Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued an appeal for political compromise Saturday at a financial advisers’ conference in Boston, crediting business-minded Republicans with helping end the 2013 government shutdown that she said had tarnished the United States’ image abroad.
Clinton, widely discussed as a presidential front-runner in 2016, repeatedly decried what she portrayed as ideological extremism in Washington, invoking the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and her husband, Bill Clinton, as eras of bipartisan accommodation.
“American voters should make it very clear that we will not vote for someone who says proudly he or she will go to Washington and never compromise,” Clinton said.
“We’re not even coming together to solve the emergency problems. We’re having a big fight about what to do down on our border, with the tens of thousands of youngsters that are there,” Clinton said, referring to the crisis of migrant children on the US-Mexico border.
Touring behind her new memoir, “Hard Choices,” Clinton addressed the Ameriprise Financial conference at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center as a substitute for former President George W. Bush, who had canceled his appearance due to knee surgery.
“The last time a Clinton replaced a Bush, things turned out pretty well,” Clinton quipped.
Much of her prepared remarks were devoted to American competitiveness with China and what she called the growing threat of Russia under Vladimir Putin.
But Clinton also repeatedly jabbed at populist themes that another frequently mentioned potential presidential candidate, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, often voices in her own speeches. Warren has repeatedly said that she is not running for president.
“We have the feeling growing in our country that the deck is stacked against the middle class, and those fighting to get into the middle class,” Clinton said, adding that the country is hobbled by “rising inequality, growth that hasn’t really picked up yet, and the feeling that many Americans now have that somehow the system seems rigged against them.”
During a question-and-answer session with Ameriprise Financial CEO James Cracchiolo, Clinton said right-leaning corporate leaders had helped fortify GOP congressional leadership in October 2013 to end a two-week government shutdown.
“People I knew, on boards, in executive suites, were calling Republicans they supported – they’re conservative, that’s where their political viewpoint rests -- and saying, ‘What are you guys thinking?’ And it was the business community, Jim, that pulled us back from the brink.”
“Support those people. Support the people who are still able to make a deal,” she said.
Clinton has taken criticism for the paid speeches she has made since stepping down as the nation’s top diplomat after President Obama’s first term.
Later on Saturday, she visited the Sam’s Club in Seekonk for a book-signing.
Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org