From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones
IOWA JEFFERSON-JACKSON DINNER COVERAGE
DES MOINES, IA, Nov. 10 -- Hillary Clinton unveiled a new slogan -- "Turn up the heat; Turn America Around" -- at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Saturday evening, urging her fellow Democrats to attack Republicans, not one another. The new approach comes after two weeks in which the Democratic frontrunner has come under increasing attacks from her rivals in both parties and provides more evidence of a general-election versus primary-election approach.
"I'm not interested in attacking my opponents," Clinton said. "I'm interested in attacking the problems of America and I believe we should be turning up the heat on the Republicans. They deserve all the heat we can give them," Clinton said, after repeating the "comfortable in the kitchen" line she's been using the past several days.
Giant green and yellow signs blared the phrase hung from the balconies in the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium, and it was written on the placards that served as centerpieces on some of the tables in the cavernous hall. In the balcony, Clinton supporters were riled up, chanting, "Turn up the Heat" and wearing yellow and green t-shirts with "Turn up the Heat" on the front and "Turn America Around" on the back. The shirts were provided by the campaign, which estimated their crowd at 2,500 and said most of them had been out canvassing all day. The campaign said it had not provided buses to transport supporters. They drove themselves.
Obama has been using a similar slogan and chanting tack, with his "Fired Up! Ready to go!"
During her speech, Clinton listed a series of offenses committed by Republicans, from cutting Head Start funding and "turning China into our banker" to vetoing health care for children. After every few points, Clinton posed a question to the crowd and her supporters chanted her new slogan as an answer.
"When the Republicans try to turn the clock back on women's rights, when they try to stomp out labor unions, when they try to undermine civil rights. What do we do?" Clinton said. Her supporters in the stands shouted, "Turn up the heat."
"We're going to turn up the heat on the Republicans and we're going to turn America around," Clinton said. "But we can't do it if we're not united and together. Not only Democrats, but Independents and even Republicans who reject this radical experiment in extremism."
The senator made a direct appeal to Iowans to caucus for her on Jan. 3 and stressed the importance of choosing a nominee with experience. "We must nominate a nominee who's been tested and elect a president who is ready to lead on Day One," Clinton said. "I know what it's going to take to win."
She also made a point of addressing the electability issue her opponents have raised, by highlighting her ability to win in red states.
"I'm especially proud to have the support of so many Democratic leaders from the so-called red states, who know that I can win," she said. "Leaders like Governor Beebe of Arkansas and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, who is here with me tonight. Because Democrats know, when we win Ohio, we win the White House."
While the senator has promised to run a positive campaign, her staff has said that doesn't mean she won't answer to her critics. "There are some who will say they don't know where I stand," she said. "Well, I think you know better than that," she said. "I stand where I have stood for 35 years. I stand with you."
Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's fundraiser and adviser, provided more evidence of that general-election strategy and warned other candidates that going negative could hurt them in Iowa.
"We're running our campaign for president," McAuliffe said. "We're going to stay positive and get our message out. I'm not worried about what the other candidates are going to do. I think if other candidates want to go negative, they do that. I think you do that at their peril here in Iowa. People don't like that. But we're not worried about anyone else. We're running our campaign.
"Tonight, she's saying she wants to talk about taking the heat to the Republicans. We're going to focus on the Republicans. We're going to focus on winning the White House. We're not going to attack our fellow Democrats. That's not what we want to do."
On the issue of the campaign planting questions at events in Iowa, McAuliffe said he had been traveling all day and had not heard anything about voters being asked to pose certain questions to Clinton at events.
NOTES: Clinton showed up unexpectedly at a party after her speech to speak to her supporters and didn't leave until after midnight.
*** UPDATE *** An Obama aide says this about the new slogan: "I'm not sure the critique voters have about politics is that they aren't hot enough. Folks have had enough of the hot partisan rhetoric and are looking for someone who is going to be able to get things done not make things hotter."