February 26th, 2014
10:17 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton lauds Arizona veto in speech targeting young voters

(CNN) –– Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t wait long to applaud the veto of an Arizona law that would have allowed businesses that asserted their religious beliefs the right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.

In the first minutes of a speech at the University of Miami Wednesday night, Clinton lauded the fact that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer - a Republican - vetoed the legislation that supporters said protected religious liberty.

“Thankfully the governor of Arizona has vetoed the discriminatory legislation that was passed, recognizing that inclusive leadership is really what the 21st century is all about,” Clinton said to the 6,000 people who assembled at the south Florida institution.

Brewer announced just hours before Clinton took the stage that she had decided to veto the bill that had created a national firestorm. Brewer said she made the decision she knew was right for her state.

Clinton used the Arizona law to frame the rest of her remarks, weaving between the rights of gays and lesbians to the rights of people with disabilities. The former first lady pulled greatly from her career and her education at Wellesley College and Yale University.

“It is the work of this century to complete the unfinished business of making sure that every girl and boy and every woman and man lives in societies that respect their rights no matter who they are, respects their potential and their talents, gives them the opportunities that every human being deserves, no matter where you were born, no matter the color of your skin, no matter your religion, your ethnicity, or whom you love,” Clinton said to applause.

As much as Clinton’s speech looked back at her history, though, there were also overarching forward-looking themes in her remarks.

“I hope that your generation will be a true participation generation,” she said. “I hope you will find ways to make sure that the barriers that too often divide us are torn down once and for all.”

Clinton also commended the young people in the audience for being the “most open-minded and tolerant we have ever seen.”

Clinton’s speech comes as the former secretary of state eyes a presidential run in 2016. She is the frontrunner for her party’s nomination, with poll after poll showing she laps all other possible Democratic challengers.

Despite being asked at every event she attends, Clinton has yet to say whether she will run or not.

If she runs, however, Clinton will have to capture the support of young voters, a constituency that President Barack Obama used to catapult past Clinton in the 2008 race for the Democratic nomination.

Clinton’s remarks at University of Miami appear to be an effort to do that.

According to university, roughly 3,200 students watched Clinton speak and many lined up for hours to get into the event.

Students responded generally positively to Clinton's remarks. While one student said Clinton didn't answer all the questions, many said they found her "spontaneous," "motherly," "unscripted" and "funny."

"She has a quality no male candidate has," said one female student, "She's more human."

The former first lady has a number of upcoming events at college and universities.

Next week, Clinton will speak at the University of California-Los Angeles and in April, she will speak at Simmons College and the University of Connecticut.

As is the case with nearly every Clinton event, her decision about whether she will run for president or not in 2016 came up.

A student submitted a question asking in Clinton could define what the "TBD" in her Twitter bio meant.

To round of laughs, Clinton answered: "Well I would really like to, but I have no characters left. I will certainly ponder that."

- CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2016 • Arizona • Gay rights • Hillary Clinton • Jan Brewer
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. ED1

    Like the Governor would,t have veto the bill you again are a joke remember it really doesn't matter anyway sorry that was you comment about the four dead Americans that was killed on your watch.

    February 26, 2014 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  2. Chris-E...al

    God said to us love one another ! And do n0t judge .G0d spoke to us sinners the m0st when he was on earth .An n0t the highly perfect PPL We all have sin an will give account for it one day if we dont turn away from sin an do his will an accept him we will burn .plz pray 4 me an i for you always to .thx

    February 26, 2014 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. John in Brooklyn

    Brilliant! Clinton understands that voters under the age of 35 (regardless of party and geography) not only support same sex marriage, they are downright appalled at the idea of abject discrimination against gay people. Meanwhile, the GOP potential candidates are jockeying to see who can court the GOP base by inflaming legislative homophobia, despite the fact that they represent less and less of the national electorate.

    February 27, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  4. Marie MD

    Good for HIllary. Young people, unless they are part of the religious right wing nutsos crowd, are more tolerant of people of all colors, creeds and gender preference.
    The finger pointing governor also did the right thing.
    Is there some passage in the bible that says that Jesus hated people "not like him"? Don't know much about it but I thought, minus the camels lies, that he loved everyone.

    February 27, 2014 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  5. Gurgyl

    Good. Hillary16.

    February 27, 2014 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Brewer may have saved the Arizona Republican Party from extinction. They now have the following accomplishments: Papers please, this discrimination bill, and the attack on John McCain, which make up the Arizona a Trifecta.

    February 27, 2014 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  7. king

    these christian hardliners despises the Taliban muslim for their human right record, yet they are doing the same thing as the Taliban, but more suttle under the guise of religious freedom and liberty. these folks couldn't pick freedom out of a basket. they rant about government intrusions, yet on the same paragraph they're giving ultra sounds into females utorus. i dont know why they are so intent on shouting the words liberty and freedom. if they knew liberty was some how connected to liberals, they would ban that word out of the dictionary the next day. come on folks only the darkest of the darkest falls for your medafores when you trying to push some right winged agenda down the people throught

    February 27, 2014 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    It seems Hillary Clinton has chosen the right side of history for all the right reasons. I think Gov. Brewer vetoed the law for purely economic reasons simply because it took her so long to do it. The moral question was a no-brainer. The economic questions almost require you to predict the future, which makes them far more complicated. The was one economic certainty, however. Had Brewer signed it into law, the possibility of Phoenix hosting another Superbowl would shrink to near nil.

    February 27, 2014 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    I wonder if Gov. Brewer would have vetoed the bill if she wasn't under so much pressure from the business sector. I'm sort of skeptical if she would have. But kudos to her for doing the right thing. However, there still is on Arizona. What the people of Arizona need to be asking themselves is how can a bill this discriminatory pass in Congress and make it to the governor's desk.

    February 27, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  10. cmml

    CNN has become Clinton News Network. I've never seen a media outlet so overtly promote a single candidate.

    February 27, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  11. vic , nashville ,tn

    Hillary is our next president

    February 27, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  12. salty dog

    Human, now that's something to loath gop. The gop want you to not vote for her, or 8 more years of obstruction. Their departure, at this point, is long overdue. They stopped serving the people, and cater to the Koch brothers, prove it, is that really necessary . You rwnj refuse to ask why they pour billions into our politics, and does soros own a superpac? They will make a hundred billion off keystone, you will see even more money in our politics from them. These two men could.end famine and disease in entire countries, but this is where they spend their money, sad men.

    February 27, 2014 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Clinton is the worst possible person to comment.........as she would steal the personal rights of every single American, and enslave them to the Democratic Party, if she could.

    February 27, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  14. carlin123

    Who asked her?

    February 27, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. Stephanie in Toronto

    But I notice she did not applaud the veto until AFTER it was vetoed. No stance prior. She waits (as always) until someone else makes the decision, then she approves it. Sigh.

    February 27, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. iski

    If it involves votes she is for it, Saint hillary for president. We need to keep ineptness in power.

    February 27, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  17. Steve

    Yes Hillary, Gov. Brewer did the right thing. We need to protect all of our citizens from attack. That includes our embassy staffs. Oops, you failed there.

    February 27, 2014 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  18. Ol' Yeller

    "Clinton also commended the young people in the audience for being the “most open-minded and tolerant we have ever seen.”
    I commend them, too. I'm around a lot of young people (and I am in a bright red state) and they are not buying into the hate and vitriol against their gay and lesbian and black and brown and poor and downtrodden brethren. They are our future and I am very proud of the stand they are making. The only 'group' I hear them talking about wanting to quash is the 'Haters'.
    You are in trouble Haters.... and you know who you are.

    February 27, 2014 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  19. joethejust

    "Does it really matter?", said Hillary. The only thing that matters is ME and my ambition.

    February 27, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. tommysaint1

    Way to be bold and applaud a veto everyone knew was going to happen. You have politics written all over you. We already have a president like that, and as incompetent as he may be, we don't want to trade incompetent politics for competent politics.

    February 27, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  21. AlbaMN

    What a classy lady. Her comments on the ACA were also enlightening.

    February 27, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. Mohammad Khan

    If she doesn't win in 2016 I have no hope for this country! Clinton 2016!

    February 27, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. robertholt

    To me, Hillary Clinton's applauding the Arizona veto:
    1. is in support of a sinful lifestyle.
    2. is opposing certain religious liberties.

    February 27, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. kamarasune

    I really could careless what this woman thinks after she tucked her tail between her legs and ran while she was secretary of state.

    February 27, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. MF Cleveland

    Women belong in the House & the Senate and especially the White House! We have already seen how they KNOW how to reach across the aisle to get things moving. We need healing touch to bring our country together and make us unhyphernated Americans again. Inclusion not selective exclusion!

    February 27, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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