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Clinton says she would push problem-solving if she runs

February 25, 2015

SANTA CLARA, California (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that if she decides to seek the White House again she would try to encourage Republicans and Democrats to solve problems.

Clinton, the leading Democratic contender should she run, referred to her likely presidential campaign in hypothetical terms during an interview on stage at a women’s conference in Silicon Valley. But she said anyone who mounts a campaign for president in 2016 should make economic growth and restoring rising wages top priorities, along with rebuilding trust and cooperation.

Clinton has kept a low profile so far this year but is starting to take a more public approach as she heads toward her expected 2016 campaign for president. Polls show her with a commanding lead over other potential Democratic candidates such as Vice President Joe Biden. The Republican race is wide open with polls showing the leading potential candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, separated only by a few percentage points.

Even in the high-flying technology sector, Clinton said, many women struggle in the workplace with policies related to family leave and child care. She pointed to Oscar winner Patricia Arquette’s appeals for pay equity at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. “She’s right. It’s time to have wage equality once and for all,” Clinton said.

“In so many ways, our economy still seems to be operating like its 1955,” Clinton said. Describing a challenging economy for many workers, she said “wages no longer rise with productivity while CEO pay keeps going up” and the nation would need to find balance in the economy so all workers could benefit.

Following a month-long absence from the public stage, Clinton’s first U.S. speech of 2015 offered clues to how she might conduct a campaign. She didn’t say it, but Clinton’s approach would try to accomplish what President Barack Obama has been unable to achieve since his first-term passage of health care reform — breaking through the logjam of Washington gridlock to tackle America’s most pressing problems.

A spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Michael Short, dismissed Clinton’s comments. “It’s pretty laughable for Hillary Clinton to portray herself as a centrist when she voted with her party more than 96 percent of the time in the Senate and stood shoulder to shoulder with President Obama and his partisan, left-wing agenda,” he said in a statement.

Presidential politics was an undercurrent throughout her remarks and a question-and-answer session with Kara Swisher, the co-executive editor of technology media company Re/code. During her speech, the former secretary of state encouraged female technology executives to do more to help women grow in leadership.

Clinton did not specifically address whether she would support Obama’s proposed authorization in Congress to use military force against Islamic State militants. She said in the interview that “a lot of the right moves are being made, but this is a really complicated and long-term problem.”

The IS threat, Clinton said, is “a very hard challenge because you can’t very well put American or Western troops in to fight this organism.” She pointed to the U.S. need for military partners in Iraq and the Middle East.

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