Jake Miller, CBS News
At her first explicitly political appearance since stepping down as
secretary of state in February, Hillary Clinton offered a rousing
endorsement of longtime family friend and Democratic Virginia
gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe Saturday, telling an audience in
Falls Church, Va., that McAuliffe will be a "24/7" governor who eschews
partisan warfare in favor of problem-solving.
curious twist - presumably a nod to Clinton's star power - it was
McAuliffe who introduced Clinton, not the other way around. Customarily,
the endorser introduces the candidate.
Clinton took the
stage to raucous applause and lavished praise on McAuliffe, who was the
co-chair of her 2008 presidential bid and a former key fundraiser for
her husband, former President Clinton, during his time in public office.
McAuliffe "has maybe the biggest heart and the most
open mind of anyone you'll ever meet," the former first lady and senator
said. "Terry has always been there for me, and I'm pleased to be here
In remarks that were aimed squarely at the dysfunction
in Washington, D.C., only miles from where she spoke, Clinton said she
hopes "the whole country is watching this election - watching to see
whether the voters of Virginia lead the way of turning from divisive
politics, getting back to common sense and common ground."
she added, are "watching to see if it's possible to move toward a new
economy that works for everyone and also provides good jobs with good
benefits for everyone and where equal work really does mean equal pay
"There are times when none of us can sit on the sidelines," she said, "and right now, here in Virginia, is one of those times."
evidence of McAuliffe's pragmatic approach, Clinton noted his support
for Republican incumbent Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan. "It
was the right thing to do," she said, despite the fact that it was not
proposed by a Democrat.
And McAuliffe's conciliatory style, Clinton said, should distinguish him from the viper's nest next door in Washington.
"Recently in Washington, unfortunately, we have seen examples of the
wrong kind of leadership - when politicians choose scorched earth over
common ground, when they operate in what I call the evidence-free zone,
with ideology trumping everything else," she said.
At the event, which was spearheaded by the group Women for Terry
McAuliffe and aimed to strengthen the Democrat's hold on the female
vote, Clinton also dwelt at length on women's equality, a cause that has
defined much of her time in the public eye. Although she did not
mention McAuliffe's opponent, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli,
by name, she warned that McAuliffe's loss could lead to a rolling back
of women's freedom in the commonwealth.
country is watching to see if the rights of women and girls will be
respected, especially over our own bodies and health care," Clinton
said. She noted that some have proposed restricting women's health-care
choices and banning common forms of birth control, but she added, "You
will not have to worry about that with Terry McAuliffe in the governor's
McAuliffe has led Cuccinelli by a healthy margin in recent polls,
his lead amplified by the government shutdown that diminished on the
national image of the Republican Party and seemed to drag down
Cuccinelli's candidacy with it. The general election will be held Nov.
Clinton is also expected to headline a fundraiser for McAuliffe in Los Angeles sometime over the next few weeks.
Saturday's event was ostensibly organized to support McAuliffe's
candidacy, it was clear based on the national media coverage of the
event that Hillary Clinton was the star of the show, and the enthusiasm
of the audience seemed to confirm as much.
At the outset
of her remarks, Clinton said, "I've been out of politics for a few years
now, and I've had a chance to think a lot about what makes our country
so great, what kind of leadership is required to keep it great."
Before she could finish her thought, an audience member's voice cut through the applause: "Yours!"