With less than two weeks before Election Day, Clinton stood among a crowd in Cedar Rapids’ NewBo City Market to rally voters, especially women, and encourage them to take advantage of early voting opportunities.
The girl power theme was hard to miss, from T-shirts declaring “Madame President” to the speeches from local female candidates and Clinton herself. The event was laden with references to Donald Trump’s “nasty woman” comment during the final debate and concerns about issues like women’s reproductive health care, equal wages and Trump’s treatment of women.
“Donald Trump says he can still win and, you know, he’s right. Anything can happen,” she said. “His strategy is to get women to stay home, get young people to stay home, get people of color to stay home.”
She called the strategy “the last refuge of a bankrupt candidate.”
“It goes against everything we stand for in America. Now, we’re not going to let that happen,” she said, encouraging people to get out and vote.
The early voting message was also not-so-subtly conveyed: Clinton spoke behind a line of pumpkins painted with the phrase “Iowa Votes Early,” and a giant “Vote Early” sign was strung above the DJ sound booth.
Clinton pointed to her track record of fighting for kids and families and said continuing that fight will be her mission as president.
“I am sometimes criticized for having too many policies,” she said. “Maybe this is a woman thing. We make lists. I love making lists and then I love crossing things off.”
She promised to start crossing off items on her agenda once she hits the Oval Office. During her speech she tossed out a laundry list of goals: helping America become a clean energy superpower, raising the national minimum wage, securing women equal pay for equal work, creating affordable child care and paid family leave and addressing student debt.
The event came about an hour after news broke that the FBI was looking into new emails related to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. The new emails were discovered after the FBI seized electronic devices from Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top aide, and Abedin’s husband Anthony Wiener. The FBI originally closed the investigation into whether classified information was mishandled by Clinton or her aides in September and didn’t recommend criminal charges.
During her speech, Clinton did not mention the resurgence of the issue, which has dogged her campaign from the beginning.
The Cedar Rapids rally was Clinton’s third event in Iowa since she officially became the Democratic nominee in July. She appeared in Des Moines for another event later on in the day.
The line to get into the rally wrapped around the block in the New Bohemia neighborhood. Stephanie and Brandon Owens, of Cedar Rapids, said they wanted to come to support Clinton.
“This is my first rally, so I don’t really know what to expect,” Stephanie Owens said.
She was wearing a T-shirt declaring “Nasty Women for Hillary,” which Owens said she picked up for her mom while in line, since her mom couldn’t get away from work to attend the rally herself.
“I hope Clinton keeps promoting her vision for America,” Brandon Owens said. “She’ll be a much, much more impressive president than the other option.”
There’s a reason Clinton is traveling through Iowa this close to the election. A Quinnipiac University swing state poll released yesterday showed a close race in the Hawkeye state, with Clinton and Trump tied for support among likely Iowa voters. The poll, which surveyed 791 Iowans between Oct. 20 and 26, showed the two candidates with 44 percent support. The margin of error was +/-3.5 percentage points. In a previous Quinnipiac poll from late September, Trump led Clinton by 44 to 37 percent with a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
The event also worked to garner support for Democratic candidates Patty Judge, who is running against U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley for a U.S. Senate seat, and Monica Vernon, who is running against U.S. Rep. Rod Blum for a seat in the U.S. House. Clinton said the two women would be reinforcements, which she will need in Congress to help support her agenda should she become president.
“I’m lonely. I need more Democrats,” U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack — the sole man to speak from the stage this afternoon — said.
Loebsack, the only Iowa Democrat in Congress, is running for his sixth term in the U.S. House against Republican challenger Chris Peters.
At times, faint chanting from a pro-Trump supporter was audible during the event, including when Clinton criticized Trump’s refusal during the final debate to say whether he would respect the results of the election — he has since said that he would, if he wins.
Clinton spoke about her experience as secretary of state visiting other countries where democracy is not as strong and warned voters about the impact of a candidate who does not respect the democratic process.
“We cannot just blow off what he is saying,” she said. “He’s standing in front of large crowds just egging them on. We’ve got to be vigilant about this. This is not something to be made light of.”
She again encouraged anyone who had not yet voted to get out and vote.
“I will fight for you. I will work for you,” she said. “We will have a future we will be proud of and we will prove once and for all that love trumps hate.”