Hillary Clinton Remarks at Iowa Democratic Party’s JJ Dinner
At the Iowa Democratic Party’s JJ Dinner tonight, Hillary Clinton spoke to Iowans about her vision for America and how she will fight to earn their support in the last 100 days before the state's caucuses on February 1st.
Please see the full remarks below:
“Thank you. Thank you so much. Iowa Democrats! It is great to be back. I want to thank Andy and everyone who's working so hard to rebuild the Iowa Democratic Party from the ground up.
I want to acknowledge and thank my friends, Tom and Ruth Harkin, Tom and Christie Vilsack, Leonard and Dottie Boswell, and your Congressman for Iowa, Dave Loebsack.
And I have to give -- I have to give a special shout-out to somebody really special, somebody whose birthday is tomorrow, someone who reminds us that sometimes you just have to let them hear you roar. Katy Perry, thank you for being here.
Did any of you see our debate in Las Vegas? You know, when Republicans debate, they compete to insult each other, demean women, and they double down on trickle-down. Actually, it is reality TV, with a cast of characters who don't care much about actual reality.
But there's a big difference. When we Democrats debate, you see something. You see us tackling the hard issues, looking for solutions to our biggest challenges facing our families and our countries, how are we going to raise wages and create more good jobs, how will we respond to climate change and lift up our economy by investing in clean energy, how will we make college affordable and get parents the paid leave they need, how will we, working with our teachers and our families, help our kids get ready to succeed in school. And how are we going to rein in Wall Street and lift up main street, and how much longer can we wait to stand up to the gun lobby and keep our kids and our communities safe in America.
You see, we Democrats are offering real solutions, like President Obama has done for the past six and a half years.
And by his side every step of the way has been Vice President Joe Biden. He has fought passionately for middle class families and middle class values.
Let's show him how much we appreciate Vice President Joe Biden and all he's done for our country. Let's give it up for the vice president. (Cheers, applause.)
You know, I think it's really important in this election to remember what President Obama inherited. The Republicans would like us all to forget, but he inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month.
You know, right after that election, he called me, asked me to come see him in Chicago. I didn't know why. It turned out he wanted me to be Secretary of State.
But when we got there, it was just the two of us, and we were just talking. And he was talking about what he was facing. He said, "You know, it's so much worse than they told us." We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. Nine million Americans ended up losing their jobs. And 5 million lost their homes. And listen to this: $13 trillion of family wealth was wiped away.
I don't think President Obama gets the credit he deserves for rescuing our economy from falling into a Great Depression. He saved the auto industry, he imposed tough new rules on Wall Street, and he extended healthcare to 18 million Americans.
That's what you can expect when you vote for Democrats. When there's a Democrat in the White House, America creates more jobs, the economy grows faster, and deficits are smaller.
And even though they hate it when I say this, recessions happen four times more frequently under Republican presidents. So we cannot afford to go back to the Republicans failed policies.
Now, I'm not running for my husband's third term, and I'm not running for Barack Obama's third term. I'm running for my first term. And I'm running as a proud Democrat.
We need to defend the progress we've made under President Obama and build on it until the recovery is secure and all Americans have a chance to raise their incomes. And to believe once again in the basic bargain of America. You know what it is: If you work hard and you do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead.
But for far too long Republicans and their allies have stacked the deck for those at the top. There is something wrong when the top 25 hedge fund managers earn more in a year than all the kindergarten teachers in America combined;
Or when top CEOs make 300 times what a typical worker does;
Or when corporate profits soar but employees don't share in those profits;
When it's easy for a big corporation to get a tax break but it's still too hard for a small business to get a loan;
When the CEO of a drug company jacks up the price of life-saving medicine by 5,000 percent overnight;
And when the governor of this state vetoes a bipartisan compromise to fund schools and keep mental health facilities open.
And, now, now your governor is threatening to privatize Medicaid -- yeah - and the "Hawk-I" children's health insurance program, something I helped to start in the 1990s. And thousands of Iowans are standing up and saying "enough, and I'm standing with you."
Now, I've got to tell you -- now, you know -- you know that the Republican candidates can't help themselves. They're pushing the same failed policies that crashed our economy before. You know what they are: cutting taxes on the super-wealthy, letting big corporations write their own rules, busting unions, ignoring the middle class.
We've heard all this before, and we know what it does.
And, of course, none of them is serious about climate change. I love it when they're asked about it, you know what their answer is: "I'm not a scientist." Well, why don't they start listening to those who are scientists and understanding what we're up against around the world?
And Republicans in Congress have now voted more than 50 times to repeal or weaken the Affordable Care Act. They want to force Americans -- yeah, that is worthy of a big bunch of boos, because they want to force Americas to start a contentious health care debate all over again.
Now, I believe we can improve the Affordable Care Act, but we're not going to let them take us back to insurance companies writing their own rules again. You know what that was like. They even charged women more for our coverage than men.
And we sure can't let them take us back to the Wild West on Wall Street, repeat Dodd-Frank, destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Board. We are going to stand firm.
That's why I've proposed tough actions to end the abuses by the big banks and the excessive risk in the so-called shadow banking system. We are going to stop Wall Street hurting main street.
And here we are, everyone here is here because you know what's at stake in this election. No matter who you're for, and that's pretty clear standing up here to see who's sitting where, but we all agree on this: We can't let Republicans keep rigging our elections with secret, unaccountable dark money. We need a Supreme Court that protects the right of every citizen to vote, not the right of every corporation to buy elections.
And I said from the very beginning of my campaign, even if it takes a constitutional amendment, we will overturn Citizens United once and for all.
And, you know, I sometimes wonder whether you sign up to be a Republican candidate for president, they put you into some kind of time machine. And they take you back 50, 70, 100 years, because they keep saying the same out-of-date, out-of-touch things.
We will never let the Republicans cut or privatize Social Security or end Medicare, as some are now promising.
And I'll tell you something else, I am going to back and support what President Obama has done to protect dreamers and their families, to use executive action to prevent deportation. And I have said, if we cannot get comprehensive immigration reform, as we need and as we should, with a real path to citizenship that will actually grow our economy, then I will go as far as I can, even beyond President Obama, to make sure law-abiding, decent, hard-working people in this country are not ripped away from their families.
And don't you wonder -- don't you wonder? You know, for people who claim they hate big government, Republicans sure love using government to step in and make decisions for women about our bodies and our rights.
Well, I'll tell you -- I'll tell you, I will do everything I can to protect a woman's right to choose and to defend Planned Parenthood.
Now, I know -- I know when I talk about these things, Republicans say I'm playing the gender card. I know. Well, if talking about equal pay, paid family leave, affordable child care, and women's health is playing the gender card, deal me in.
But I know, I know and you know, it's not enough just to rail against the Republicans or the billionaires. We actually have to win this election in order to rebuild the middle class and make a positive difference in people's lives.
We have to build an America again where success is measured by how many people work their way into the middle class, not how many CEOs get bonuses; by how many children climb out of poverty, how many families can afford health care, how many young people can go to college without taking on years of debt. That's how we should measure success in this country.
As I said at the debate in Las Vegas, I'm a progressive who likes to get things done.
And I still believe, as a smart man once said, there's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what is right with America.
So I hear Donald Trump when he says, we have to "make America great again." Well, here's what I say: America is great. We just have to make it fair and just. We have to make America work for everyone, not just those at the top.
Because I know that when Americans come together, come up with smart solutions and fight to get results, there's no challenge we can't meet.
And at the top of my list of fights we have to wage and win, it's this: Americans need a raise. That's why we must raise the minimum wage. No one who works fulltime should live in poverty.
And I want companies to have incentives to share more of their profits with their employees who help make those profits in the first place.
And companies that ship jobs and profits overseas shouldn't get tax breaks, you should get tax breaks again.
I said I want to be the small business president, and I mean it, because small businesses will create most of the good new jobs of the future. And they should hardware less red tape, easier access to credit, and tax relief.
And to create those new, good-paying jobs, we have to get back to investing in science and medical research. We should establish an infrastructure bank to put Americans to work building our roads, our bridges, our airports, our rails, our broadband networks.
And I believe -- I believe we can make America the world's clean energy superpower by setting and reaching big goals again.
How about this: half a billion solar panels installed in four years, and enough renewable energy produced to power every home in America in ten years.
I know this can be done, because Iowa is already leading the way. You're producing roughly a third of your total electricity from wind and other renewables. I want the rest of country to follow your lead.
And if we want our economy to grow like it should, then we hardware to make sure women who still earn less than men on the job, and women of color who earn least of all, finally get equal pay for equal work. Because when you short-change women, you short-change families and you short-change America.
And my New College Compact will help students and graduates refinance their debt, just like you can with a mortgage or a car loan. And no one will have to borrow a cent to attend community college or pay tuition at a public college or university.
But let me say this: While we fight for a growth and fairness economy that works for everyone, we can't forget the quieter problems that often don't make the headlines.
I'm also fighting for the grandmother who told me how she's raising her grandchild because of her daughter's struggle with drug addiction; for the mom who asked me what she's going to do when her child with autism gets older; for every family trying to cope with untreated mental illness.
I'm fighting for the man I met whose mother has Alzheimer's. He can't afford a full-time caretaker. So you know what he does? He's a teacher, Lilly. He takes -- he takes his mother to work with him.
For LGBT Americans who, despite all our progress, can get married on Saturday and fired on Monday in a lot of states, just because of who they are and who they love.
For our veterans of all ages who served our country with honor and courage and deserve the benefits they've earned, without delays or abuses.
I am fighting to reform criminal justice for every mother and father who worry every day that their child will be stopped by the police just for being African American, because, yes, black lives matter!
And I am fighting to protect our kids in communities from the plague of gun violence. You should be safe when you go to school, when you go to the movies, when you go to church.
That's why I'm proposing common sense gun safety measures like universal background checks, closing the loopholes that let guns fall into the hands of those who shouldn't have them, and repealing that law that shields gun makers and sellers from accountability.
Now, I've been told to stop shouting about ending gun violence. Well, I haven't been shouting, but sometimes when a woman speaks out, some people think it's shouting. But I won't be silenced, and I hope you won't be either. How many more people have to die before we take action?
Now, folks, I've been at this effort to change and reform our country for a long time, and I haven't won every battle. But I've learned from each one.
I know how to stand my ground and how to find common ground.
That's how I worked with the Republican Congress to help create the Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers 8 million kids.
That's why as a senator, I worked with Republicans to expand health benefits for our National Guard and Reserves, and for the firefighters and police officers who rushed toward danger on 9/11 and later grew sick from their time at Ground Zero.
And as your Secretary of State, I fought for human rights, women's rights, LGBT rights, Internet freedom, American jobs and security.
But I also found common ground, persuading Russia and China to join in imposing the toughest sanctions in history on Iran, and working with Republicans and Democrats to get the 67 votes we needed to ratify a landmark nuclear arms control treaty.
I've spent my life working for children, women, families, and our country, from the kitchen table to the peace table, trying to even the odds for people who have the odds stacked against them. And I'm just getting warmed up.
So I want you to know, I'm listening to you, I'm fighting for you, and with your support, Iowa, I'm going to deliver.
And I didn't learn about fairness, justice, opportunity and the American dream from politics, I learned about it from my own family. My dad, who ran a small business in Chicago printing drapery fabric, taught me that anything good in life is worth working for.
And my mom, who had a hard life, abandoned, mistreated, and working as a maid at the age of 14, told me that at crucial moments people showed her kindness, like that first grade teacher who made sure she had enough to eat when her parents didn't even care enough to make sure of that.
It's one of the many reasons I'm grateful to our educators. Instead of becoming bitter or broken, she became resilient. She taught me that everybody gets knocked down in life, but that doesn't mean you stay down. Get back up. Face your challenges. Solve your problems. Don't just complain about them.
So let me tell you, I'm the granddaughter of a factory worker and the grandmother of the most beautiful little girl in the world. And Bill and I will do everything we can to ensure she has every opportunity to succeed in life.
But I don't think you should have to be the granddaughter of a former president to share in the promise of America. The granddaughters and grandsons of factory workers and truck drivers and nurses and farmers should have that same chance too. Every one of America's children and grandchildren should have the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential.
That's what I'm fighting for, for the struggling, the striving, and the successful. I'm fighting for everyone who's ever been knocked down, but refused to be knocked out.
And together, we're going to build an America where there are no ceilings for anyone, where no one gets left behind or left out, and yes, where a father can tell his daughter, you can be anything you want to be, including President of the United States of America.
Thank you and God bless you.”