Jun 15, 2015 9:02 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
CONCORD – Hillary Clinton’s return to New Hampshire included a call for universal pre-Kindergarten for four year olds, a launch rally for supporters, and a speech to some of the top Democrats in the first-in-the-nation primary state.
Clinton kicked off her day at the YMCA in Rochester, helping to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to a pre-K classroom of four and five year olds.
Later, the former secretary of state and frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination vowed to expand access to pre-K and such early education programs as Head Start. Clinton also pledged to cut taxes to help middle class parents pay for childcare.
“I believe getting off to a good start should be our children’s birthright, part of the basic bargain we have with each other as a nation,” Clinton said. “Every child should have the tools and skills to thrive in tomorrow’s economy.”
What Clinton didn’t make clear was how these programs would be paid for. Her campaign promised more details would be coming in the near future.
Clinton brought up education again at her second event, saying “how important it is to make pre-school and quality child care available to every child, not just because it’s the right thing to do, not just because I have a new granddaughter,” which brought laughter from a large crowd of supporters.
“It’s because if we want to remain a strong competitive country, if we want to produce successful adults who will be good citizens, we have to start at the beginning, because we now know from brain research that children’s brains are 80% formed by the age of three,” she added.
Clinton homecoming in Concord
Clinton’s second event was a rally at Carter Hill Orchard in the rural northwest corner of Concord. The orchard’s owned by Rob and Annette Larocque, who backed Clinton during her bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, and who are supporting her once again.
“I was here in 2007 with my mother and my daughter. And I so enjoyed and appreciated everything about your business, your devotion to New Hampshire, you and Annette and now your son Todd, running this family enterprise and not just doing it wish success, but with real commitment. So I think we should give the Larocques another round of applause,” Clinton said.
After coming in third in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, then-Sen. Clinton pulled a come-from-behind victory in the New Hampshire primary, boosting her back into a marathon and historic battle with then-Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I’m thrilled to be back in New Hampshire. This is a place that means a lot to my family and me and has done a lot for us,” Clinton told the audience.
Clinton’s trip to the Granite State was her first since her formal campaign launch Saturday at an event in New York City. Clinton’s scheduled to return to New Hampshire on July 3.
Clinton to ‘wait and see’ on trade deal
Later, taking questions from reporters, Clinton urged President Barack Obama to renegotiate a controversial trade deal with Pacific Rim nations that’s dividing Democrats in Washington and on the campaign trail. But Clinton once again declined to say whether she thinks the President the ability to fast-track the deal through Congress without allowing any amendments, which the administration says is the muscle they need to complete the negotiations with 12 nations.
“The issue for me is, what’s in the deal. I think now there’s an opportunity for the President and his team to reach out and meet with the people who have said on the floor, like Nancy Pelosi did, that we need a better deal, not ‘I’m against it no matter what’s in it, or as many did, ‘I’m for it no matter what’s in it.’ I think this is a chance to use this leverage so that the deal does become one that more Americans, and more members of Congress, can vote for,” Clinton said.
“I will wait to see what the deal is and then I will tell you what I think about it,” she added.
The Trans Pacific Partnership is opposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who are also running for the Democratic nomination.
Minutes after Clinton’s comments to reporters regarding the trade deal, the O’Malley campaign took a shot at Clinton, putting out a statement that said “now is a time for leadership, not political dodges.”
Clinton: ‘I don’t’ agree with every Obama’s done
Asked if she’s running for Obama’s third term, Clinton said “I’m not running for President Obama’s third term or my husband’s third term. I’m running for my first term. I will pay attention to what they did, which I think on balance was good for the country.”
“I will build on that and I will go further,” she added.
Clinton praised the current president, saying “I don’t think he gets the credit he deserved for having fought for a recovery that is taking hold. 800,000 jobs a month were being lost when he became president. We now have job increases.”
But she added “do I agree with everything , no I don’t.”
Clinton wrapped up her New Hampshire swing by headlining the Manchester Democrats Flag Day Dinner. Clinton spoke for about 30 minutes at the event, which was held at the Puritan Back Room, which is owned by the family of Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, who introduced Clinton.
Also attending the event was Colin Van Ostern, the other Democratic member of the Executive Council, state Sens. Jeff Woodburn (the Senate minority leader), Donna Soucy, David Pierce and Lou D’Allesandro, and DNC committee members Billy Shaheen and Kathy Sullivan.
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