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Klobuchar delivers 'decency check' to voters

Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar tells group in Ashton, Iowa why she can beat Donald Trump in 2020.

ASHTON, Iowa — A contingency of Iowans and Minnesotans packed like sardines into Charlie's Bar & Grill Monday morning to hear from Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the midst of her tour through 27 Iowa counties.

"I believe in meeting people where they are," Klobuchar told the group. "It's where I've gotten some of my best ideas."

The 12-year Minnesota U.S. senator appealed to voters on the grounds that she has passed more than 100 bills during her time as a senator. She noted that she has won districts previously represented by Republican candidates, and that she has experience on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

"My whole focus (in the Senate) has been on getting things done, and on believing that there's more that unites than divides us as a country," she said. She also emphasized her bipartisanship, notably by working with Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on a number of bills.

Klobuchar referenced the announcement of her candidacy, which was made on a snowy February day at the site of the 2007 35W bridge collapse. She shared stories from the collapse that motivated her to represent the people of Minnesota and the nation.

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"The world watched on TV, and they saw an off-duty firefighter tether herself to the side of the river and dive in and out of the murky waters and mangled cars and trucks, looking for survivors.

"They saw a Tastee truck with a guy who could have saved his own life and rammed into the back of a school bus, but instead, veered off, saved the kids on the bus, but burned to death in his cab.

"The school bus plummeted 30 feet down and hanging on the side of a guard rail, and that was a moment where one school camp counselor named Hernandez had one second to decide. The back of the bus opened up, and instead of running he off, he got all those 30 kids on that bus to safety.

"That is America," she said. "That is a country that has each other's backs."

Klobuchar contrasted her bipartisan attitude what she described as the narrow and spiteful viewpoint revealed by the tweets and the policies of Donald Trump, adding that "there is something really big going on in this country" with state legislature and governors' seats being won by Democrats.

"It's a patriotism check," she said. "It's a decency check.

"One of my favorite examples of a decency check is someone from Iowa — from Primghar, Iowa," Klobuchar added. She shared the story of Joseph Welch, the chief council of the U.S. Army during the McCarthy hearings in 1954, when a senator from Wisconsin spied on and persecuted people for their supposed political beliefs.

"(McCarthyism) was really wrong, and everyone was scared of (McCarthy), and not many people would stand up, but one guy from Iowa — he stood up. ... (Welch) was the one guy, from a small town, that stood up at that hearing to Joseph McCarthy and said, 'Have you no sense of decency, sir? Have you no sense of decency?'

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"This is that decency check for our country, because you have parents that mute the sound on the TV when the president speaks, because they're afraid of what he's going to say."

She called for a change to the office of the president of the United States, so that it may be occupied by someone people respect enough to pay attention when they speak.

"I think I'm the ideal person to take this guy on," Klobuchar said. She criticized Trump for his sense of entitlement, positing that her humble family background makes her more relatable and accessible.

Following her impassioned appeal for support, Klobuchar took a few policy questions from voters.

Klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar delivered a pitch to voters in Ashton, Iowa Monday morning. (Leah Ward / The Globe)

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