Campaigning Hillary Clinton says economy has ‘stalled out’

By LISA LERER
Associated Press

KEENE, N.H. (AP) — Road tripping for her presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton offered a dark assessment of a “stalled out” U.S. economy Monday, a judgment at odds with President Barack Obama’s brighter view of what the nation has achieved on his watch.

Clinton toured a wood furniture factory in Keene in her first visit to the early primary state since she launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

As in Iowa last week, Clinton was highlighting the struggles of “everyday Americans,” even if her remarks undercut the message of fellow Democrat Obama.

Clinton said she came from a small-business family and the country must do more to help entrepreneurs. “It’s not enough just to tread water,” she said.

On a separate topic, she dismissed swirling questions about her family foundation as “distractions and attacks.” She was asked about allegations in an upcoming book that foreign governments that made donations to the Clinton family charity received favorable treatment from the State Department while she served in the Obama administration.

“I’m ready for that,” she told reporters. “I know that that comes, unfortunately, with the territory.”

Clinton was asked about Peter Schweizer’s book, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” The book argues that Hillary and Bill Clinton got speaking fees and donations in return for favors to various foreign interests doled out by Clinton’s government office.

In response, Clinton said Republican presidential candidates should “get onto the issues” rather than “talking only about me.”

As in Iowa, Clinton is forgoing the packed rallies that marked her 2008 presidential campaign and focusing on smaller roundtable events with supporters. She again traveled from her New York home in a van nicknamed Scooby, though not nearly as far as the Iowa trip.

She arrived in the pouring rain Monday for a stop at a bakery in the liberal enclave of Keene, where she signed “I love you” to a deaf server while visiting patrons.

Later she visited employees of Whitney Brothers Inc., the furniture maker, and she will appear at a roundtable event on Tuesday with students and teachers at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.

Clinton, who lost the 2008 Democratic nomination to Obama, came to New Hampshire this time as the party’s leading candidate and so far faces little opposition. Nevertheless, her campaign is determined to show early-state voters that she is taking nothing for granted.

A win in New Hampshire salvaged Clinton’s campaign in 2008 after a third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses and propelled her into a months-long battle for the nomination finally won by then-Sen. Obama.