(CNN) - Recalling the days of Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill and Republican President Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton said the nation needs more lawmakers who are willing to compromise.
“I think whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, it’s important not to vote for people who proudly say they will never compromise,” the former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential contender told an audience in Philadelphia on Thursday.
“It seems as though our partisan debates have been taken over by a very small minority that doesn't believe in compromise.”
Thursday marked a tense battle in the Senate over filibuster rules; and just months ago the nation experienced a 16-day partial government shutdown.
The former senator from New York told the story of a conversation she had with someone who called himself a “very conservative Republican” and business owner. He told her that watching the contentious debate unfold over the debt ceiling made him believe in compromise and question why lawmakers would risk the stability of the United States’ credit.
“So I said to him,” Clinton told the audience during a Q&A session after her keynote address. "You’re a successful businessman and you are well-known in your community - will you say that publicly?
“I’m not asking you to vote for Democrats. I’m just asking you to vote for the kind of Republicans that we used to have more of in our two-party system who would come together,” Clinton said, pointing to policy compromises made under the leadership of O'Neill and Reagan, as well as House Speaker Tom Foley and House Minority Leader Bob Michel.
“We have to do a better job of making sure we know who we’re voting for; what we expect from them; and for those who are contributing to political campaigns, what kind of people they’re giving their money to,” she added.
What’s at stake, Clinton said, is the United States’ standing in the world.
Thursday’s address at the Greenbuild conference in Pennsylvania is one in a series of high-profile speaking engagements and appearances throughout the country for the former first lady, only further fueling speculation that Clinton, a long-time staple of the Democratic Party, will run for president in 2016.
In hypothetical presidential polling matchups, Clinton bests or statistically ties possible Republican contenders. And though she has not confirmed that she will run, outside groups dedicated to electing Clinton to the Oval Office have already begun to organize and raise funds for a potential campaign.