Hillary Clinton continued her early primary state tour Monday with the first of a two-day trip to New Hampshire where she continued her “conversations with Americans” tour. While she spoke mostly about education and job training, Clinton deflected a question about the release of a new book by conservative author Peter Schweizer that calls into question some donations to the Clinton foundation.
“It’s worth noting Republicans seem to be talking only about me and I don’t know what they’d talk about if I weren’t in the race,” Clinton said told reporters Monday. She is the only Democrat who has jumped in the presidential race and is the overwhelming front runner. “We’re back into the political season therefore we will be subjected to all kinds of distraction and attacks and I’m ready for that.”
Clinton stopped in Keene, NH where she held a roundtable with employees at a factory that makes early childhood learning toys and furniture. The location of the stop is meant to highlight one of the four pillars of her campaign – the economy with a focus on education.
“My whole adult life, both professionally and my volunteer work, has been around children and families,” Clinton told the Whitney Brothers employees.
Clinton’s trip to New Hampshire comes just one week after she announced her bid the presidency and days after her maiden trip to Iowa this election cycle.
Clinton said she’s “thrilled” to be in New Hampshire and reminisced about her first trip to the state in October of 1991 when her husband, Bill Clinton, began his presidential journey. She said she celebrated her birthday, which was her 44th, during that trip in Keene.
Clinton promoted the idea of universal pre-kindergarten, which is being adopted in some states. “Safety and stimulation are the two most important needs that little tiny babies need,” Clinton said.
She also spent a significant amount of time discussing higher education and job training programs with the employees who said it is difficult to find employees with the math qualifications to work at the company. She gave a nod to President Barack Obama’s proposal to offer free community college but said more needs to be done to incentivize people to get appropriate skills.
“We have to have more programs that are going to prepare more people,” Clinton said.
Before Clinton’s visit to the factory, she stopped at a bakery where she was greeted with applause, held a baby and spoke with patrons patrons. The press was allowed to watch her interactions with customers for about six minutes, according to pool reports.
Tuesday the former Secretary of State will tour the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord and talk with students and teachers.
- Leigh Ann Caldwell