Amy Klobuchar on Principles & Values

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Father was a popular columnist at Minneapolis Star Tribune

Three-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar opens her 2024 reelection year in an enviable position for an incumbent because she has no formidable Republican opponent. The election isn't until November so there's still time, but a raft of reasons make it unlikely this race will ramp up. Klobuchar had $4 million remaining on hand [in her campaign warchest] as of last fall.

Klobuchar has been a heavy hitter from the beginning, owing in part to the goodwill attached to her name. Her late father, Jim Klobuchar, was a longtime columnist at The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Republicans would like to find a solid opponent with mainstream views. "What we need to avoid is hurtful unforced errors on the down ballot," [a GOP spokesperson] said. Absent a solid candidate, she said the party's better off not challenging Klobuchar.

In 2018, Klobuchar's last reelection campaign, she won all eight Minnesota congressional districts, beating Republican state Rep. Jim Newberger 60% to 36%.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune on 2024 Minnesota Senate race , Jan 13, 2024

A passion for political compromise

Klobuchar's theory seems to be that the polarization of the United States is overstated and that there's a middle ground to recapture, powered by distaste for the other options on offer. "If you are tired of the extremes in our politics, of the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me," Klobuchar said in New Hampshire. If there's a base out there with a passion for political compromise, she'll find it.
Source: Slate e-zine on 2020 Veepstakes , Feb 22, 2020

Will bring rural and suburban voters together to win

I think the path is a high voter turnout. I'm the one on this stage that had the highest voter turnout of any state in the country when I led the ticket, as well as bringing in rural and suburban voters. I'm the only one with the receipts to have done that in Republican congressional districts over and over again.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada , Feb 19, 2020

Need a president with heart, unlike Trump

You need someone that has the heart to be the president. They were talking a lot about heart conditions up here. We have a president that doesn't have a heart. I love the people of this country. I ask for the vote of the people of Nevada, because this state gets it. They get that maybe you don't agree with every single thing that's said on this debate stage, but we understand that the heart of America is bigger than any heart that guy has in the White House.
Source: 9th Democrat 2020 primary debate, in Las Vegas Nevada , Feb 19, 2020

Watching president speak used to be important for citizens

I remember the old days, you look about being proud to be an American. You remember--I do--when my parents would put the TV on because the president was giving an address. And it might not be a president that they had voted for or even terribly liked, but they felt it was important to watch because they wanted to know what the president was saying, because they wanted to, as a citizen, understand that.
Source: CNN Town Hall on eve of 2020 S. C. primary , Feb 18, 2020

OpEd: Reputation for screaming & demeaning staff

Klobuchar developed a reputation for the consistent and extreme abuse of her staff. Her rages "regularly left employees in tears," BuzzFeed News reported. Former staffers say she screamed at them, demeaned them, threw objects at them. Before she revised it, her parental-leave policy forced new parents to "remain with the office for three times as many weeks as they had been gone," sources told the New York Times.
Source: WorldNetDaily blog on 2020 Veepstakes , Feb 14, 2020

President focusing on personal interests risks democracy

Q: You've said that you support the impeachment inquiry but you want to wait for a Senate trial to hear the evidence and make a decision about convicting the president?

KLOBUCHAR: I have made it very clear that this is impeachable conduct and I've called for an impeachment proceeding. I just believe our job as jurors is to look at each count and make a decision. But let me make very clear that what this impeachment proceeding about is really our democracy at stake. This is a president that not only with regard to his conduct with Ukraine, but every step of the way puts his own private interests, his own partisan interests, his own political interests in front of our country's interest, and this is wrong. This is a pattern with this man. And it goes to everything from how he has betrayed our farmers, to sucking up to Vladimir Putin every minute of the day. That is what this guy does. And I think it is very, very important that we have a president that's going to put our country first.

Source: November Democratic primary debate, on impeaching Trump , Nov 20, 2019

This election is a value, decency, and patriotism check

I want us to remember that I have bold ideas. But this is also a patriotism check, a value check, a decency check. And when you look at the people that turned out in Kentucky and turned out in Virginia, people turned out that didn't vote in 2016, African-Americans are turning out like we didn't see before. Let's get those independents and moderate Republicans who cannot stomach this guy anymore. This is how we build a coalition, so we don't just beat Donald Trump.
Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta , Nov 20, 2019

Trump's actions make Russia great again, not America

I'm waiting to find out how making that call to the head of Ukraine and trying to get him involved in interfering in our election makes America great again. I'd like to hear how leaving the Kurds for slaughter, where Russia then steps in to protect them, makes America great again. I would like to hear from him about how coddling up to Vladimir Putin makes America great again. It doesn't make America great again, it makes Russia great again. That is what this President has done.
Source: October Democratic Primary debate on impeaching Trump , Oct 15, 2019

What unites us is bigger than what divides us

While we have had major debates about policy, we have to remember that what unites us is so much bigger than what divides us. And we have to remember that our job is to not just change policy, but to change the tone in our politics, to look up from our phones, to look at each other, to start talking to each other.
Source: October Democratic CNN/NYTimes Primary debate , Oct 15, 2019

I'm the street-fighter from the Iron Range

KLOBUCHAR: I stand before you today as a granddaughter of an iron ore miner, as the first woman elected to the Senate from Minnesota. Yes, I have bold ideas, but they are grounded in reality.

Sen. Elizabeth WARREN: We're not going to solve the urgent problems that we face with small ideas and spinelessness.

Q: Is Senator Warren correct? For example, Medicare-for-All: do you just not lack the will to fight for it?

KLOBUCHAR: That is incorrect. I just have a better way to do this. In one of my first debates, I was called a street fighter from the Iron Range by my opponent. And when she said it, I said thank you. So this is what I think we need to get done. We need the public option. That's what Barack Obama wanted, and it would bring health care costs down for everyone.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

I passed over 100 bills because I listen and I act

I listen to people and that's how I get things done. That is my focus. I have a track record of passing over 100 bills where I'm the lead Democrat. And that is because I listened and I acted. And I think that's important in a president. Everything else just melts away. I am not the establishment party candidate. But I can promise you this. I am going to govern with integrity.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Heartland Amy: an experienced bipartisan pragmatist

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota defended her presidential candidacy as one that could appeal to both moderate and liberal voters, calling herself a "proven progressive" and casting her record as one of bipartisan accomplishment. Ms. Klobuchar described herself as "Heartland Amy," an experienced pragmatist who could win over independent voters and, if elected, work with Republicans to break the gridlock in Washington.

While she is hardly a conservative, Ms. Klobuchar has distinguished herself in the campaign by breaking from the new liberal orthodoxy that has dominated the primary. She does not favor a "Medicare for all" health care system, preferring a more graduated approach; she has called the Green New Deal "aspirational"; and she has said the country cannot afford to fund free tuition for students at public colleges and universities. Ms. Klobuchar said she backed legal marijuana, but would leave the decision to individual states rather than endorsing federal legalization.

Source: New York Times on 2019-2020 Fox News Town Halls , May 8, 2019

Hold president accountable with investigations & election

The most-important thing is to hold this president accountable. There are many ways to do that. One is with the process through Congress, which includes these investigations, which the president is already stonewalling. The second is other investigations that are going on right now, including in the state of New York. And the third is pretty straightforward. That is defeating him in 2020. And that's what I intend to do and will do.
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview of 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 28, 2019

Minnesota Nice: reliable, calm, aw-shucks bipartisanship

[In 2016], Klobuchar coasted to a third Senate term, clobbering her Republican opponent with 60 percent of the vote in a state that President Trump nearly won in 2016. Now Minnesota's most popular politician is weighing whether her home state appeal-- forged through carefully cultivated bipartisanship in Washington & an aw-shucks-I'm-just-like-you persona--will translate on a national stage.

As Democrats look ahead to 2020, do they need a calm, reasoned, reliable (but not flashy) Democrat from the American heartland to provide a stark contrast to the president--in short, Amy Klobuchar?

"I don't agree with, 'When they go low, we go low,' but I do agree that when they go low, we have to respond," Klobuchar said, referring to the intraparty debate over Michelle Obama's 2016 mantra: "When they go low, we go high."

"But," she went on, "responding doesn't mean just going down a rabbit hole everywhere Donald Trump goes. I don't think we want to tweet caustic comments every morning."

Source: NY Times on 2020 Democratic primary , Nov 26, 2018

Nicknamed "The Senator of Small Things," but some are big

In the Senate, Ms. Klobuchar is not in the forefront on divisive issues like immigration, but she has led efforts to curb the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, expand voting rights, address sexual harassment and protect online privacy after revelations of Facebook's data mining.

Early in her tenure, she carved out a niche in consumer protection, shepherding passage of bipartisan bills to ban lead in toys and improve swimming pool safety after several highly publicized child deaths, measures that Republican strategists in Minnesota said have earned Ms. Klobuchar a derisive nickname: "The Senator of Small Things."

Ms. Klobuchar has heard the "small things" criticism, and resents it. "Not for a minute do I view these as small things," she said sharply. "They're big things for the people whose kids' lives were saved."

Source: NY Times on 2020 Democratic primary , Nov 26, 2018

Minnesota Nice: Disagree without being disagreeable

Outwardly, Ms. Klobuchar is the embodiment of "Minnesota nice"--polite and intent on being able to "disagree without being disagreeable," as she wrote in her 2015 memoir, "The Senator Next Door." In an era of Twitter rants and senatorial showboats, she is the worker bee in the background, tallying up how many of her bills get signed into law: 24, she said, since Mr. Trump became president.

Although she is hardly a centrist, Ms. Klobuchar departs from progressive orthodoxy on several fronts.

She has not signed onto Mr. Sanders's single-payer health care bill, commonly called Medicare for All; she said it "should be considered," but prefers "a sensible transition" such as allowing people to buy into Medicare, or expanding it to cover those 55 and older. Her push to make college more affordable is not as expansive as the left would like. While she has denounced Mr. Trump's border policies, she has not joined the movement to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Source: NY Times on Klobuchar's "Senator_Next_Door" , Nov 26, 2018

From Slovenian immigrants; "Klobuchar" means "hatmaker"

The immigrant experience was central to my dad's life, His grandparents on both sides came to this country from Slovenia--a small country surrounded by Austria, Italy, Croatia, and Hungary--around the turn of the last century. Like so many others from that part of the world, they made their way to Minnesota to work in the underground mines. Klobuchar means "hatmaker" in Slovene, indicating that at some point in centuries past, my ancestors were in the haberdashery business.

Back in the old country, Slovenians worked as miners and farmers and woodworkers. But for my ancestors, America brought the promise not only of steady work but of better lives for their children. In America, the Austrians (who, for centuries, ruled Slovenia as part of the Hapsburg Dynasty) would no longer be able to tell them which of their kids could go to school. In America, they would be paying taxes to THEIR country, not foreign monarchs, and every child would get a good education.

Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p. 18-9 , Aug 24, 2015

Voted with Democratic Party 94.1% of 324 votes.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), was scored by the Washington Post on the percentage of votes on which a lawmaker agrees with the position taken by a majority of his or her party members. The scores do not include missed votes. Their summary:
Voted with Democratic Party 94.1% of 324 votes.
Overall, Democrats voted with their party 88.4% of the time, and Republicans voted with their party 81.7% of the time (votes Jan. 8 through Sept. 8, 2007).
Source: Washington Post, "Congress Votes Database" on 2008 election , Sep 8, 2007

This election is about change; crowd in charge won’t do it

Whoever I talk to, they say the same thing. They’re tired of these gas prices. They’re tired of health care premiums up 60% in just the last 6 years. They want fiscal responsibility in Washington. And they want a change of course in Iraq. That’s not going to happen with this crowd in charge. I believe this election is about change, and together we can do it.
Source: Minnesota 2006 3-way Senate Debate, sponsored by LWV , Oct 30, 2006

Question Trump on Emoluments clause.

Klobuchar signed questioning Trump on Emoluments clause

Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to Trump Organization: The Trump Organization`s continuing financial relationship with President Trump raises concerns about whether it is a pass-through for income that violates the Constitution`s two Emoluments Clauses: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 on foreign Emoluments; and Article II, Clause 7 on domestic Emoluments. Please answer the following questions to help Congress understand:

Legal Analysis: (Cato Institute, `Emoluments Clause vs. Trump Empire,` 11/29/16): The wording of the Emoluments clause points one way to resolution: Congress can give consent, as it did in the early years of the Republic to presents received by Ben Franklin. It can decide what it is willing to live with in the way of Trump conflicts. If it misjudges public opinion, it will pay a political price at the next election.

FOIA argument: (ACLU Center for Democracy, `FOIA Request,` 1/19/17): We filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump`s conflicts of interest relating to his business connections. When Trump took the oath of office, he didn`t take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family`s business interests comply with the Constitution. Some have even argued that upon taking the oath of office, the new president is already violating the Emoluments Clause.

Source: Letter from 17 Senators 17LTR-EMOL on May 18, 2017

Certify 2020 Presidential election as fully & fairly counted.

Klobuchar voted NAY blocking certification of the Electoral vote

Explanation of 1/6/21 Electoral Certification, by Emily Brooks, Washington Examiner:Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar led an objection to counting Electoral College votes from the state of Arizona, the first formal objection to state results in a series of moves that will delay the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election over President Trump. Cruz is advocating for an `emergency 10-day audit` of election returns in disputed states. The usually ceremonial joint session of Congress that convenes to count and accept Electoral College votes will be put on hold as the House and Senate separately debate the objection.