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Clinton touches on race, gun control and gay rights at Virginia rally

Hillary Clinton made her first presidential campaign stop in Virginia on June 26 at George Mason University.Courtesy File Photo/State Department
FAIRFAX, Va. -- Hillary Clinton and her pal Terry McAuliffe were welcomed in Northern Virginia Friday night by 2,000 Democratic die-hards who paid $30 or more to kick-off their weekend with their party’s presidential front-runner and the governor of Virginia.

Clinton’s first official campaign stop in the commonwealth came on a historic day of a historic week, with the Supreme Court ruling today that gay marriage is the law of the land and on Thursday that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The headlines were at the forefront of remarks from Clinton, McAuliffe, Democratic U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and more than a handful of congressmen and activists.

“It was an emotional roller-coaster of a day. This morning, love triumphed in the highest court in our land,” Clinton said to a booming applause. “Equality triumphed. America triumphed.”

The Democratic contender began her day solemnly, however, in South Carolina, where she accompanied President Barack Obama and others in memorializing the nine African-Americans who were shot and killed by a racially-motivated white gunman June 17.

The issue of guns and race were central themes in Clinton’s remarks, which ran just under a half-hour.

The former first lady said the fight for racial equality and gay rights is not over.

“I know it’s tempting to dismiss a terrible tragedy like Charleston as an isolated incident, to believe that in today’s America bigotry is largely behind us,” Clinton said. “But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with racism is far from finished.”

She continued, “And let’s be honest, despite today’s ruling, our struggle to end LGBT discrimination is also far from finished.”

Clinton called for "common-sense reforms" to halt firearm violence -- though she wasn't specific -- and she ripped some GOP lawmakers who seem to close off the thought of altering gun laws.

“Sadly, before the funerals of the nine, murdered, church-going, faithful men and women even finished, some Republicans in Congress voted to stop the Centers for Disease Control from studying gun violence,” Clinton said. “How can you watch massacre after massacre and take that vote? That is wrong.”

Clinton also jabbed Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump, who recently made controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants, saying they're smuggling drugs into the country and raping people. "We need to call out derogatory language," she said, segueing her remarks into an overall critique of the GOP.

"Across the board, they are the party of the past, not the future," she said.

The Clinton camp is expected to have a robust operation in Virginia, utilizing some of the same get out the vote efforts and fundraising that helped McAuliffe, a decades-long Clinton ally and fundraiser, win the governorship in 2013.

The commonwealth also went blue for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Sen. Warner narrowly won statewide victory in 2014. A Republican last won statewide election in 2009, when the now-disgraced Bob McDonnell took the governor’s mansion.

Clinton said she knows there's a trying road ahead, that "America's march goes on," and she's seen "up close and personal" the rigors of being commander-in-chief.

"Presidents come into office looking so vigorous, then we watch their hair grow grayer and grayer," she said. "Well, you won't see my hair turn white in the White House. I may not be the youngest candidate in this race, but with your help, I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States."

Click here to read about the Republican Party’s press conference ahead of Clinton’s visit.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.


Did she “touch on” the fact that she was against it before she was for it?

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