Chelsea Clinton

Campaigning in New Hampshire- Jan. 12, 2016

Chelsea Clinton
January 12, 2016— Manchester, New Hampshire
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That was amazing! Katie, thank you so much for that very energetic welcome! Thank all of you for coming out, to spend time with us today, with me, with Katie, with the amazing team that is supporting my mom, here in New Hampshire.

I want to thank everyone who helped organize this event, I want to thank the Millyard Museum for letting us invade their space today. I certainly hope that I can come back and actually see more than just the exhibits, I had to quickly walk by them on my way to the restroom and then back to the event just now. So, I'm inviting myself back, I hope that's okay.

I also want to thank Chris Pappas, Lou D'Allesandro, Donna Sussi for being with us, and for all of you for just taking time today to hear about why I so strongly support my mom. That's no surprise, there we're lots of smiles, even chuckles when I just said that, and I am an incredibly, fiercely proud daughter.

I so strongly support my mom in this election though for 2 fundamental reasons. It's the first Presidential election that I will vote in as a mom. I have a daughter, Charlotte, who is 15 months old, I have another child on the way, so if I have to sit down on this strategically placed stool at some point, please know that's only a comment on how my belly is feeling, not you.

The second reason I so strongly support my mom is that I do believe this is the most important election of my life. I see some of you nodding your heads, so I think that's not an uncommon feeling. This is truly an existential moment for our country, and for the country that we want to be. The country that we want our children and our grandchildren, those that exist, and those in the future, to grow up in, to grow old in, to have the opportunities that stretch the limit of their imagination and their potential. Truly everything is at question in this election, at least that I care about.

Whether that's investments in early childhood education, a woman's right to choose, protecting and expanding the affordable care act, honoring our veterans for their service, keeping our country safe, everything is being contested. So I hope what we can do for a little bit today, is talk about some of the issues that are really on your minds, and in your hearts. Because I hope that I can either help to persuade you to support my mom, kind of through my enthusiasm, but also through my answers, or to help you advocate through your family, your friends, your colleagues, who might still be sitting on the fence about whether or not this election is important, or whether or not to support my mom.

So I hope that you will ask questions, I also, clearly, am not very shy, so if you don't ask questions, I will just pick issues and start talking about them or tell personal stories about my mom as my mom, or my mom as Charlotte's grandmother. I would prefer to talk about what you care about, what you're focused on, what you're hearing from your family and friends as being most crucial in this most important election. So please, are there any questions? Yes ma'am.

QUESTION: inaudible

CLINTON: I don't, but if you see Katie who is standing right there, and you give us your information, we'll get an answer to you. So, I'm sorry I can't answer that right now, but I promise we will get an answer to you. Great, thank you. Other questions? Yes sir.

QUESTION: inaudible

CLINTON: Sure, so I think there's actually a few questions in there. Admittedly, Rush Limbaugh said some not very nice things about me when I was 12 years old, so I have a hard time taking him seriously. Because I think that anytime a grown-up attacks a child that says a lot more about the grown-up than it does about the child, or anything else. So, I am incredibly proud of [inaudible] foundations and charities in the world, than some of the people that you talked about. Today I am here to talk about my mom, and why I believe that she should be our next President. And one of the reasons that I so strongly believe that, is when I had the chance to talk about earlier today in Concord, which is her lifelong commitment to early learning and early childhood.

This actually relates to your question sir, when my mom got out of Law School, her first job was with the Children's Defense Fund. The premiere advocacy organization for children under the leadership of Mary Wright Edelman, who remains one of my all-time heroes. My mom went to work for the Children's Defense Fund to fight for the right of disabled children to have the same opportunities of high quality public education, as any child. Because when she did that work, it wasn't the law or the expected standard and norm in our country. That started before I was born.

One of my earliest memories is listening to my mom talk about her efforts to bring something called HIPPY to Arkansas. HIPPY is a program that works with parents to help parents prepare their children to succeed in preschool and pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. She started doing that more than 30 years ago, and then when she worked with the Clinton Foundation, one of her main initiatives was something called "too small to fail". An effort working in partnership with a lot of different foundations across the country, to close the word gap. The 30 million more words that a 4-year-old from a two income household will have heard, than a child from a single parent low income household.

So that consistent commitment is something that I so respect, because my mom never gives up. She continues to fight, whether it's through an NGO, or through government, for the world she wants to see for every child, including Charlotte. But all the little kids that Charlotte will grow up alongside, will work alongside, will go to school alongside, in her life. So I'm very proud of the work that we got to do together at the Clinton Foundation, and the work that I now get to do as part of her legacy every day. So thank you.

QUESTION: So I know we all loved Bill Clinton's presidency…

CLINTON: Were you even alive when my dad was president?

QUESTION: I was alive for part of it.

CLINTON: I'll tell him he even had a fan in a preschooler, he'll be really excited about that. [Laughter]

QUESTION: But I know Hillary at the same time is her own woman. So I wanted to ask, what are some of the similar measures that Hillary plans to carry over from Bill's presidency, and what is some of the fresh prospective and measures that Hillary wants to implement that maybe weren't as prevalent in the 1990's.

CLINTON: Well one of the things that my mom fought really hard for, at the beginning of my dad's presidency, so probably before you were born, was universal healthcare coverage. Which was actually probably even less popular then than it is today, if you can imagine that, but that's true. And when Universal Healthcare coverage didn't succeed, my mom refocused her efforts on something called the children's health insurance program, which still exists today, and is the mechanism that helps provide healthcare coverage for millions of children from low income families. So I think that's a good indication of what she will continue to do. Continue to focus on what we need to do to both protect all our children, as well as clearly provide opportunities for all our children. So when you ask about similarities, I think that's a big one.

I think that's also an important story because it's something my mom managed to get done in a bipartisan way. So although most of the people who supported what's known as the CHIP Program were democrats, not all were, some were republicans. So I think that's important because we have a divided congress, and we need someone who both knows when to very much stand her ground, but also when common ground is possible, and when we should be looking to work across the aisle. And early childhood education is another example of where that might be possible.

So I think that's kind of a continuation of the answer of what would be similar, but also different. Because it wasn't something that she was able to get done in a meaningful way, as first lady, but she did start something called the Early Head Start Child Partnership Program. So what she said is that she wants to double funding for Early Head Start, double funding for the Early Head Start Child Partnership Program, as well as make prekindergarten fully universal across our country within a decade.

Today there are debates happening at the statehouse not that far away, about even getting universal full day kindergarten in New Hampshire. And New Hampshire is the only state to not yet have that. So my mom fully supports the governor's efforts to bring New Hampshire up to where the rest of the country is, having universal full day kindergarten, but also then moving to have pre-kindergarten and early head start programs. Because we know that 80% of our brains are formed by the time that we're 3, so we have to invest in our children early. That's not only the right thing to do from an equity standpoint, it's also the right thing to do from an economic standpoint, for people today but also for our future.

So I hope that answers your question, and I can't wait to tell my dad that he had a 2 or 3 year old fan. Yes sir.

QUESTION: My question is, what would your father's role be in the White House?

CLINTON: Well we have a long way to go between now and then, and we don't take anything for granted. I'm going to talk to as many people as I can today and on future trips to New Hampshire, and I know that my dad has been here and will be back talking about why he so strongly supports my mom, and why he continues to say why he thinks she is more qualified to be our President right now than he would be. So we're very focused on that.

I hope we have the chance to figure that out. As my mom said, if we are so lucky to be in that position, and I couldn't imagine a more lucky position, to know my mom would be our next President, there's probably some of the things that she would still do that have traditionally been the first ladies domain, but I have no doubt that my dad would still play an important role. So we'll see. Yes ma'am.

QUESTION: I wanted to let all the folks in this audience know that in the 1950's, the orphanage right here in town, called St. Peters orphanage, I was 5 years old, and I didn't have a voice. There was no Social Services, no social worker, and no one watching over the nuns that had complete care of us. Suffice it to say, there wasn't ever one pleasant thing that happened to me in this orphanage. Your mother would have been my voice, at the age of 5 when I didn't have a voice. I want people to know that she has devoted her entire life to children and children's issues, for someone like me who didn't have a voice. Now that I have a voice, I speak up for Hillary Clinton, and I think people should understand the compassion that she shows for children and that she has done since she has been out of law school. And that has never left her. And I want people that are on the fence, to think about the compassion and the humanity that your mother has. And that's what I need to say, that I was a victim in this orphanage, and she would have been my voice in the 1950's. I'm very near her age and I will never forget that she worked for the Children's Defense Fund instead of getting a job making big bucks at a law firm, she went to work for people like me. And I will never forget it. [Applause].

CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you for sharing your story. In the hat, yes ma'am.

QUESTION: I am an American unionist, and as some of you all may or may not know, there's a Fredrickson case that is going on and being considered by the Supreme Court which could possibly take out unions across this country, which have built this nation. I want to know what Hillary's plans are to rebuild if there is a bad decision that comes down from the Supreme Court. We already have some congressmen on the other side of the isle, some legislators who have tasked and set out to destroy unions in this country, I just want to know what her position is on that case, and what she is poised to do if the Supreme Court rules unfavorably for labor.

CLINTON: Well thank you, and yes the Supreme Court heard our arguments yesterday, and as I'm sure you saw yesterday, my mother certainly came out strongly and said that she hoped the Supreme Court did not rule unfavorably. So I do think that we have to wait and see how the Supreme Court will rule, and if the Supreme Court does rule unfavorably, then quickly to consider two parallel tracks, which I know is also what President Obama and the Obama administration have talked about. You know, what could be done from an executive action standpoint to continue to support all federal workers, but all workers who work for contractors that are unionized. So what really would very much be under the federal government's domain that the President could directly and immediately affect in terms of wage protection and collective bargaining protection, prerogatives, for example?

The second is what we should be looking at then, from a legislative prospective, although that might be more challenging, in the current legislative environment, in total candor, it's important that we do have a strategy. So very much, my mother as do I strongly support what the president and the White House have indicated, although they too have very much said that we all have to wait and see, how the Supreme Court will rule. But we certainly have to be prepared for what the White House could do under President Obama's administration, or certainly, if need be, then hopefully under my mother's administration, but then what should we be pushing for at a congressional level as well. Thank you very much. Yes ma'am in the red jacket, or vest.

QUESTION: Chelsea, I worked for your mom in the Senate for 2 years, and I worked on her 08' campaign, I'm here, I teach at Miss Porter School in Connecticut, we come up for the week to work for your mom and the White House, those are some of our students on stage with you. One of the things we have been discussing in preparation for coming up here is that young people are very excited by Bernie Sanders. So I was wondering if there was maybe one major talking point that you could give our girls in prep, or others in this room, as to why people should be thinking about your mom, and why it would be important for them to get excited about her.

CLINTON: I think we have to take a step back. So let me answer the larger question and then I will answer your specific question. How to we ensure that young people feel engaged in the political process. Because right now we know even more young people do not feel engaged in the political process, which is why my mom has come out so strongly for automatic voter registration at 18 that people could opt out of, that would be automatic. We certainly can figure out how to do that, we send people social security cards and Medicare cards when they turn 65. We will be able to absolutely figure out how to send every American voter registration when they turn 18.

That is hugely important for a couple of reasons. One, I think it says to young people, you are part of this process. That your voice matters. Your vote matters. And second, we know that registration is the greatest predictor of whether someone will vote. Right? Not whether it's raining or snowing on Election Day, not how far someone lives from the polling station, not even whose running in a given election, it's whether or not someone is registered. Now we don't have lots of young people showing up to register.

Actually kind of the big question is a super important one, is, how do we until hopefully we get to automatic voter registration, make registration easier for young people. Get registration into high schools, into colleges, into community colleges, into work environments where there are disproportionate young people working, and how do we make voting easier. Right now voting has gotten harder in our country, not easier.

Which is one of the reasons that my mom has come out universal early voting, for 20 days before an election day, so that we hopefully make registration a lot easier by making it automatic, but hopefully we make voting easier as well to help encourage as many people as possible to participate in the political process. This is crucially important for young people. So I know that wasn't your exact question, but that really important to say.

Because someone who's a Democrat with a "big D," I'm also a democrat with a little d. I think as many people that we can get engaged in the process, as early on that we can get people engaged in their life, to activist citizens and voters, the better off we'll all be.

The second question, I think, very much has to be an individual answer. I don't think that many people think in generalities. Most of us think in specifics. I'm now a mom, I see everything through the prism of my daughter, and my future daughter or son. So for young people, I think, those of us who are parents, older people, we probably care about a lot of things, but we probably care most about a few specific things. So I would urge you and your students, or anyone who is supporting my mom, to root those conversations in specifics. So whether it's about early childhood, my mom just has a longer and more robust record on that issue than anyone running on either side of the aisle.

I think that's important because what people have done in the past say a lot about what they're going to prioritize, and fight for, in the future. I think healthcare is a good example in this arena. I never thought we would be arguing about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare in the democratic primary. Senator Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance.

Now the Republicans in Congress have voted against the Affordable Care Act, 55 times. Not because they want to replace it with something, but because they want to get rid of it. So I worry that if we give Republicans, Democratic permission to do that, we'll go back to an era before we had the Affordable Care Act. That will strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance. Senator Sanders wants to devolve the authority to set up state health insurance programs to individual state governors. Maybe if I lived in a place like New Hampshire with your Governor, I would feel okay about that. But if I lived in a state that had a Republican Governor, particularly a Republican Governor that already turned down Medicaid Expansion matching funds, I don't think I would be comfortable. I don't want to live in a country that has an unequal healthcare system again.

So I don't want to empower Republican Governors to take away Medicaid, to take away health insurance for low income and middle income working Americans. I think that's very much what Senator Sanders plan would do. So I think we need to protect the Affordable Care Act, while we look to actually expand the Affordable Care Act and make insurance even more affordable, and available. Not go back to where we were before President Obama's administration.

QUESTION: So I have a little bit more of a personal question. So as a young woman who is looking into the future, I want to be able to be a great mom at home, and a successful woman in the workplace, so as a new mom and as someone who has grown up under someone who has to balance both of those demands really effectively, is there any advice that you would give women who have the same dreams that I do.

CLINTON: Well one of the reasons that I respect my mother so much is that I always saw how hard she worked, yet I never doubted that I was the most important person in the world to her. So I saw how hard she worked partly because she shared her work with me. She talked about why she had to work as hard as she did during the weekdays and why she had to go to the office on the weekends. Whether that was because of the HIPPI program, or what she was doing to help bring the first microfinance agricultural credit program to support small farmers to Arkansas in the 1980's, or a case that she was arguing as a lawyer.

We had these conversations over family dinner, which was sacred in my family, so even if my mom or my dad had to go back to work afterwards, which was easier when we were living in The White House, and back to work was literally just next door, it was harder when we lived in Arkansas and they had to get in a car and drive to work, but they still did that. They still would come home so we had dinner together even if one of them had work after dinner.

Sundays were equally sacred family time. We went to church together, we had lunch together on Sundays after church, and then we would often do a family activity together, Sunday afternoon. Sometimes a service project. Sometimes we would have what we called "family adventures," and I was actually thinking about this yesterday because I once read this book, I was talking to librarians yesterday so I was thinking of kind of books that had impacts on me as a kid, and I once read this book and I learned about coconuts, and we didn't have coconuts in Arkansas, so I was just so curious about what a coconut was. And we drove to the grocery store and got a coconut, and we took them home, and we couldn't figure out how to open them. So I have this memory of Sunday afternoon, slamming coconuts down on our driveway. And that still didn't work, so my dad got out a hammer and hammered the coconuts until they cracked open. Clearly I remember it so vividly because there's now hand motions involved as I'm telling the story.

So that to me is very much my model. I watch my mother and my father both work hard at work, but also work hard at being parents. And insuring that we both had quantity of time, and quality time. So as I now think about being a mom, that's very much my model. So my daughter is now 15 months old, I know she really doesn't understand what's happening, but I talk to her about the news every day. I talk to her on Sunday evening about why I had to be gone for a couple of days, to support her grandmother because it's really important for her future, and although I know she doesn't really understand that yet, I think that's an important model. Me working to engage with her already, to treat her seriously, and also to ensure that we have quality and quantity of time. So right now we have dinner together every night when I'm in town, we treat Sunday's as a similarly sacred time. I know I'm following the motto that my parents had with me as a kid, but I wouldn't actually make any other choice, because of how grateful I am to have that sense of being so proud to be their daughter. And always knowing first and foremost I was their daughter.

QUESTION: In the previous few years it's become increasingly clear that Russia is not the liberal ally that we would have hoped for, in the collapse of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union, what's Hillary's stance on Russia as a merging military power now.

CLINTON: Well this is something that my mom has both spoken and worked a lot on because of her time as Secretary of State, when she had to both work with Putin and Lavrov, the man who was her direct foreign minister counterpart when she was Secretary of State on issues like securing Russia's engagement and support for sanctions such as Iran, where we very much needed Russia to participate, to ensure those were meaningful. But also, standing up to Russia against the regression in Ukraine. I think again, looking at what someone has done, as an indicator of what they will do.

So whether that's with Russia specifically, or kind of thinking of foreign policy more broadly, recognizing that often we have to work with and find common ground, with even those who may not have our values or our interests, at heart, while recognizing that we have to stand up similarly against those who want a world very different than the world that America is standing for and looking to lead us all toward. So I think it's both, and I think that we saw in my mother do that when she was Secretary of State.

QUESTION: I just have a question on mental health. I know Republicans blame mass shootings unfortunately on the mental health. Which is, we're more likely to be victims of violence, than commit violence, so I was just wondering what your mother would do for the mentally ill.

CLINTON: So this is something that my mom has spoken about extensively, and something that she worked on both as first lady and as senator. For example, the CHIP program. She worked to have mental health included in the CHIP program. So that actually, children that are coming into the CHIP program, had more mental health services available to them at that time in the 1990's, than many children that were covered under private insurance. So I think that demonstrates that my mom has been thinking about how to expand mental health care coverage, and to remove the stigma of mental health illness, really now for many, many years. And what she has said about moving forward, is that she would actually enforce mental health parody, because we know that although mental health parody is part of the Affordable Care Act, we also know that many private insurers are not living up to their parody promise.

But also we need to restore the funding to Medicaid, for mental health coverage as well as for substance abuse coverage that was cut partly as a part of sequestration. So we have a lot of work that we need to do to insure that people are getting the services and support that they need, both at an individual level and at a family level, individually and in community settings, and we also need more research. Which is something else that my mom pushed for when she was a senator. Something that she's spoken extensively about on the campaign trail. Because we still don't know as much as we need to know. About not only the epidemiology behind mental health, but also how best to treat and support people who are confronting mental health challenges. To still be able to be fully productive and engaged members of society. So she recognizes that there's a lot that we need to do around mental health, but I'm also really proud that she's been out in front of this for a very long time, from a treatment and research prospective as you can see from when she was first lady and from when she was senator. One more question.

QUESTION: I just have a question about education. One of Bernie Sanders strongest demographics in this primary are young college students, and when I'm talking to my classmates at college, one of the first issues they talk about is education. Bernie Sanders advocates free public tuition for all public universities, and Hillary Clinton has a different plan. I'm just wondering why you're more persuaded by your mothers plan, and why you think that would be a better route to go than universal free education at all public universities.

CLINTON: So I think that's a great question. There are a couple of answers that are related. So one, my mom has said absolutely, for lower income and middle class families, tuition to public two year and four year colleges and universities should be free. But she does not believe that there should be free tuition for children from wealthier families, who can afford to pay tuition and to support our public university system. She also, unlike Senator Sanders, has articulated how she's going to pay for that proposal. Currently there's a 19 trillion dollar gap, give or take, between what Senator Sanders has proposed, and how he's articulated paying for his proposals.

So that to me is troubling. I really believe not only from an equity perspective, that what my mom has articulated in term of expanding access to affordable college is the right answer, it also gives me greater comfort that she's more able to probably get it done, because she's already articulated how she's going to pay for it. So I hope that will be persuasive to your friends. Thank you all so much for coming, I hope you will support my mom, and Please sign up to volunteer with Katie if you have the time and energy.

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