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Political Mercury

Hillary is back

9/17/2014

CVA_18 PAGE 18Just weeks or days away from becoming a grandmother, Hillary Clinton says she has a few things on her mind these days.

“I’m calling Chelsea every five minutes to make sure everything is going all right,” Clinton said of the former first daughter who is expecting her first child.

Then there’s that other matter, the decision of whether to seek the presidency in 2016, Clinton said, eliciting the most sustained applause Sunday from a decidedly partisan crowd of more than 10,000 people gathered outside of Indianola for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin’s 37th — and last — steak fry.

“It is true, I am thinking about it,” Clinton said. “But for today, that is not why I am here.”

Clinton joined her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in celebrating the 40-year congressional career of retiring Harkin.

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“The shining life of Tom Harkin and Ruth proves that politics can be a noble profession, that good things can come from tough elections,” Bill Clinton said.

After the obligatory ceremonial flipping of steaks the Clintons and Iowa’s top Democrats served a four-course political event aimed at: honoring Harkin, giving Hillary Clinton a test-drive on the most crucial of Iowa proving grounds, drumming up support for Democrats in the November elections and showcasing former President Bill Clinton’s extraordinary connectivity with audiences.

“President Clinton and Hillary Clinton are now the comeback couple in America,” Harkin said.

Bill Clinton said the nation is less sexist, racist and homophobic than ever before. But too many Americans don’t like being in the company of people with whom they disagree, he said.

“We have to pull this country together to push this country forward,” Bill Clinton said.

He said Harkin, a fierce progressive with life-defining progressive ideals, nonetheless could find common ground with Republicans on legislation lifting American agriculture and improving the lives of the disabled. Such collaboration is nearly impossible today with Republicans viewing all issues as zero-sum politics, Bill Clinton said.

“They think they’re right all the time, and if they make an agreement with us, it’s compromise, and they might lose a primary,” Bill Clinton said. CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.

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