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Heartland Democrat Klobuchar joins 2020 White House race

AFP  |  Minneapolis 

- Democrat has joined the 2020 race, adding a pragmatic voice from the heartland state of to an ever-growing field of contenders hoping to unseat US

In a speech that was almost a point-by-point rejection of the president's policies and of the country's toxic divides, she told supporters Sunday, "We are tired of the shutdowns and the showdowns, of the gridlock and the grandstanding."

"Enough is enough. Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity."

Klobuchar, the 58-year-old granddaughter of an iron miner, made the announcement before a heavily bundled-up crowd under gray and snowy skies in a park along the Mississippi River, as volunteers passed out handwarmers.

In a year when many Democrats say their top priority in a candidate is an ability to defeat Trump, Klobuchar's words seemed -- time after time, issue by issue -- to target the

She said that if elected she would return to the international climate treaty on "Day One"; she promised more stringent gun laws and set a target of universal health care; and she said must support its troops, diplomats and intelligence officers.

"They deserve better than foreign policy by tweet," she said.

has been visibly building a national profile. Crucially, she has proven popular even in the more Republican-friendly rural parts of her state. She won re-election in November by a resounding 24-point margin, carrying 1,200 precincts won by Trump in 2016.

A former with an unpretentious demeanour, she referred again and again in her speech to her roots in a region that prides itself on an ethic of honesty and hard work. But at odds with that image, her own work ethic has emerged as a focus of criticism in recent days.

Several former aides have been quoted saying she is difficult to work for, with bouts of "explosive rage" leading to exceptionally high staff turnover. Her defenders say she is simply someone who demands excellence, and that the allegations against her would not be made against a man.

Klobuchar, 58, pointedly wore neither hat nor gloves during her speech Sunday in bitterly cold weather, her brown hair and mustard-yellow coat gradually turning white with the accumulating snowfall.

"I don't have a political machine, I don't come from money, but what I do have is this," she said: "I have grit. I have family. I have friends. I have neighbours. I have all of you."

Republicans, with a poor record against Klobuchar, have tried nonetheless to blunt her announcement, portraying her as overly cautious and perhaps not up to a nationwide challenge.

"Nice is not going to work on a national stage," Jennifer Carnahan, of the state's Republican Party, told the newspaper.

While many of the high-profile Democrats already in the race are in the progressive lane -- liberal Senator formally declared her candidacy Saturday -- has quietly gained attention in as a centrist.

She is known for putting partisanship aside to pass legislation, something that has earned her a devoted following in Minnesota, and something American voters regularly tell pollsters they want.

"If you just go in your opposite corner of the ring, you never get anything done," she said on ABC's "The View" late last year.

"Courage is whether you're willing to stand next to someone you don't always agree with, for the betterment of this country."

In a historically diverse Democratic field, Klobuchar is the fifth woman to seek the nomination.

Senators of California, of and Warren of have all thrown their hat in the race, as has congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of

A number of male senators are either running (of New Jersey) or considering a run (of Vermont, Sherrod Brown of and of Oregon).

Former vice is known to be weighing a candidacy, and former has said he will announce his plans this month.

Klobuchar, the daughter of a journalist and a teacher, has a reputation as a fierce defender of the rights of the working class, consumers and women.

Her profile rose last year when she won plaudits for her cool-headed questioning of nominee in a hearing focusing on allegations of sexual abuse and drinking.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 05:15 IST