From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
SALISBURY, NC -- Hillary Clinton used her latest proposal on oil prices to portray herself as the fighter in the race, telling a few hundred people at the local train station here that she'd be their champion in the White House.
This morning, Clinton unveiled a plan to tax oil company "windfall" profits to pay for a gas tax holiday, which she said would provide needed relief for working-class Americans, who have seen energy costs take up greater percentage of their incomes. Here, she also discussed plans to create new jobs in a push to move toward energy independence, while outlining tough tactics she'd employ against oil producing countries to keep oil prices in line.
"Now, none of this is easy to do, but I don't think we have a choice," she said. "We can continue to be at the mercy of the … oil countries, which will mean that our standard of living will continue to decline. We will not recognize America. We will not recognize the American middle class. So we can either say, 'OK, fine we'll just kind of go along and, you know, elect somebody who's nice or elect somebody who's gonna continue the Bush policies. Or we can elect somebody who's gonna fight for you. That is the choice in this election."
Amid cheers, she made clear which candidate is that fighter.
"Now, I know there are some people who say, 'Oh my goodness, she is tough. Well, if you'd had my life you'd be tough, too."
She urged those in the crowd to vote early, before Friday's deadline. And in closing, added one last dig at her Democratic opponent.
"I wish it were true that you could go to Washington and say, 'I want everybody to come together and just agree with me, and then let's just make these changes, because we all know we're supposed to do it," she said. "I wish it were that simple. Because, boy, we sure could make change in a hurry."
Three times during Clinton's speech, trains passed by, some faster than others. The first time, as Clinton discussed oil, she waved at a caravan of tankers passing by. When another train came a-chugging, she interjected some of her views on rail travel.
"I love trains," she said. "Someday I would hope we'd have passenger trains again that would be going through Salisbury. I think that would make a lot of sense; it would save us a lot in energy bills and, as our country ages, which we are, which is a good problem, it'll give more people mobility than they might have otherwise. But that's for another day."