She said she likes to "go south for the winter" to Iowa and played up her Midwestern upbringing, noting that her mom was born in the presidential swing state of Wisconsin. In last year's re-election, Klobuchar carried counties that voted for Trump in 2016.
"On an island in the middle of the mighty MS, in our nation's heartland, at a time when we must heal the heart of our democracy and renew our commitment to the common good, I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner, the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota, to announce my candidacy for President of the United States", Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar is expected to deliver a message of unity, vowing to fix a country she claims is fractured, according to excerpts of the senator's expected remarks given to ABC News. They include Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of NY.
She is citing the need to "heal the heart of our democracy and renew our commitment to the common good".
A crowd gathers at Boom Island Park to listen to Sen. Campaign volunteers are passing out hand warmers along with American flags.
The couple have been cheerleaders for Klobuchar over the years at parades and various conventions; they carried a banner in support of their daughter-in-law at Minnesota State University's Homecoming Parade in downtown Mankato last year.
"Today, on this snowy island, we say enough is enough", she continued.
Attendees for the most part said they back Klobuchar because they see her as a "centrist" who will work across the aisle.
"I don't know that coming from Minnesota gives her any advantage with Iowans".
The three-term senator is set to discuss her plans at an afternoon event in Minneapolis.
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The backdrop for her rally was the Interstate 35 bridge over the Mississippi. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., to help fund the new bridge and get it completed at a faster-than-usual pace. "If there are other pie cutters in the U.S. Senate, I'd like to meet them". That's community. That's a shared story. "Amy showed that the rule of law should still matter and, as she said, the Constitution does not say, 'We the ruling party, ' it says, "We the people'".
"But that sense of community is fracturing across our nation right now, worn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics".
"We are exhausted of the shutdowns and the showdowns, of the gridlock and the grandstanding", Klobuchar told the crowd gathered at Boom Island Park on the Mississippi River, as snow gathered on her hair and shoulders. Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity. "Not by wallowing over what's wrong, but by marching inexorably toward what's right".
But her legislative record has drawn criticism from both the GOP and some fellow Democrats.
In her speech, Klobuchar, 58, thanked Greater Minnesota and mentioned her Northland ties.
In a statement to ABC news, a campaign spokesperson said the senator is very fond of her staff.
But she raised only about 7.4 million US dollars, a relatively small amount compared with Senate candidates in more competitive races.
Tellingly, however, Klobuchar let Harris and Cory Booker take the lead in interrogating Brett Kavanaugh over his views on LGBTQ issues. She started the line of questioning by bringing up her father, who struggled with alcoholism, then entered a measured line of questions about Kavanaugh's use of alcohol and experiences with drinking to the point of blacking out. She sees potential, and she gets to work. "I was truly trying to get to the bottom of the facts and the evidence". Booker is also spending the weekend in the Midwestern farm State.
Klobuchar campaigned with Democrats in Iowa a year ago, and in December spoke to progressive farmers and activists about the importance of bridging the divide between urban and rural areas. "That's the challenge Amy Klobuchar faces especially with Democratic activists in the primary", said Mary Anne Marsh, a Democratic strategist based in Boston.