Hillary Clinton realized there is no easy way to segue between Syria and women running for office in Texas. So she wisely did not try, and began her speech at the Annie's List luncheon at the downtown Marriott Marquis with an aside.
In her first public remarks since President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike on a Syrian airfield Thursday evening, the former presidential candidate and Secretary of State said the world must stop Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from committing more atrocities against his own people. During her campaign, Clinton took a harder line than President Barack Obama on the conflict, but cautioned that while airstrikes may help, the White House needs to articulate a coherent strategy to end Syria’s brutal civil war.
Clinton also took a dig at what she sees as an inherent contradiction between recognizing the brutality of the Assad government while attempting to implement a ban on Syrian immigrants into the United States.
“I hope they recognize that we can’t in one breath speak of protecting Syria’s babies and in the next be closing our borders,” Clinton told the ballroom filled with more than 2,000.
She called for a Syria policy that was consistent with American values.
And with that, she turned her focus to the occasion that brought her to Houston — a fundraiser for Annie’s List, the nonprofit that promotes women in Texas elected office.
Clinton spurred thunderous applause when she reminded the audience that she won Harris County by 12 points during an election that saw voters also defeat the incumbent Republican sheriff and district attorney. She promised with more hard work, Texas could flip blue in a statewide or national election, a dream of Democrats for a generation.
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“I know we can win in 2018,” Clinton said. “If we can get people to turn out and vote, Texas will be blue.”
Fresh off her narrow loss to Trump in the 2016 presidential election, which she acknowledged was still painful, Clinton outlined a vision for rebuilding the Democratic Party with a broad coalition of voters. She left little doubt that at 69, she is not yet ready to retire from politics.
She recited a verse from Galations, “Let us not become weary by doing good,” then translated it in the Texas style of former Democratic governor Anne Richards:
“Precious, get over it and get on with it.”