Ignoring her crushing loss in Wisconsin to rival Barack Obama, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton pressed her case Tuesday that the Illinois senator offers little more than talk.
"It's about picking a president who relies not just on words, but on work, hard work, to get America back to work," Clinton said at a labor rally here. "Someone who's not just in the speeches business."
The New York senator tried to battle back from her ninth straight loss to Obama since the Super Tuesday contests Feb. 5, vowing to fix trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which have disproportionally hurt working-class voters in places like Ohio.
The state holds its primary March 4, and Clinton is depending on victories in Ohio and in Texas to revive her fading candidacy.
But exit polls in Wisconsin offered ominous warnings for Clinton as she tries to reconsitute her political base in Ohio and elsewhere.
Obama defeated her among less educated voters and nearly tied her among white women — two groups that have formed the core of her candidacy. Young voters turned out in droves for Obama, more than offsetting Clinton's advantage among seniors. Wisconsin voters also said the need for change trumps experience 2-to-1.
Clinton did her best to push on, bluntly challenging Obama on his fitness to lead.
"Only one of us is ready on day one to be commander in chief, ready to manage our economy, ready to defeat the Republicans. Only one of us has spent 35 years being a doer, a fighter, and a champion for those who need a voice," she said to cheers.
She also addressed the issue of trade — a vulnerability for the former first lady, who championed NAFTA while it was being negotiated during her husband's presidency.
She has since become a NAFTA critic and has advocated a "time out" from similar trade agreements.
"My opponent has taken to attacking me on NAFTA. I've long been a critic of the shortcomings of NAFTA," Clinton said, noting that she wasn't in the Senate when the agreement was negotiated.