Clinton calls Iowans 'first line of defense' against GOP during visit to NewBo

Former President Bill Clinton to visit C.R. Jan. 7

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowans are the nation’s “first line of defense against Republicans and their poorly thought-out policies that would set us back and rip away our progress,” Democrat Hillary Clinton said in Cedar Rapids Monday.

“I think that has to be on everybody’s mind, doesn’t it,” the former secretary of state, because there “could not be a starker difference between the kind of country that I want to see for all of us and what the Republicans are promising.”

She called on her supporters in the crowd the campaign estimated to be about 500 to “reach out to friends, neighbors, families because the stakes could not be higher.”

Clinton, who was on a two-day campaign swing that will take her to Osage, Sioux City and Council Bluffs Tuesday, delivered a stump speech in which she called for a national effort to address mental health issues and substance abuse, provide debt-free college tuition, make the economy work for the middle class and preserve Social Security.

Her campaign also announced that former President Bill Clinton will visit the National Czech & Slovak at 12:45 p.m. Thursday. To RSVP, go to and search for “Cedar Rapids.”

In her hourlong town hall meeting at NewBo City Market, Clinton warned that if a Republican is elected president the Affordable Care Act would be repealed and women would pay more for health care than men pay and Planned Parenthood would lose its federal funding.

Another of those stark differences, Clinton said is that she supports marriage equality, civil rights, workers’ rights, voting rights and a woman’s right to choose. Republicans are “against any kind of rights as far as I’m concerned.”

Responding to a young woman who asked if there would be more job openings for women in sports under a Clinton administration, she said that the fastest way to increase middle class incomes would be to raise the minimum wage and make sure women get equal pay for the work they do.

Earlier Monday in Davenport, Clinton warned President Barack Obama’s impending executive actions to tighten controls on guns and other executive actions could be swept away if a Republican becomes the next president. The president’s actions to fight climate change also could be in danger.

“They could be undone the first day by a Republican president,” she said.

Clinton also promised to keep America “safer and strong” by conducting an air campaign in partnership with Arabs and Kurds to retake territory controlled by ISIS.

“That is work that must be done by the Iraqis and the Syrians themselves. I am against sending American combat troops,” Clinton said.

That’s the most important issues for Barb Perkinson of Marion, who was sandwiched into the back row of the crowd along with her granddaughter and great-granddaughter.

“Not losing any more young fathers and sons in foreign wars” is Perkinson’s top priority, who also is interested in electing the first woman president.

“It’s not the deciding factor, but I don’t hear anyone saying that electing a woman doesn’t matter,” the 77-year-old grandmother said about her conversations with women in her circle of friends. She believes Clinton has the experience in government and in foreign affairs to do the job “despite the criticisms the president faces.”

Granddaughter Jessica Stiers, 30, also of Marion, said electing a female president “is huge to me because it would change things and we need change.”

Stiers doesn’t talk politics frequently, but based on conversations with female friends in her age group, “the female factor plays a big role.”

Her daughter, Anabelle, 9, said it would be “cool to have a woman as president.”

Clinton also revealed a New Year’s resolution when asked about Donald Trump’s claim she and Obama created ISIS.

“I’ve adopted a New Year’s resolution,” she said. “He can live in his alternative reality and I’m not going to respond

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