Sen. Amy Klobuchar arrived in Philadelphia with a pitch for every voter.
The Minnesota Democrat and presidential candidate told the young adults who crowded into the La Colombe coffee house in Fishtown on Monday night that she’d take action on climate change on her first day in office. She reminded older members of the audience that she’d worked with other politicians on lowering the cost of prescription drugs. And she wanted credit for donning a blazer that looked vaguely like the green worn by the hometown Eagles.
“We were such nice hosts to you,” Klobuchar said, referring to the Eagles’ historic Super Bowl LII win over the New England Patriots in the Minnesota Vikings’ home stadium in Minneapolis. Never mind that the Vikings demolished the Eagles in Minneapolis earlier this season, 38-20.
But Klobuchar spent most of Monday’s event making a case for her electability. Speaking to a crowd of about 350, she cited her history of bipartisan compromise and passing legislation as reasons she thinks she is best positioned to beat President Donald Trump in 2020. She assailed Trump for placing his business interests ahead of the country’s, saying he “allows foreign powers to make mincemeat of our democracy.”
“As our president, I will bring sanity back to our foreign policy,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar is seeking to build on momentum after she raised more than $2 million following a strong performance in last month’s debate. As former Vice President Joe Biden has struggled in debates and fund-raising — and faded in some early-state polls — Klobuchar has seized the moment to pitch herself as a moderate alternative offering realistic, attainable policy proposals who can appeal to a broad spectrum of voters.
But her campaign has struggled to gain traction in a crowded primary field. She was polling at less than 3% nationally last week, according to averages compiled by RealClearPolitics.
“We need someone who has a record of working with the other side,” Klobuchar said.
Mary Ann Donovan, who attended Monday’s event with two friends, isn’t registered with either party, but said Klobuchar’s sensible attitude appealed to her. She said she thinks that Klobuchar could beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup, but that not enough Democratic voters will support her in the primary.
Andrew Figueiredo, a 21-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said he’s leaning toward supporting Biden because Biden is polling the highest. Biden continues to lead most national polls, and a new survey Monday showed him running stronger against Trump than other leading candidates, but he has slipped out of first place in many early-state surveys.
Still, Figueiredo said he likes Klobuchar’s practical approach and believes she could make a strong case for herself to voters hungry for change, not just middle-of-the-road Democrats.
“I think she could do some more youth outreach,” he said. “I’ve heard from friends who dismiss her because she’s not exciting enough. I don’t think she’s boring, but there’s some trouble getting heard.”