Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar Announces 2020 Presidential Bid

Feb 10, 2019
Copyright 2019 MPR News. To see more, visit MPR News.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar declared herself a Democratic candidate for president this afternoon in Minneapolis. Minnesota Public Radio's Brian Bakst reports on Klobuchar's heartland pitch.

BRIAN BAKST, BYLINE: If Amy Klobuchar was going for a tribute to hardy Midwesterners, that's what she got. Fresh snow and low temperatures were undeniable features of a campaign launched along the Mississippi River. Klobuchar drew heavily on the imagery around the river that starts in Minnesota and travels south through middle America.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

AMY KLOBUCHAR: Let us cross the river of our divides and walk across our sturdy bridge to higher ground.

(CHEERING)

BAKST: Klobuchar's 58. She's had three blowouts and victories, the latest in November. That's one of her selling points, given that President Donald Trump marched through the upper Midwest in 2016. Her national standing isn't as prominent as other Democrats in the race, but Klobuchar seemed to embrace that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

KLOBUCHAR: I don't come from money. But what I do have is this - I have grit.

BAKST: Even before her launch, Klobuchar has had to answer for complaints over her managerial style and high staff turnover. It served notice that the intense scrutiny of a presidential race is on its way. She outlined a platform of fighting climate change, expanding voter protections and tackling income inequality.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

KLOBUCHAR: It is time to organize, time to galvanize, time to take back our democracy.

(CHEERING)

KLOBUCHAR: It's time, America.

BAKST: Klobuchar has a reputation as a moderate in her party and lately, someone looking to put guardrails on big data companies like Facebook. In the rally crowd was Karl Bunday, who says he left the Republican Party because of Donald Trump and says he thinks Klobuchar has the right stuff.

KARL BUNDAY: It's important, you know, to have people that have that sensibility of the flyover country that actually, you know, tips elections rather than just the coasts.

BAKST: Klobuchar's immediate gaze will be in a state just a bit down river. She'll make neighboring Iowa an early stop in her now official 2020 campaign.

For NPR News, I'm Brian Bakst in Minneapolis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.