Remarks at a Campaign Rally in Marshalltown, Iowa


Spoken by

Hillary Clinton

CLINTON: Oh, thank you all so much. Thank you. Oh, you are great. Thank you.

Oh, my goodness. I’ll tell you, it was worth it, trying to get here. You have been so generous with your time. And I’m just so grateful to be back in Marshalltown and to have this chance to talk with you, now less than a week until the caucus on Monday night. But it’s just really meaningful to me that you would be here and be part of this process, and I really am grateful to each and every one of you.

I’ve learned a lot in the last months, and I really think that spending all this time in small groups and big ones is going to make me a better president. So I thank you for everything you’ve done to make that possible. [applause]

And I really want to thank Mark Smith for his endorsement. I’m thrilled. Thank you so very much, Representative. And I have a—I have a plan that I hope will come to pass when it—that affects Mark. And that is I hope that we will be able to make him the majority leader of the House of Representatives in the state legislature. [applause]

Think of all the good things that he could do for you and for people across Iowa.

Well, it’s getting close. And when all of you decide to go caucus on Monday, you’re going to be the first people in the world to get to express an opinion about who should be the next president and commander in chief for our country.

And I know how seriously Iowans take this because I’ve been talking with you and listening to you. But I want to just spend a few minutes really discussing what’s at stake, because this is one of the most consequential elections that we’ve had in quite some time.

When you think about it, there are some very big differences between us and the Republicans, and that puts a special responsibility on you and voters to try to decide where you stand. Well, I will tell you where I stand.

I believe that the Republican policies that are being promoted by this crop of candidates that are traveling across our state and country would set our country back, rip up the progress we’ve made, and undermine our future. And that is true across the board, but let me just pick a few of the most important issues. Let’s take the economy.

You heard from them, they are spouting the same failed economic policies: trickle-down economics; cut taxes on the wealthy; get out of the way of corporations. We have tried that, it does not work. And it’s important to know the facts. And the facts are that our economy does better when we have a Democrat in the White House who cares about creating jobs and raising incomes for Americans. [applause]

And the last two Democratic presidents we’ve had, both of whom I know, which I kind of am proud of, they each inherited economic problems from their Republican predecessors.

You know, in my husband’s case, it was a recession, a huge national debt that had been quadrupled in the prior 12 years and a big deficit. So when he got to Washington, people said, “OK. So, what do you especially bring to Washington that can make a difference?” He said, “Well, I guess I bring arithmetic. We’re going to make it add up again for the American people.” And at the end of eight years, we did.

Twenty-three million new jobs, but most importantly, incomes went up for everybody. Not just those at the top, hard-working middle-class families, working families, poor families. More people were lifted out of poverty than in any recent time in our history. And we ended up with a balanced budget and a surplus. We were on the right track.

Well, back came the Republicans and back came trickle-down economics. George W. Bush slashed taxes on the wealthy and got out of the way of corporations to the extent that the man he put in charge of keeping an eye on Wall Street took a chainsaw to a big stack of regulations and had a great big smile on his face.

Now we know what happened, don’t we? We went into the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression, and when Barack Obama became president, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. I don’t think President Obama gets the credit he deserves for digging us out of that big ditch that the Republicans put us in during their administration. [applause]

And it was not easy. I know; I talked to him about it. When he asked me to be secretary of State, he said, “We got to focus on the economy here at home and we got to fix all the problems that we also inherited around the world.”

And what did he do? Well, we’re back on track with 14 million new jobs. The Affordable Care Act was passed. We’re now at 90 percent health care coverage in America for the first time. [applause]

He passed and signed the toughest regulations on Wall Street since the 1930s, the Dodd-Frank law; saved the auto industry, which was on the brink of collapse which would have taken another, you know, couple of million jobs down with them. We ended up losing 9 million because of that Great Recession, 5 million homes were lost and $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out.

Now, if you want to go back there, you got a lot of folks, including one who was here today, who are spouting that same stuff, because that’s where we’ll end up again. In fact, you are four times more likely to see a recession in America when you have a Republican in the White House.

So the economy is going to be at the core of this election. So you should ask everybody who’s running what they’re going to do about it. And I got to tell you, I’m proud of what we’ve been doing on the Democratic side. We have our differences, but we have differences over issues, and that’s what we talk about, not insults, which is what happens among the Republicans.

So I’ve put out a plan. Here is what I think we need to do. We need more infrastructure jobs. Our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, our rail systems, our sewer systems, our water systems. We have work to do in our country, and those are jobs that can’t be exported, they need to be done right here and put Americans back to work building our economy, making us more competitive.

And then we’re going to take the tax system and get rid of the incentives that actually encourage people to take jobs and move them overseas, take factories and build them overseas. We’re going to reverse that so we start investing in America again, advance manufacturing. I know it can be done because I’ve been to some of your community colleges. I have seen the work that is happening there, the training that is going on.

I also know it can be done because while we are going to combat climate change, we’re going to create more clean, renewable energy jobs. And that will be a huge economic opportunity—[applause]—that is directly linked to what Iowa has been doing.

You know, the Republicans, when you ask them about climate change, they all say the same thing. “Well, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.” You know, there’s an easy way to remedy that. Go talk to a scientist, listen to a scientist, learn about what’s going on. And, you know, that’s bad enough that they’re into denial. What really is troubling is they’re missing this huge economic opportunity.

And when I tell people that, I see, you know, sometimes folks around the country have a little bit of skepticism on their faces, and here’s what I tell them. I know we can create those jobs because look at what Iowa has done.

And I want you to thank Representative Smith. Thank you. And it started with Tom Vilsack and the Democrats making a commitment. Iowa now gets one-third of your electricity from renewable sources, mostly wind.

You have 7,000 people already working in the wind industry in this state. You are doing research on advanced biofuels that the Defense Department thinks may be able to fuel Navy vessels and Air Force planes. So Iowa is in the forefront of the energy revolution because some country is going to be the 21st century clean energy superpower. It’s either going to be China, Germany, or us. I want it to be us, and we need to make up our minds that it is going to be us and we’re going to be doing the technology, the innovation and exporting to the rest of the world. [applause]

We also need to be focusing on small business because that’s where most of the jobs come from in America. And I want to be the small business president. My dad was a small businessman, so I want to clear away all the underbrush so people can start businesses again. And especially young people. S lot of young people tell me they’d love to go into business, but they can’t get credit. Part of it is they have such student debts they can’t get credit; we’ve got to fix that. So we need to make it easier to start and grow a small business.

Now, there are two ways we can raise incomes real quick. One, we’ve got to raise the minimum wage. People who work full time should not still be in poverty. [applause]

There should be a ladder of opportunity. And the other way is to guarantee equal pay for women’s work, and that will raise incomes and families will be better off, the economy will be. [applause]

Now, everything I’ve just said to you the Republicans don’t agree with it, every bit of it. They don’t believe in any of it. They don’t really tell you what they will do except just, you know, get out of the way and let corporations do whatever they want and let their, you know, big donors do whatever they want. Well, that’s not going to work. We know it won’t, and we can’t be sold that bill of goods again.

The other thing we have to do is to change the tax system so that it is fairer. And I’m am the only candidate running on either side who has made this pledge. I will raise your incomes, I will not raise middle-class taxes. I do not think it is right—[applause]—to be going to people who suffered because of the Republican recession and asking for you to help us make the investments for the future. I want you to take advantage of them, but I want to go where the money is, and the money is at the top, and that’s where we need to be shifting our tax system. So we need to close the loopholes and the special gimmicks that corporations and the wealthy use, like this thing called the “carried interest loophole” that I’ve been against for years.

We also need to do what Warren Buffett suggested. I was really very happy that he endorsed me, and I went to Omaha with him. And we were standing there and he—[applause]—he said, you know, I’m not too popular among my rich friends these days because I think people like me should pay more money into our tax system to support our country. And he has something he calls the Buffett rule. Anybody who makes $1 million should have to pay a 30 percent effective tax rate. So I’ve adopted the Buffett rule and we’re going to go right at it and try to get that done. [applause]

And then I want to go further, I want to impose what I call a fair share surcharge on incomes of $5 million or more. Now, there aren’t very many of those, but there’s a lot of money there because I want to use that money to make college affordable. I want to use that money to invest in clean energy. I want to use that money to move toward paid family leave so that families get more support to be able to do their work at home and take care of their families. I want to use that money to help bring down the cost of child care, which in some states is as expensive as college tuition. There are things we can do that will relieve the burdens on middle-class families, and the money should come from those who have it.

Now, people say to me, “Well, how are we ever going to get that done?” Well, I do have a political strategy. I’ve seen a little bit of this in the last 20-plus years. There are not that many people who make $5 million or more in America, and I think we can make a very clear case.

Mr. Congressman over there, are you in favor of clean energy and affordable college? Are you in favor of early childhood education and the way we’re going to get it is to tax the two people in your district who make more than $5 million? Or are you going to deny that to the 350,000 people who live in your district?

We’re going to make a very tough case about why we have to make the tax code fairer. You know, you can talk about it, but I have a plan to do it. Not just a plan on the substance, but a political plan because I want you to know what I aim to do for you and what it will cost you. And I want everybody to be able to look at that and make your own judgment.

I also have what has been described as the toughest, most effective, comprehensive plan to go after Wall Street.

Now, I totally agree with my two esteemed opponents, Senator Sanders and Governor O’Malley, that we’ve got to keep our eyes on the big banks. And no bank is too big to fail and no executive is too powerful to jail. But we already have the authority to go after them. That was in the Dodd-Frank bill. We don’t have to do that, we just have to implement it. And I have said if they pose a systemic risk to our economy, I will go after them and I will use the process President Obama signed into law.

But here’s where I differ with my two friends—that is not enough. And this is what we’ve been arguing about on the debate stage. You see it wasn’t just the big banks that caused our problems, it was an investment bank like Lehman Brothers. It was a big insurance conglomerate called AIG. It was a mortgage company called Countrywide. It was another bank, not one of the big five, called Wachovia, and others who are in what is called the shadow banking sector.

So what I’ve is we’re going after risk wherever it is in the financial system. And Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, said I have the best plan. Barney Frank, who is actually the Frank in Dodd-Frank, said I have the best plan because I’m trying to look not just at what happened in the past to prevent that from happening again, but what could happen in the future.

And you know, the best evidence I have that I have the best plan is that the Republicans and their billionaire allies are running ads against me. You know, it started a few weeks ago. These two hedge fund billionaires formed a super PAC to run ads against me to convince Democrats not to support me. And then along came Karl Rove, you know, the errand boy for the billionaires, and he’s now running an ad against me. And now another billionaire has jumped in, and he’s now running an ad against me.

Now you got to stop to think, why are they spending all this money to try to convince Democrats not to support me? Well, I think you know the answer, because they know that I say what I mean, I do what I say I will do, and I know how to get it done, to take after them, to prevent them from—[applause]—pushing an agenda on us that hurts the economy.

Now, another area where I have very strong feelings and share exactly the same goal as Senator Sanders is health care. You know, I believe in universal health care coverage. Every American should have it. You know, before it was called Obamacare it was called Hillarycare back in ’93 and ’94 when I was trying to get universal health care, and we were not successful. And that was really disappointing.

I mean, the drug companies, the insurance companies spent millions of dollars against us. So we didn’t succeed. And then I got to thinking, well, what can I do now? Because, you know, my view is when you’re knocked down, you share the human experience because everybody gets knocked down about something. The real question is whether you get back up. So I started thinking, what can I do that can help somebody make a difference in their lives.

And I remembered when I was traveling around the country trying to get universal health care, meeting so many people who did not have health insurance, they couldn’t afford it, they had a pre-existing condition and the insurance companies wouldn’t give it to them. And I met so many really good, decent people who are so overwhelmed by what was happening to them. And I remember I was at the Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. I was meeting with a group of parents whose kids were really sick with chronic diseases. And one man said to me, he said, “You know, I’ve gone everywhere to try to get insurance for my daughters. I have two girls with cystic fibrosis, and nobody will sell it to me.”

I said what do they say when you go ask them and you tell them you want to try to pay for something? They say no. He said, I’ll tell you what the last person told me at the insurance company I visited. He said, we don’t insure burning houses. This man said, they called my little girls burning houses. And that stuck with me, that and the stories I heard. So I started to work with Democrats and Republicans and we created the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and it now insures eight million kids because when you get—[applause]—you encounter an obstacle, you run into a problem, you’ve got to keep going. You can’t ever stop if you’re trying to accomplish something that will help other people. And I was thrilled when the president passed and signed the Affordable Care Act.

We’ve been trying to get that—the Democratic party has been trying to get that accomplished since Harry Truman. And now, I meet people all the time who are benefiting from it. I want to build on it and I want to improve it. You know, the Republicans want to repeal it, and that’s what they’ll do if they get the White House back. We can’t let that happen.

Here is what I want to do. I want to decrease costs, out-of-pocket costs; decrease prescription drug costs. [applause]

I want to make sure that we get the authority for Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs with the drug companies. I want to go after the predatory pricing that drug companies are using to raise the price of drugs. I want to take away their tax benefits. They actually get a tax benefit for advertising all that stuff on TV to us that we never—I can’t understand what they’re talking about.

They have people walking through fields of wildflowers, walking on beaches. They have the name of the drug which, you know, is unpronounceable. And then in a low voice, under the music, they have somebody saying if you take this drug, you know, your nose will fall off. I mean, it—[laughter]—drives you crazy. And they spend more money advertising on TV than they spend on research. So we’re going to go right at them. We’re going to take them on on this.

But I don’t want to start over, my friends. That’s the disagreement I have with Senator Sanders. I want us to build on what we have and make it better, and go from 90 percent coverage to 100 percent of Americans. I don’t want to start at zero and have to—[applause]—fight it all over again, have to have the national battle we that we had on health care over the last 25 years. So I’m determined that we’re going to make this work for everybody, and I know it’s the right thing to do. And I hope that, you know, we will be able to get your costs down, your co-pays, your deductibles, what, you know, a lot of people are telling me are starting to pinch again.

I also will defend Social Security against privatization. The Republicans still want to privatize it. They’re still talking about that. It’s a terrible idea. And you know the worst part of the idea is they want to turn the entire Social Security trust fund over to Wall Street. That’s what this is all about. Take all that money that people have been paying in for, you know, 75, 80 years and turn it over to Wall Street. I will never let that happen. That is the worst—[applause]—idea that is imaginable.

I will also not let them voucherize Medicare, something else they want to do, and I will not let them privatize the VA. We have to fix the VA, but we are not going to take away guaranteed benefits from our veterans who have earned them through their service. That’s not going to happen. [applause]

And when it comes to foreign policy and national security, well, I think we have a lot to do to keep our country safe, and I have some ideas that I’ve been putting out based on what I did in the Senate after 9/11, based on my work as secretary of State.

It’s imperative that we do everything we can to defeat ISIS, to stop the flow of foreign fighters and funding to fight them on the Internet where they’re quite effective without putting American troops back on the ground in either Syria or Iraq. [applause]

That will not happen. It’s not—it’s not going to happen on my watch. And then we have to do a better job working with federal, state, and local law enforcement to keep us safe at home, and we have to do a better job sharing intelligence, getting intelligence that will help us prevent attacks.

When I was a senator after 9/11, I’d be kept up-to-date on all the threats that still were facing New York, and we had a very, very dedicated group of police and federal law enforcement and everyone who worked together. But, you know, one of the best things we did was a campaign which said, If you see something suspicious or you hear something suspicious, report it. And so people were picking up the phone and telling the police or maybe calling the FBI, and it really provided kind of the—the eyes-on help that we needed. And people could then follow up, and we prevented attacks. We foiled attacks.

Well, the reason I mention that is because of this. The Republican candidates, led by their frontrunner, have been attacking Muslims, right? You’ve heard that, attacking American Muslims, attacking Muslims around the world. That’s not only shameful, it’s dangerous. We need everybody in this country to be on the same team when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks. [applause]

And we need people who are in the community who hear something, see something to report it and not feel like they’re being demonized, defamed, insulted, pushed out. And certainly, if we’re going to defeat ISIS, we need a coalition that includes Muslim nations.

Now, I can tell you I built the coalition that imposed sanctions on Iran. I know a little bit about how you do this. You don’t start by insulting people’s religion and then ask them to be part of your effort to defeat a common adversary. [applause]

That’s not the way it works in the real world. So we have to be smart about how we protect ourselves, and that will be my highest priority.

I also want to continue to move toward comprehensive immigration reform, which I think is in the best interest of our country and our economy. [applause]

And I want to let you know where I stand on a lot of the issues that the Republicans have taken positions on because they seem to be against so many of the fundamental rights that I support.

I am for a woman’s right—a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, and I am against defunding Planned Parenthood. [applause]

I am for marriage equality and against discrimination against the LGBT community. I am against Citizens United, which is a terrible decision that has opened the doors to floods of unaccountable money from the Koch Brothers and others. And I would do everything I can to reverse that decision.

I also want to keep pushing for criminal justice reform and reform in the incarceration system. And I want to fight for common sense gun safety measures that will help keep— [applause] —Americans safe without infringing on gun owners’ rights.

We are a smart—we are a smart people. We can do this. And what I don’t understand is how when we know we have, on average, 90 people a day dying from gun violence, 33,000 people a year, we cannot figure out how to protect people, protect first-graders going to school, people going to a movie theater, churchgoers going to Bible study. We can do this. We can’t stop every murder or every suicide or every tragic, avoidable accident, but we can stop a lot of them without infringing on anybody’s rights.

And 92 percent of the American people agree with that, and 85 percent of gun owners agree with that. So we need somebody who will stand up to the gun lobby and stop them from intimidating common sense reforms in our country. [applause]

So we have a lot of work to do, my friends. And you have been really patient. The children who are still here have been especially patient, and I don’t want to keep you any longer.

I just want to say a few closing comments, and then for those of you who want to stay, I will shake your hands and take pictures and you can ask me questions. But everybody else can go home and not feel bad about it because I need you to get up tomorrow and help work to get more people to go to the caucus next Monday. [applause]

And, you know, I am all about—I am all about making progress against the odds. I am all about working with people. I worked with Republicans as first lady, as senator, as secretary of State. I worked to get results for the people I represented in the Senate as well as our country. I worked when I was secretary of State to make our country safe and to have our values and interests promoted. And I know how to find common ground because I’ve done it.

I don’t think that—I think I—I do believe that probably every Republican I served with at one time or another sponsored a piece of my legislation. Actually, when I’m not running for something, they say nice things about me. [laughter]

Even in the case of Mr. Trump, they give me money because they think I’m so good as a candidate and a senator. So, you know, this is politics. This is all that that goes on.

But once the election is over, I will work as hard as I can to find that common ground, to get good things to happen for you, for your families, for your country and make it possible for young people to feel like I felt, that, you know, really the American Dream was available. You had to work for it, but if you did, you could get ahead and stay ahead. That’s what I think about when it comes to my granddaughter. You know, I am the granddaughter of a factory worker, she is the granddaughter of a former president. I think it shouldn’t matter. The grandchildren of everybody should have the same opportunities in our country. [applause]

And that’s what I am going to stand up for and fight for. And with your help, starting at the caucus next Monday night, that’s what we will do together. Thank you all so much. [applause]