NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton accused former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush of lacking an understanding of the needs of American workers on Monday, using an agenda-setting economic speech to cast Republican prescriptions for the economy as relics of the past that would do little to boost wages for the middle-class.
Clinton, outlining the tenets of her economic agenda, seized upon the recent comments from Bush, who said last week in New Hampshire that “people need to work longer hours.”
Clinton said Bush “must not have met many American workers,” and said he wouldn’t hear that sentiment from teachers or nurses or truck drivers. “They don’t need a lecture. They need a raise,” she said.
The Democratic presidential front-runner outlined the themes of her economic agenda in a speech at The New School in New York City, where she called raising incomes for hard-working Americans the defining economic challenge facing the nation. The speech offered tough medicine for Wall Street traders just a few blocks away and included swipes at other leading Republican presidential candidates, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was launching his campaign on Monday.
Bush had been discussing the prevalence in the number of part-time workers and the need for Americans to find more full-time employment. Democrats have seized upon the comments, hoping it will undermine the ability of the brother and son of U.S. presidents to connect with middle-class workers.
Clinton made no mention of her chief Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has wooed Democrats by making economic inequality the central plank of his insurgent campaign. But her message appeared aimed at liberals who have expressed anxiety about the uneven recovery of the economy since the Great Recession.
“I believe we have to build a growth and fairness economy. You can’t have one without the other,” Clinton said.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.