Hillary Clinton returns to trail for struggling Hochul, slams GOP

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NEW YORK – Vice President Harris and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton joined forces Thursday to campaign for Gov. Kathy Hochul, focusing heavily on abortion rights as they seek to shore up Democrats in an unexpectedly difficult race against his Republican challenger, Representative Lee Zeldin .

The event was the first appearance of Clinton’s midterm candidates and underscored growing concerns among Democrats about Hochul’s race. The event was aimed at encouraging women to attend Hochul and was held by Barnard College, a women’s institution, aimed at encouraging women.

Clinton criticized Zeldin along with other Republicans, when he attacked Kari Lake, the Republican nominee in Arizona, for making fun of the violent attack of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in his home. The speakers often drew attention to the issue of abortion rights.

“Don’t take it for granted, because I heard my opponent say, ‘Oh, don’t worry. The day after the Dobbs decision nothing has changed in the state of New York. So don’t worry,’” Hochul said, talking about protecting abortion rights and referring to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Rua v. Wade in June. “You know why nothing has changed in New York state? Because I am the governor.”

Although Democrats across the country have taken a hard line against abortion since the high court overturned the decision that ended the constitutional right to the procedure, some in the party have said that fear of losing the right to abortion is shaping up to be a no less motivating factor. blue states like New York, because of the protections that already exist and a state government led by Democrats committed to preserving it.

In interviews with the Washington Post, some students who attended the event said they were worried about how Democrats would fare in the midterms, and noted a relative lack of enthusiasm among their peers. with previous elections.

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Mia Davidson, a Columbia University student, noted a rise in anger among young voters after the Dobbs decision but said that the energy has fallen as Election Day approaches.

“I think that enthusiasm has gone and I don’t know that the Democratic Party has done much to keep young people engaged, but at the same time, some of that is about us, we sometimes chose not to be,” she said. .

Hochul’s struggle comes as Democratic congressional candidates in New York and other blue states also struggle, forcing party leaders to devote time and resources to some races that didn’t seem so favorable to Republicans earlier this year.

Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, echoed Hochul’s pitch in her remarks, urging Republicans to care about abortion rights and trying to tie Zeldin to former president Donald Trump, who supports the GOP challenger.

“Of course they want to reverse abortion, they’ve spent 50 years trying to achieve that,” Clinton said, referring to Republicans. “But they want to roll back women’s rights in general, civil rights, voting rights, gay rights. They are determined to control who we are, how we feel and believe and act, in ways that I thought had long been left behind.”

Hochul is the first woman to serve as governor of New York. She was lieutenant governor, and took office after Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo resigned last year. Clinton emphasized the historic nature of Hochul’s tenure in the state’s top job.

“I appreciate the way she’s bringing new leadership and stability and new hope for our future to New York, and I think it’s about time since this was the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement,” Clinton said.

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Harris criticized Republican efforts to restrict access to abortion and ran through a list of Democratic accomplishments with the Biden administration.

Democratic women in New York’s political leadership who spoke at the event emphasized the need for voters to vote for Hochul and not take the election because of such. Some recent polls show Hochul ahead of Zeldin, but by single digits in a state that generally leans heavily toward Democrats.

Zeldin praised Dobbs’ decision, but has also said it would not change New York law. In a campaign ad released last month he said, “As governor, I will not and could not change New York’s abortion law.”

The Republican focused on a rise in crime in the state – an issue Republicans have highlighted elsewhere across the country. Clinton responded in her remarks, accusing the GOP of scaring him.

“I also have to show that I have seen, and I’m sure that if you do – maybe you don’t watch TV – but if you did, you would see what I see, which are advertisements about A crime every 30 seconds, right? There is no solution, just lots of scary, scary pictures and scary music,” Clinton said.

She referred to the attack on Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, who attacked an intruder with a hammer last week, while criticizing the response of some Republicans such as Lake, who tried to turn the attack into a punishment. (“Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection when she’s in D.C. — her house doesn’t seem to have much protection,” Lake said recently.)

“An intruder hits an 82-year-old man in the head with a hammer, who happens to be married to the speaker of the House, and the Republicans make fun of him. The woman running for governor in Arizona makes fun of him,” Clinton said. “Now why would any sane person want to empower someone who thinks it’s funny to attack someone in their own home? So you know, they care about keeping you safe. They want to keep you scared, so you can’t think straight.”

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Echoing other Democrats, the speakers here also cast Republicans as a threat to Social Security and Medicare. And Hochul made a direct appeal to young voters at one point, saying, “I want you to feel the weight on your shoulders as you march out of here. With that determination, everyone who came before us had the guts and courage to give us this gift.”

Emma Sherman-Hawver, a Columbia student attending the event, said she was glad Clinton held an event for Hochul, noting her state ties.

“I think if she can play it strategically, it helps a lot,” Sherman-Hawver said. “Obviously there are places in the country that maybe aren’t as supportive, but I think it’s like here if you go anywhere, I think it’s a very good choice that she came here.”

But Jack Lobel, another Columbia student and spokesman for the Gen Z-focused group Voters of Tomorrow, said Democrats need to put more work into their outreach to young voters.

“It’s unreasonable for Democrats to expect young people to turn out but then they don’t put money into outreach, they don’t put effort and time,” Lobel said. “Gen Z seems to be the only people targeted for Gen Z outreach, and that’s really not going to be sustainable if Democrats want to keep winning in the future.”

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