IOWA CITY — Chelsea Clinton encouraged Iowa parents to take their kids to the Iowa caucuses to see the political process, like she did as the daughter of a state governor and then president.
“I’m so grateful my parents hoisted me to the ballot box,” Clinton told about 60 people gathered in the North Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton now wants a boost from her daughter, who made her first campaign swing through Iowa on Saturday with stops in Davenport, Iowa City and Des Moines. Former President Bill Clinton stopped in Coralville on Friday night.
Chelsea Clinton, 35 and pregnant with her second child, spoke about the importance of paid leave for new mothers and fathers — something Hillary Clinton wants to implement if elected. Chelsea Clinton advocated for prison reform, early childhood education and pressure on pharmaceutical companies to lower drug costs.
Most of the 45-minute talk was a Q&A, in which Clinton showed herself to be well-informed about her mother’s platform.
“She believes as part of the Affordable Care Act, there should be a monthly cap on pharmaceutical costs, which would be $250 individuals and $500 for families,” Clinton said.
She described a public/private partnership, an “infrastructure bank” that would put Americans to work replacing or repairing America’s bridges, 1,000 of which are unsound.
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One spectator asked how Chelsea and Hillary Clinton got through all the “hateful rhetoric” aimed at them over the years.
“So many people said really wacky things about when I was a kid,” Clinton said, describing how a pundit said, about a teenage Chelsea, the Clintons were bringing a dog to the White House.
“It’s important to take serious criticism seriously,” she said. “It’s also important to realize when the criticism is not about you. It’s about the person saying it.”
Angela Lambertz, 42, of Iowa City, remembers casting her first vote ever in 1992 for Bill Clinton. “I’ve been peripherally watching Chelsea all these years because we’re in the same peer group,” she said.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump has accused Hillary Clinton of playing the “woman’s card.” Lambertz doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with Clinton highlighting her shot at being the first female president. “She knows what it means to be a mother and a grandmother. She has a different perspective, and that’s important.”
Hillary Clinton’s lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has narrowed in recent weeks, with her edging him by only two points in the most recent Iowa Poll. Lauren Freeman, a University of Iowa junior, said she’s been talking with friends and knocking on doors for Clinton because of her support for women who want to work and have families.
“When people like me succeed and can balance work and family life, our whole nation succeeds,” Freeman told the crowd. “I don’t want to wake up Feb. 2 without Hillary winning the Iowa caucuses.”