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Clinton urges supporters to ‘fight for our values’

Hillary Clinton urged her supporters on Wednesday night to persevere in the face of her shocking electoral loss, speaking in Washington at her first public appearance since she conceded the presidential election to Donald Trump last week.

“I know this isn’t easy, I know that over the last week a lot of people have asked themselves if America is the country we thought it was,” said the former secretary of state, bringing the midsize Newseum auditorium to a standstill with her emotional address that she capped off by imagining a conversation with her now-deceased mother. “Please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it. Our children are worth it. Believe in our country. Fight for our values. And never, ever give up.”

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“Please don’t lose heart, don’t give up on the values we share. Look at the young people we are honoring tonight. If they can persevere, so can all of us,” Clinton said at the celebration of the Children’s Defense Fund, the group for which she worked when she was just out of college — and the exact celebration she and former President Bill Clinton attended first among all others after his 1992 election to the presidency. “I ask you to stay engaged. Stay engaged at every level. We need you, America needs you. Your energy, your ambition, your talent. That’s how we get through this.”

Clinton didn’t mention the president-elect once during her roughly 20-minute speech, in which she thanked Children’s Defense Fund leader Marian Wright Edelman — one of Clinton’s mentors — extensively. But the ceremony was nonetheless politically poignant: Edelman introduced Clinton as the “people’s president” due to her victory in the popular vote of over 1 million votes, and members of Clinton’s campaign staff were strewn across the auditorium: her traveling press secretary, campaign videographer, press wrangler, trip director and two advance staffers among the bunch.

And Clinton herself quietly reflected on her past week, during which she has kept a low profile.

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“I will admit, coming here tonight wasn’t the easiest thing for me. There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do was curl up with a good book or our dogs, and never leave the house again,” she said, before invoking Martin Luther King, Jr. “The arc of the moral universe is long and it bends toward justice. Sometimes it can feel awfully long. Believe me, I know. But it does bend.”

Addressing a crowd of Children’s Defense Fund supporters, Clinton recollected her own work on behalf of young children and urged others to keep the issue front and center.

“I didn’t get into public service to hold high office. Forty-five years ago that would have seemed an absolute wrong-headed view. But I did decide to be an activist, to use my law degree, to help kids,” she said. “Despite the progress — and we have made progress under President Obama — more than 31 million children still live at or near poverty in America. And I hoped to have the opportunity to build upon the progress that President Obama has made, because I know we are stronger together when we are lifting each other up.”

“Make no mistake, there are poor children of every race and ethnicity … the measure of success must be how many children and families climb out of poverty and reach the middle class,” she said. “We have to ask ourselves, what are we doing to give them the safe and healthy lives they deserve?”

But as the former Democratic nominee spoke, her party was starting to try and move on without her. Across town on Wednesday night, her primary election opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders mapped out his vision for the future under Trump while hawking his new book.

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And as the doors opened to Clinton’s event, the song “Lean On Me” began playing, the sound of Bill Withers crooning, “Sometimes in our lives we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow” filling the room.

Before long, a young cellist played on stage to formally kick off the evening — a far cry from the saccharine campaign playlist that opened Clinton’s public appearances for the last two years.

Less than two miles away, Sanders was fielding — and avoiding — a question. About the 2020 election.

Source: POLITICO – TOP Stories

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