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With Recent Triumph, Clinton Heads West


After Nevada comes South Carolina, Florida, and then Super Tuesday. One of the biggest prizes for the presidential candidates is California, and Hillary Clinton was there today campaigning near Los Angeles. Speaking at a training center for solar energy workers, Clinton announced a new $70 billion economic plan she said would hold recession at bay. Her trip westward had to be a welcome change. Unlike the crowd she has been working in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, Senator Clinton was greeted today by solid fans and supporters.

Here's NPR's Ina Jaffe.


INA JAFFE: The old Hillary Clinton campaign and the new Hillary Clinton campaign were both on display today. First the New York senator presented a multi-billion dollar plan to protect homeowners from foreclosure and provide assistance for middle class families dealing with sky-rocketing energy costs called the policy and statistic-heavy plan Clinton Classic.

Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York; Presidential Candidate): Number one, I'm calling for a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures. No foreclosures for three months, so if the bank is about to foreclose on your home, you'll have some breathing room to try to figure out how to restructure you mortgage.

JAFFE: Then, the newer Clinton campaign came to the fore when she answered question after question, roaming the stage with a handheld mic. It was clear that ever since the now-famous teary eyed event in New Hampshire, both candidate and crowd are getting more comfortable with getting personal. This question came from a woman who said she's been planning to vote for Clinton since the year 2000.

Unidentified Woman: My daughter just text messaged me, and she wants to know if you feel any pressure being - or she says being or running for the first woman president.

Sen. CLINTON: Oh, no not at all.


(Soundbite of cheers)

JAFFE: Everyone here got the irony. Clinton tried to personalize every answer without ignoring the policy she was here to promote, like training more people to work with solar power. So here was her answer to the simple question about her husband, quote, "How's Bill?"

Sen. CLINTON: He was so excited when I told him where I was coming this morning because we had a whole energy audit done on our home. You know, we have an old farmhouse that was pretty leaky, and our utility bills were pretty high, so we've now moved all of our lighting to compact fluorescent bulbs.

JAFFE: The questions ranged from borrowing money from China to caring for Iraq war veterans. No one asked her any really tough questions about the plan she had just announced like how she was going to pay for it. The people here felt she was someone they knew and trusted, like electrical worker Dale Crisp(ph).

Mr. DALE CRISP (Electrical Worker): I think she's got a grassroots appeal. I think she's got a grassroots insight. She came from the common people, and that's what we need.

JAFFE: Like just about everybody here, she had them at hello.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News, city of Commerce, California. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.