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Klobuchar: Americans ‘are different, but they don’t want to be divided’

Throughout the week, we have heard from a number of Joe Biden’s former rivals who have now come to support him in his bid for the White House. One of them, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss how she thinks the Democratic National Convention is going so far, why this is a “personal” election, the challenges of virtual campaigning and Biden's chance of winning Minnesota.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, this week, we have heard from a number of Joe Biden's rivals, who have now come to support his bid for the White House.

    Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota joins us now from Minneapolis. That is the site that, of course, sparked nationwide protests calling for racial justice after the murder of George Floyd.

    Senator Klobuchar, thank you very much for being with us tonight.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.:

    Thank you, Judy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It has been a long journey, this campaign for president. You were out on the trail yourself for many months.

    What does it look like to you at this point? We are two nights into this convention. Is it doing what you thought it should do?

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    It is, and more.

    We all know it's a challenge to be virtual. We don't have the after-parties and that feeling of camaraderie. But it has allowed Americans to see the story of Joe Biden, the story that we're about to hear of Kamala Harris in a different way.

    And one of my favorite moments was actually the roll call last night, where you had everything from heartfelt thoughts from people who had lost their child to gun violence, to our favorite duo trying to sell calamari from Rhode Island.

    (LAUGHTER)

    And I just thought it was this — the America as we know it, as opposed to the America that Donald Trump keeps trying to talk about.

    And it is an America where people are different, but they don't want to be divided. They want to come together.

    And you certainly saw that in seeing Colin Powell, and hearing from Governor Kasich the night before. There are so many Republicans — and I don't think it should be lost here — moderate Republicans who have come forward.

    So, when we talk about unity, it's Bernie Sanders' heartfelt pitch to bring his supporters with him.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    But it is also all of these Republicans who have come forward, and courageously, Cindy McCain narrating the video last night, who are speaking out.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    There are some — I have heard some discussion that there's an awful lot of focus on the personal, not enough on substance.

    How do you see that?

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Oh, you know what? I see the personal as the woman from Arizona who said that her dad's only preexisting condition was trusting Donald Trump, and he paid with his life.

    Yes, that's personal. But this is a personal election, Judy. People are isolated. I had to see my dad with COVID through a window in a nursing home, not knowing if it was the last time I'd see him. And he made it through.

    There are stories like that all over our land. And it's a really personal moment.

    And so that's why I think Joe Biden's ability to relate to people, from being nominated by the woman on the elevator, to his competence, as some of your last panelists were talking about, the competence that he brings to the job.

    And I personally am really excited about Kamala tonight. We grew closer on the campaign trail.

    I just texted her husband, jokingly asking him what he was wearing tonight, since that's what you ask the spouse.

    (LAUGHTER)

    I won't reveal what he's going to wear.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Yes, OK. You're not going to tell us what he's…

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    And I am just…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We don't ask those questions, by the way, Senator Klobuchar.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Yes, of course not.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But others may ask.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Well, no, it's because they always ask the woman what they're wearing, the spouse.

    Anyway, so, the point is, is that this is going to be a moment where every little girl and boy in America, especially in our African-American community, Indian-American community, is going to know that anything and everything is possible.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, speaking of COVID, we know that your own husband, John, went through the experience of the coronavirus.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    He did.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And you were — in the hospital when you were — had to be in Washington. And we know that was a tough time. We're glad he recovered.

    I want to ask you about Minnesota. Four years ago, Hillary Clinton won, but it was, what, by the narrowest of margins. You said out on the campaign trail that you, Amy Klobuchar, if you were the party's nominee, you could keep Minnesota blue.

    But my question to you is, what happens now? I mean, the polls are close. There was one that came out a few days ago, the Emerson poll, I think, three points up, just three points up for Joe Biden.

    Is Minnesota in play this year?

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Joe Biden's going to win Minnesota.

    And I'm going to do everything to make sure he does, and not to mention that, helping in Wisconsin and Iowa and across the country. As I said in my campaign, we're going to build a blue wall of Democratic votes around these states, and we're going to make Donald Trump pay for it.

    And a lot of what we have seen is this incredible momentum. And Minnesota, I think that was one poll. There have been others showing him much more ahead. They're going to vote for him. They like him here. He's been up in Northern Minnesota a number of times. He's come to our state over and over and over, because we like Joe Biden.

    So, I just want to make sure we win big, not just in my state, but across the country.

    As you know, he's trying as much as he can to limit votes and to stop people from voting and scare them about voting by mail, all of…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You mean the president. Yes, right.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Yes, the president.

    And he's doing that to stop people. And I don't think they're listening. They're vote — showing up in record numbers by mail and in person, and they're going to do that. So, we expect this in every single state.

    And the key is, this week is our week to show the country what we're all about, not only why people shouldn't vote for Donald Trump, but why they should vote for Joe Biden.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But, in just less than a minute, how worried are you about having an effective campaign when your candidate can't get out on the trail, can't go out and connect with people, can't shake their hands…

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Yes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    … look them in the eye?

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    And he's someone that loves doing that. We know that. So, it's especially hard on Joe Biden.

    But the truth is, we're in a pandemic. Everyone has to be safe. And that's why I think some of the things that we have seen, that incredible video with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the way that people have come forward and been able to participate in this convention, like they couldn't do if they — because they wouldn't have flown out there.

    I think it's an example of the new kind of campaigning we're going to see. And, again, it has not suppressed turnout in the Democratic primaries. It's been at all-time highs.

    People know what the stakes are. To end with Michelle Obama, what she said is, vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will leave it there.

    Senator Amy Klobuchar…

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    OK.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    … joining us from Minnesota, thank you very much.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Thank you.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And we will see what Kamala Harris' husband is wearing, but we will not comment on it.

    (LAUGHTER)

    Thank you very much.

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Oh, you can.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar:

    Thanks.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    All right.

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