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July 30, 2014

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Subtly, Clinton gets digs in at Obama

Touting her experience, she says she’s a ‘doer’; he’s a ‘talker’

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Sam Morris

Sen. Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally Saturday at the sheet metal workers hall, where she made appeals to Hispanics, who make up about 25 percent of Nevada’s population.

Sen. Hillary Clinton made a hastily arranged visit to Nevada on Saturday, continuing to tout what she believes is a superior resume to be president while also heavily courting Hispanic voters.

She and her chief opponent, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, are battling for Hispanics, who constitute about a quarter of the state’s population.

Obama, who comes to Nevada today, has made “Yes we can!” a signature line. In Spanish, the phrase “Si se puede” is an important touchstone of progressive activism popularized by United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez.

Clinton tried to take the phrase for herself at the sheet metal workers’ union hall in Las Vegas.

To drive the point home, Clinton was introduced by two legendary Hispanic activists, Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, and Raul Yzaguirre, former president of the National Council of La Raza.

Yzaguirre told the crowd he first met Clinton 35 years ago in Texas, where she and her husband were working on the presidential campaign of Sen. George McGovern.

“She was doing it because she cared,” he said. “That’s the person I want as president of the United States. I don’t want somebody I can have a beer with.”

The reference was to President Bush, whom the media hailed in 2000 as the most “likable” candidate, a guy people would like to have a beer with. It was a subtle dig at Obama and the media which, according to the Clinton camp, have become overly enamored of him.

Clinton has dispatched with much of her stump speech, which tended to be heavy on policy prescriptions, for a much more personal approach.

“When the cameras are off, when the lights go down, what are you going to do to make somebody’s life better?” she said.

Being president is about solving problems, she said. “I believe that’s what you elect a president to do.”

She continues to draw a contrast with Obama, saying she’s a “doer” while he’s a “talker.”

Clinton was surrounded by a who’s who of Nevada politics, including Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid, Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera and Rep. Shelley Berkley. The crowd was dotted with members of Congress.

The message was clear enough: Clinton is a player who can get things done.

The question for her campaign is whether voters want something entirely new, and whether being surrounded by old Washington and Carson City hands would reinforce a status quo message and image.

Clinton also visited Reno on Saturday for a roundtable discussion on the foreclosure crisis in Nevada, which has the highest foreclosure rate in the country.

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