Sen. Amy Klobuchar brought her Amy for America 2020 presidential campaign to her home state on Thursday, greeting about 75 enthusiastic supporters in Canal Park in Duluth.
Following a warm introduction from Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, Klobuchar spoke for 25 minutes, outlining her platform and addressing everything from President Donald Trump to her current polling in the field of 24 Democrats.
"We are number six right now in the early (primary) states in a poll from two weeks ago," Klobuchar said, not citing the poll. "In this field, I am ahead of 18 people."
The three-term U.S. Senator has been polling between 1-3 percent, and toggling between sixth and eighth in most Democratic presidential primary polls.
Fundraising envelopes lined the tables at Hoops Brewing Company, where Lee Cutler and Derrick Chamberlain sat front and center. Cutler dismissed Klobuchar's position in the polls, where she regularly falls in behind front-running Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and some others.
"The debates have not happened yet," Cutler said. "People have not heard her voice in a very crowded field. She's substance opposed to flash."
The first Democratic primary debates are June 26-27 in Miami.
"I'm supporting Amy because she's civil," Chamberlain said. "We need someone civil in the White House."
Klobuchar praised Duluth as a place where people can disagree politically but remain friends. She said President Trump fractures the country's sense of community with every tweet. She ripped the doctored video released last month that slowed down the speech of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make her appear discombobulated.
"It seems small; it's not small," Klobuchar said. "You have the president of the United States condoning that kind of fake news."
Klobuchar credited the current economy to "steady policies from a steady president" in Barack Obama, and said her focus is on "the challenges of our time." She ticked through those challenges by outlining her platform in five parts — developing a more highly skilled workforce, a path to citizenship for productive immigrants, universal healthcare, addressing climate change and confronting mental health and addiction.
Known for her toughness, Klobuchar got tough on the pharmacy companies which she said have two lobbyists for every member of Congress.
"They know me. They know my work. But they don't own me," she said, arguing to lift the ban that prevents Medicare from negotiating with prescription drug companies.
Projecting ahead to her first day in the Oval Office, Klobuchar said, "I will sign us back into the international climate change agreement" — referring to the Paris Agreement, which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of in 2017.
"I like her," Duluth dermatologist Pam Landsteiner said after it was over. "I like that she's not crazy left and more center — that resonates with me. I like that she's a woman from Minnesota. I like that she authentically cares about righting the ship."