WESTERVILLE, Ohio — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has acknowledged a “viral moment” could help spark her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
That’s a tough thing to create when you are one of a dozen candidates on a Westerville, Ohio, stage for one of the largest presidential primary debates ever.
Klobuchar definitely got some fresh exposure during the three-hour contest Tuesday, Oct. 15. She logged the third-most speaking time of the candidates, just behind front-runners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, according to The New York Times.
The Times and CNN hosted the fourth Democratic primary debate at Otterbein University.
Klobuchar largely stuck to her moderate approach, arguing nuanced policies were better than the more attention-getting proposals candidates like Sens. Warren and Bernie Sanders are known for, such as free college and universal health care.
“The difference between a plan and a pipe dream is a plan is something you can get done. We can get this public option done,” she said in support of a public health care option instead of Medicare-for-all plans that she says will be too costly and will result in 150 million people being kicked off private insurance.
Klobuchar argued that not backing things like a universal income or dramatic new taxes on wealth doesn’t mean she won’t raise taxes on the rich and corporations to provide more services for those who are struggling.
“We just have different approaches,” she said. “Your idea is not the only idea.”
She had a similar take on new gun-control measures, arguing passing universal background checks was more important than fighting over how to ban certain types of guns outright.
“The public is with us on this in a big way,” she said about increasing background checks for gun purchases. “I don’t want to screw this up. Let’s not mess this up with this fight.”
Being a moderate candidate may make it hard for Klobuchar to score a breakout moment. But her positions are far from outside the mainstream of Democrats’ ideals.
At the top of the debate, she joined the majority on the stage putting their support behind the U.S. House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
“We have a constitutional duty to pursue this impeachment, but we also can stand up for America, because this president has not been putting America in front of his own personal interests,” she said.
Continuing to strike a balance, at the end of the night, Klobuchar picked the late Sen. John McCain when asked about a friend who had a big impact on her life. She quoted a line from his book that McCain pointed to when Klobuchar visited him just before he died.
“There is nothing more liberating in life than fighting for a cause larger than yourself,” Klobuchar quoted.
“That’s what we are doing right now,” she said. “What unites us is so much more than what divides us.”
Democratic presidential candidates will debate for a fifth time in November. So far, seven of the candidates on the stage Tuesday have qualified to appear; Klobuchar is not one of them.
In order to make it to the next debate, Klobuchar needs stronger numbers in national polls or in the early primary states.