Klobuchar hopes for 'Klomentum' as New Hampshire votes

Amy Klobuchar
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., laughs as she speaks at a campaign event on Monday in Exeter, N.H.
Elise Amendola | AP

At a packed town hall in New Hampshire on Monday night, Amy Klobuchar trumpeted her rising poll numbers and the $3 million she has raised online since Friday's debate. She saved her best jabs, as she often does, for President Trump and refused to go after any of the other Democrats by name.

“He blames Barack Obama. He blames the generals that he commands," Klobuchar said during her rally in Exeter, N.H. “He blames the head of the Federal Reserve that he appointed. He blames the energy secretary that he nominated. He blames — this is one of my favorite ones — the entire Kingdom of Denmark. Who does that?”

Klobuchar is still lagging in most polls, but the crowd was a sign of the energy surrounding her campaign as voters swamped with choices try to make a decision before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. She's hoping that a strong debate performance along with a well-received speech at a Democratic Party dinner and a surge of cash over the weekend will encourage voters to give her a second look. Her campaign supporters say she has gained “Klomentum” in the Granite State since last week’s debate.

“We exceeded expectations in Iowa, we’re going to the debate stage in Nevada. I think a lot of people have written me off a few times, and every single time we defied them. And in New Hampshire, there’s absolutely no doubt we’re seeing a surge,” she told The Associated Press after a rally Manchester on Sunday. “It feels good.”

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She's asking voters for their consideration at a critical moment in the campaign. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., made a strong showing in Iowa and is aiming for a repeat in New Hampshire in hopes of becoming the leading moderate in the race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, began the race as a front-runner but is struggling after a disappointing finish in Iowa and another middling result expected in New Hampshire.

If Klobuchar converts voters, it could come at the expense of Biden — and Buttigieg. Klobuchar has slammed the 38-year-old former mayor as too inexperienced to be president.

“Shouldn't we step back and look at who has the experience to lead especially when we have a brand newcomer in the White House right now? Maybe we should look at who can actually work with Congress, work across the aisle, not just have a talking point, not just saying it well but actually getting it done," she said.

Klobuchar has been struggling for attention and fundraising dollars for much of the last year along with a half dozen lower-tier candidates. A fifth-place finish in Iowa, which neighbors her home state, might have been a death knell for another candidate, but she benefited from confusion over the results and extraordinarily low expectations to move on to New Hampshire.

For much of the race, Klobuchar has struggled at the back of the pack in fundraising and had just under $5 million in reserve at the end of 2019. But after Friday’s debate she took in $3 million, a lifeline that will allow her to forge on in contests ahead.

“We have what it takes to go to Nevada and beyond, but to do that, I’m gonna need you,” Klobuchar told supporters in Manchester. “So please give me your vote, give me your help, let’s go for broke, let’s barnstorm this state over the next two days, and we will do well in New Hampshire!”