sure that we are bringing people with us.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney

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