Hillary Clinton campaigns on economy, against Trump, in Omaha

Hillary Clinton speaks at North High Magnet School in Omaha on Monday (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)
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August 1, 2016 - 10:02pm

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton brought her campaign to Omaha Monday, and with an assist from local billionaire Warren Buffett promised to promote an economy that works for everyone.


Clinton spoke before an enthusiastic crowd that packed the gym at Omaha’s North High Magnet School. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state was introduced by investor Warren Buffett. Buffett criticized Republican candidate Donald Trump for not releasing his tax returns because he is being audited, and issued a challenge. “I’m under audit, too. And I would be delighted to meet him any place, any time between now and election, I’ll bring my tax return, he can bring his tax return, nobody’s going to arrest us, there’re no rules against showing your tax returns, and just let people ask us questions about the items that are on there,” Buffett said.

Investor Warren Buffett introduces Hillary Clinton (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

Clinton spoke about her desire to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the super-rich, saying they would pay their fair share but she would not raise taxes on the middle class. And she singled out rural areas for economic development. “To any of you here from rural Nebraska, we are going to bring diverse economic development to rural communities to support our farmers and others in small towns who keep America going,” Clinton said.

Marti Carrington shows her support for Hillary Clinton (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

She said she would do that by measures including promoting an electrical grid to carry power from clean, renewable sources like wind farms. She also promised to work on improving high speed internet broadband access.

Clinton also touted her plans, adopted with a push by primary rival Bernie Sanders, to make public college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for everyone. And she used that issue to take a jab at Trump. “It is just not fair that Donald Trump takes bankruptcy six times to get out from under his debts, and we won’t let families and students refinance their student debt,” she said.

Alexa Craus protests against Hillary Clinton (Photo by Fred Knapp, NET News)

Clinton said Trump used bankruptcy to avoid paying small business people, whom she said she wants to help. She used the example of her father, who ran a small fabric printing business. “My dad would get contracts. He would do the work. Then he’d load the fabrics into his car. He would take them to the places that had ordered them -- hotels, offices, restaurants – and he expected to be paid,” she said. “If one of his major customers had refused, he would have been forced to close up his business. Luckily, he never had a contract with Donald Trump.”

Clinton’s visit to Nebraska is a rarity for a Democratic presidential candidate in a general election. The state has given Democrats only one electoral vote, from the Omaha-area Second congressional district, in the last 50 years. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, took Clinton’s visit as a sign of political insecurity. “I think the fact that Hillary Clinton is coming to Nebraska to go after one electoral college vote demonstrates that this is going to be a very close election. And if she’s coming to get this one she is obviously not feeling very secure…in being elected president,” Ricketts said.

But Amanda Renteria, Clinton’s national political director, suggested Ricketts did not understand Clinton’s determination. “I’m not sure he knows Secretary Clinton well, but if he did, what he would know about her is she fights for every single vote she possibly can,” Renteria said. “We are under no illusions that this election is going to be easy. So come November 9th (the day after Election Day) we want to have left it all on the table. We want to make sure we have touched every single place we could to win.”

Introducing Clinton, Buffett promised that he would take people to the polls on election day. He promoted a website, Drive2vote, and challenged people to give the second district the highest percentage turnout in the country.

Clinton promised to respond. “If this congressional district has the highest percentage of votes in any congressional district -- and of course, if I win -- I will, shortly after I become president, sometime as soon as I can arrange it, come back to here and Warren and I will dance in the streets of Omaha together,” she said.

Clinton added that if people were lucky, maybe Buffett would wear his Elvis costume.

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