At Iowa rally, all Democratic candidates appear together for first time

By Doug G. Ware  |  Updated July 18, 2015 at 1:09 AM
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, July 18 (UPI) -- The full field of Democratic presidential candidates appeared together for the first time Friday night at a rally in Iowa.

The contenders each had a chance to speak to a crowd of supporters in Cedar Rapids, and some of the spirited speeches touched on a variety of issues and various visions for the country.

Considered the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton expressed hope for change in economic policy, climate change and gay rights.

"I'm never going to let the Republicans rip away the progress we have made," she said. "Trickle-down economics has to be one of the worst ideas of the 1980s. It is right up there with New Coke, shoulder pads and big hair. I lived through it -- there are photographs -- and we're not going back."

About 1,200 people attended the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame dinner, and each got to see the first real face-off between the former first lady and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders -- at present the closest competitor to Clinton in the polls.

The registered Independent has gained traction in recent months in the Democratic race, particularly because of his fiery rhetoric speaking out against the perceived greed of American banks and practices of U.S. corporations.

"Enough is enough," Sanders said. "The greed of the billionaire class has got to end -- and we are going to end it for them."

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley had his supporters, as well, who enthusiastically greeted him when he appeared onstage.

"We didn't just talk about it," O'Malley said of the advancement of gay rights. "We got it done."

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee also spoke at the dinner, the Post report said.

On the Republican side, some analysts believe, candidates like Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz have acted as a lightning rod for Democrats -- a theme that continued at Friday night's rally.

"We've heard a lot recently from the new Republican front-runner, Donald Trump -- finally a candidate whose hair gets more attention than mine," Clinton said to laughter from the crowd. "But there's nothing funny about the hate he is spewing about immigrants and their families. It really is shameful."

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