Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders continued their efforts to court Southland voters Tuesday, with both appearing in a series of local events two weeks ahead of the California primary election.
Clinton joined Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, in a discussion on foster care in South Los Angeles, then spoke at a boisterous campaign rally at a union headquarters in Commerce.
"We've got to get incomes rising," she told a standing-room-only crowd in Commerce. "We've got to get more good jobs. And here's how we're going to do it: We're going to do it by investing — investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy. Because some country is going be the clean-energy superpower. It's going to be either Germany, China or us. I want it to be us."
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Clinton on Monday declined an invitation to debate Sanders in California prior to the June 7 primary, saying she wanted to focus her attention on defeating Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump in the general election.
"And somebody may come along promising that he can make the economy great without telling you what he would do other than slash taxes," Clinton told the Commerce crowd. "Donald Trump's tax plan was written by a billionaire for billionaires, best as I can tell."
Clinton appeared in Riverside later Tuesday.
Sanders, meanwhile, held a morning rally at the Anaheim Convention Center, again pushing his campaign themes of boosting the minimum wage — while taking some pot shots at Anaheim's biggest corporate resident, the Walt Disney Co.
"Anybody here work for Disney?" he asked the crowd. "Anybody here making a living wage who works for Disney?"
"Let us be clear," he said, "the $7.25 federal minimum wage is not a living wage, it is a starvation wage. I believe we should raise that starvation wage in every state in this country to $15 an hour. Life would be a little bit different for some of the employees here working for Disney if the minimum wage here was $15."
California's minimum wage is $10 an hour, but it will increase to $15 an hour by 2022 under legislation approved earlier this year.
Sanders also took issue with companies who use foreign labor to manufacture products.
"If they want us to buy their products ... it is time for them to build those products right here in America, not in China," he said.
Sanders appeared at rallies later in the day at Riverside Municipal Auditorium and the National Orange Show Events Center in San Bernardino.
Sanders used a rally at Santa Monica High School Monday night to criticize Clinton for not debating again before the June 7 California primary.
Sanders said it was "insulting to the people of California — our largest state — that she is not prepared to have a discussion with me about how we address the major crises we face."
"A number of months ago our campaign and her campaign reached an agreement on a number of debates, including one here in California," Sanders told the crowd, estimated by the campaign to be at 6,750, referring to commitments each campaign agreed to last winter to add debates to a schedule set by the Democratic National Committee.
Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign's communications director, said Clinton plans "to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses."
"We believe that Hillary Clinton's time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,'' Palmieri said.
Clinton was also in Los Angeles Monday, conducting fundraisers in Holmby Hills and Hancock Park, 15 days before the June 7 California primary.
Clinton began her visit with a $2,700 per person early evening fundraiser at the Holmby Hills home of Bryan Lourd and Bruce Bozzi, according to an invitation obtained by City News Service. Individuals raising $10,000 were designated as co-hosts of the event and had their pictures taken with Clinton.
The maximum individual contribution under federal law for a candidate seeking his or her party's presidential nomination is $2,700.
Lourd is the managing partner of the Creative Artists Agency talent agency. Bozzi is a co-owner of The Palm restaurants chain. The event was also hosted by Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Vogue.
An evening fundraiser in Hancock Park followed, with tickets priced at $1,000. Individuals raising $20,000 will have a photo taken with Clinton.
"Another day, another posh Hollywood fundraiser for Hillary Clinton,'' said Natalie Strom of the Republican National Committee.
"As her bitter and divisive primary campaign drags on into June against a socialist from Vermont, she turns to her Hollywood friends to finance her scandal-plagued effort to secure the nomination. Unfortunately for Clinton, not even the pages of Vogue could portray her disaster of a campaign in a good light.''
There was no response from the Clinton campaign.
The trip is the 68-year-old Clinton's 12th to the Los Angeles area since she declared her candidacy on April 12, 2015, and second this month. She held 26 fundraisers during her previous visits.
The 74-year-old Sanders began his day Monday with a rally in the predominantly Latino Eastside community of Lincoln Heights, emphasizing immigration reform, an end to deportations, protecting voting rights and boosting wages.
"In this country, if you work 40 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty,'' said Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who would be the nation's first Jewish president.
"That is why I was so proud to work with the workers in the fast food industry who went out on strike from McDonalds and Burger King who stood up and told this nation they cannot make it on the starvation minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. They demanded, and I support a $15 an hour minimum wage -- $15 an hour and the right to form a union."