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Clinton pitches millennials: ‘You want something to vote for, not just against’

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Flanked by “Love trumps hate” signs, Hillary Clinton gave her pitch to millennial voters Monday afternoon at Temple University, acknowledging that many of them are still skeptical of her even if they also do not like her rival, Donald Trump.

“Even if you’re totally opposed to Donald Trump, you may still have some questions about me. And I get that,” Clinton said at the Philadelphia-based university.

The former secretary of state acknowledged the fatigue many feel at this presidential election, saying it can be “downright depressing” at times. She bemoaned that the media and Trump had turned the race into a “circus.” But she stressed that “cynicism” is not an option, predicting that “the next 50 days will shape the next 50 years.”

Clinton’s speech comes as polls show her losing support from voters under 35 years old to third party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, reflecting young voters’ disenchantment with both major candidates. Though Clinton still outperforms in the group compared to Trump, she is more reliant upon them as part of her path to victory.

The Clinton campaign launched a college campus push last week in response to the worrisome numbers, with first lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren fanning out on campuses across the country pitching Clinton to millennials. Obama explicitly urged young voters to feel “inspired” about Clinton’s experience, President Obama warned them not to take her for “granted” simply because she’s been in the political arena for so long.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives to speak at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria - RTSOGSZ
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton waves as she arrives to speak at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria – RTSOGSZ

In her speech, Clinton stressed policy proposals aimed at young people such as her debt-free college plan, investments in renewable energy and getting broadband internet into every household by 2020. “You want something to vote for, not just against,” she told the crowd, sketching out her career as a young lawyer fighting for children’s rights and criminal justice reform.

But she also acknowledged in her speech that she has had trouble thriving in the public eye. “When it comes to public service, the service part has always been easier for me than the public part,” she said. “I have never been a showman like my opponent, and you know what? That’s OK with me.” She said her focus on the minute details of policy would make her a good president.

She told a story about her hesitance running for public office for the first time in the late 1990s, when she was mulling a run for U.S. Senate. A 17-year-old basketball player urged her to run, Clinton said, by reading aloud the words on the banner at the event: Dare to compete.

“Even all these years later I confess I don’t enjoy doing some things that come naturally to most politicians, like talking about myself,” she said. “But I took that leap then for the same reasons I’m running now. To even the odds for people who have odds stacked against them.”

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