2020 presidential contender Sen. Amy Klobuchar took the stage at a Fox News Channel Town Hall on Wednesday evening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the Minnesota Democrat sought to distinguish herself as a relative moderate among a crowded field of progressive candidates now led by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
The one-hour Town Hall, co-anchored by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, will offer Klobuchar a chance to explain why she hasn’t embraced proposals popular with her party’s left wing, including the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free college tuition, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Hours before the Town Hall, Klobuchar, 58, told Fox News in an interview she wasn’t worried about Biden’s decision to run, even though he has assumed frontrunner status by most polls and fundraising metrics.
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“I welcome the vice president to the race,” Klobuchar said. “I’ve worked with him for years, but I’m running my own campaign and I bring something that’s different to the race.”
Klobuchar is one of three candidates from the Midwest, along with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.
Buttigieg is slated to appear at Fox News Channel Town Hall on May 19, followed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in Iowa on June 2.
“I’m running my own campaign and I bring something that’s different to the race,” Klobuchar said, adding, “I’m from the heartland. My grandpa was an iron ore miner, he worked 1,500 feet underground his whole life. I am the only candidate in the race that is a granddaughter of an iron ore miner and the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Minnesota, and a candidate for president.”
But, Klobuchar likely will again have to respond to allegations that her “Minnesota nice” persona may be only skin-deep. In February, Klobuchar responded to multiple reports that she mistreated staffers in her Capitol Hill office by acknowledging that she’s been a “tough boss” — and did not flat-out deny a report she had thrown a binder at one point.
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According to a Buzzfeed News report, “one aide was accidentally hit with a flying binder, according to someone who saw it happen, though the staffer said the senator did not intend to hit anyone with the binder when she threw it.”
The outlet also cited numerous staffers claiming Klobuchar routinely sent late-night emails and berated her subordinates over minor details and missteps. Some critics have charged that the insinuations in the reports were sexist against women in managerial positions.
“I don’t know, it’s all anonymous. I will say that I’m proud of our staff,” Klobuchar told Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
“Yes, I can be a tough boss, and push people — that’s obvious,” she continued. “But, that’s because I have high expectations of myself, I have high expectations of those who work for me, and I have a high expectation for our country. My chief of staff has worked for me for six years, my state director for seven years, my campaign manager for 14 years.”
The New York Times reported in February that Klobuchar allegedly berated a staff member for failing to bring her a fork with her salad while the senator was traveling to South Carolina in 2008.
Klobuchar not only chastised the aide, but reportedly proceeded to eat the salad using a comb from her bag — then handed the comb to the aide and told him to clean it.
She later explained the bizarre story, saying she was “doing a mom thing.”
“The comb story was me, sort of doing a mom thing. I didn’t have a fork, I used a comb to eat a salad very briefly on a plane,” she said at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, in March.
Earlier this month, Klobuchar released a plan to spend $100 billion over a decade to improve mental health care and fight substance abuse, an issue she faced firsthand as the daughter of an alcoholic who struggled with addiction for years before getting sober.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.