Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar confers with Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) throughout a Senate Judiciary listening to on Jan. 15, 2019. | Carolyn Kaster/AP Photograph
Amy Klobuchar has an uncommon constituency behind her as she launches her run for president: Senate Republicans.
In a Democratic caucus full of presidential hopefuls taking a tough line towards Donald Trump’s presidency, the Minnesota senator’s model of pragmatic politics stands out. And quite a few Republicans are raving about Klobuchar — her character, her respect for the opposite get together, even her competitiveness in a normal election.
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In actual fact, a dozen GOP senators have been so effusive in interviews this month that some apprehensive they could injury her candidacy in a Democratic nomination battle that has many candidates embracing the get together’s left flank.
“I hope I’m not condemning her nascent run for the presidency,” mentioned Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) as he praised Klobuchar. “She’s too cheap, too likable, too good.”
“She needs to attain an answer and I’d hope that’s not a disqualifying factor for somebody who want to be president,” mentioned Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who runs the Senate Guidelines Committee with Klobuchar. “I like her quite a bit and hope that’s not dangerous to her.”
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The three-term senator is definitely no Joe Manchin. Klobuchar reliably votes along with her get together on the subject of huge points like abortion and immigration. She’s embraced progressives’ bold “Inexperienced New Deal” and is never a headache for Democratic management. However she’s additionally established herself as somebody who can reduce offers with Republicans and infrequently tacks to the middle. It’s a mixture that that would give her a lift amongst main voters looking for a candidate with bipartisan bona fides if it doesn’t doom her with a celebration transferring rapidly to the left.
In a short interview Klobuchar made clear that she doesn’t compromise only for compromise’s sake however acknowledged it’s one thing she actively seeks out as a senator.
“Oftentimes I am going to stand my floor,” she mentioned. “But when I can discover widespread floor to get one thing executed, I do.”
Final 12 months, she reached an settlement with Blunt to fight sexual harassment on Capitol Hill that drew some ire from liberals. And she or he’s by no means purchased into purity contests, discovering herself at odds with different presidential candidates on surveillance points, a price range deal and a few Trump nominees like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Klobuchar additionally was the Democratic presidential aspirant most intimately concerned with a centrist Senate effort final 12 months to handle the plight of tons of of 1000’s of younger, undocumented immigrants. She was in a sequence of conferences supposed to forge a bipartisan immigration deal that finally got here up quick. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). mentioned Klobuchar was one of many “extra cheap voices” within the room.
“She’s an individual of character and nice potential,” mentioned Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), a fellow negotiator. “She’s the entire package deal. That’s in all probability too good.”
It’s not simply on main laws the place Klobuchar collaborates with the GOP. She runs the Congressional Coalition on Adoption with Blunt and has teamed with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on combating consuming issues and increasing rural broadband. She’s labored with conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on bettering a bridge between their two states and pushed by way of laws with Tillis to assist deal with veterans uncovered to poisonous burn pits in fight zones.
Past her ideology and legislative acumen, Klobuchar affords a stylistic distinction from the sharp-edged politics of Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and the attention-grabbing inquisitions of Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
Republicans say that Klobuchar was one of many Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who was most respectful when questioning Supreme Court docket Justice Brett Kavanaugh final 12 months about sexual assault allegations, at the same time as Klobuchar discovered herself being requested by the nominee whether or not she had a ingesting drawback. However befitting her “Minnesota good” type, Klobuchar moved on and didn’t linger on the confrontation.
“Her questioning [on] the Judiciary Committee is great,” mentioned Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “Her questions might be considerate and respectful. Nonetheless probing, they’re not straightforward, but it surely’s an excellent mannequin.”
“Of the parents which are working, she’s in all probability extra accountable,” mentioned Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).
Sen. Amy Klobuchar broadcasts her 2020 candidacy Feb. 10, 2019, at Increase Island Park in Minneapolis. | Jim Mone/AP Photograph
Klobuchar’s Republican buddies say that her political talents can be imposing in a normal election towards Trump, noting her robust enchantment within the Midwest — the area that tipped the presidency to Trump in 2016.
Some Democrats are “going to be searching for any individual that’s really going to be electable in a normal election. And I believe it’s a spot she may fill,” mentioned Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the GOP whip.
“I don’t like to present Democrats recommendation however they’ve obtained to have the ability to carry the Midwest,” Collins mentioned.
It’s not simply Republican senators who’re followers. George Will, a conservative columnist for the Washington Submit, penned an op-ed lately that described Klobuchar as “the individual maybe greatest geared up to ship the present president packing,” pointing to her Midwest roots as an asset for Democrats and praising her even-keeled temperament.
Nonetheless, Klobuchar’s “Minnesota good” popularity has taken a success in latest days amid a number of stories she has mistreated employees.
Regardless, the very qualities which have earned Klobuchar a lot love on the suitable might be liabilities in a Democratic main.
Cornyn mentioned Klobuchar “doesn’t strike me as ideological sufficient to be aggressive.” Tillis mentioned she has a “legitimately centrist argument to make however she’s going to seek out herself in a subject that’s going to out-liberal themselves.”
“She’ll in all probability have a reasonably laborious time within the nominating course of,” Thune acknowledged.
But Democrats aren’t so positive. For one, many Democrats imagine Klobuchar, former Vice President Joe Biden or Montana Gov. Steve Bullock may all provide a compelling distinction to the extra liberal candidates within the subject.
Members of her caucus say Klobuchar is results-driven, which inevitably means embracing bipartisanship.
“She’s somebody that’s extra oriented towards getting some issues executed. And with a purpose to do that you simply’ve started working with either side. That’s the arithmetic round right here,” mentioned Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats.
And in early states, bipartisanship may not be a unclean phrase. Whilst New Hampshire retains electing Democrats to Congress, the Granite State additionally has a well-liked GOP governor — and permits undeclared voters to take part in both get together’s main.
“We like our leaders to work collectively,” mentioned Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). “That’s in all probability the No. 1 concern I hear once I go across the state … ‘Why can’t you all work collectively to handle the challenges going through this nation?’”
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