‘Houston, we have a problem': Amy Klobuchar opens 2020 Democratic debate – Washington Examiner

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar began the Democratic debate in Houston at Texas Southern University on Thursday night with a warning to potential 2020 voters.

“Houston, we have a problem,” she said, conjuring up the phrase made famous by the astronauts of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission in 1970.

Klobuchar’s line was borrowed to draw attention to her conflicts with President Trump, whom she accused of “running this country like a game show,” saying he would rather “lie than lead.” Klobuchar also pitched her own platforms as more down-the-middle politically than her more left-leaning counterparts on stage.

In concluding her opening statement, Klobuchar, 59, broke from her ultra-liberal fellow candidates and — in an apparent olive branch to Trump supporters — promised to be a president for all of America, not just half.

[Also read: ‘Bernie wrote the bill, I read’ it: Klobuchar knocks Sanders for plan to eliminate private health insurance]

A former prosecutor, Klobuchar was elected to the Senate in 2006, becoming the state’s first elected female senator. She has never lost an election, easily winning her three Senate campaigns by wide margins. Trump narrowly lost the state in 2016. During the 2018 midterm elections, Klobuchar won 43 Minnesota counties Trump had won two years prior.

Speculation grew last year about whether Klobuchar would enter the 2020 fray, fueled by her sparring with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing. Klobuchar noted that her father Jim, 91, had battled alcoholism during her childhood, using it to ask Kavanaugh, who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, whether he had ever blacked out while drinking. Kavanaugh tried to turn the question back on Klobuchar and later apologized for losing his temper with her.

In May, Klobuchar opened up about her father’s struggles with memory loss. “My dad is in assisted living right now, in memory care, so I’m dealing with this myself,” she said in New Hampshire. “Luckily for me, for him it wasn’t an early on-set thing. He was great until a few years ago. So I have seen how much it costs and what it means. People don’t really realize it just adds so much cost to our healthcare because they get other illnesses, and they fall, and things go wrong because of their problem with Alzheimer’s.”

Jim Klobuchar was a well-known Minnesota-based journalist and columnist. The Minnesota senator has been frank about how his alcoholism led to her parents’ divorce and affected her younger sister, Beth, who changed her name to Meagan and was a high school dropout who became an alcoholic before seeking treatment, getting a GED, and going to college.


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