- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 17, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa — Chelsea Clinton hit the campaign trail here Saturday, sounding an alarm about Republicans’ jingoism, sexism, racism and homophobia, as Hillary Clinton’s family came to her rescue in a painfully close caucus race.

Chelsea Clinton was joined by her father, former President Bill Clinton, who is one of the campaign’s biggest guns, to reignite enthusiasm among Mrs. Clinton’s supporters, who increasingly fear she will lose the caucus contest to avowed democratic socialist Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders.

Mrs. Clinton has gone from a commanding lead to a neck-and-neck race against Mr. Sanders, with 15 days until Iowa’s leadoff nominating contest.

“She can’t be president if you don’t nominate her, and if you do nominate her, I don’t think they can stop her from becoming president,” Mr. Clinton said to cheers and applause from the crowd in the gym at Abraham Lincoln High School.

The former president and his daughter made the case that Mrs. Clinton is the most qualified person ever to run for president and that allowing her to lose in the Hawkeye State, as she did to then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008, would risk losing the White House to Republicans.

“Everything that I care most about is at stake in this election,” said Chelsea Clinton. “Whether we think about a woman’s right to choose, whether we think about actually standing up to climate change or whether we think about our core American values — which are under significant assault at the moment from the other side — when we look at the jingoism and the sexism and the racism and the homophobia.

“That’s not who we are. And that’s not the country that I want my daughter to grow up in,” said the 35-year-old mother of a 1-year-old daughter who is pregnant with a second child.

“We cannot afford to stay on the sidelines,” she said, urging her mother’s supporters to not only attend caucuses but to bring all their friends along to help put Mrs. Clinton over the top.

Many in the crowd said they already were committed to caucusing for Mrs. Clinton and attended the event for the thrill of seeing Mr. Clinton. But many also voiced fear that she could fall to Mr. Sanders, setting up a protracted race that results in the Democratic nominee being a wounded Mrs. Clinton or an unelectable Mr. Sanders.

“It is going to be rather close, and it could go either way,” said James Temple, 50, a software engineer in Des Moines. “I’m really concerned about November and getting a viable candidate.”

For Mrs. Clinton’s most devoted fans, the caucus race is eerily similar to what happened in 2008, when Mrs. Clinton’s huge lead evaporated and she suffered a demoralizing third-place finish behind Mr. Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

“I was furious in ‘08,” said Teresa Burriola, 57, a legal secretary, adding that Mr. Sanders “needs to get out of her way.”

Mrs. Clinton was in a statistical dead heat with Mr. Sanders in a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll last week. It showed her barely edging out Mr. Sanders, 42 percent to 40 percent, a lead within the poll’s margin of error.

At Saturday’s rally, the president and his daughter did not mention any of the Republican candidates by name. But they made reference to billionaire businessman Donald Trump’s controversial comments about deporting Mexicans and preventing the U.S. entry of Muslims.

Mr. Clinton warned that allowing any of the Republicans to win the White House would jeopardize the progress made by President Obama.

“We’ve got to … stop the Republicans from rolling back the good things the president has done,” he said. “We’ve got to keep going. We can’t back up on gun safety, on gay rights, on climate change legislation.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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