Spin Cycle

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MONTICELLO, IOWA - Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton expanded her reasons for running for president during an event Tuesday at a community college in Iowa — and thus avoided the famous Roger Mudd question.

In 1979, Mudd, a CBS correspondent, asked Massachusetts Democrat Ted Kennedy why he wanted to be president. The question left the late senator a bit flummoxed.

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Clinton didn’t wait to be asked when she appeared at Kirkwood Community College two days after she announced her candidacy.

“We have got to figure out in our country how to get back on the right track,” Clinton said. “And I am running for president because I think that Americans and their families need a champion, and I want to be that champion. I want to stand up and fight for people so that they cannot just get by, but they can get ahead, and they can stay ahead.

“A lot of people in the last few days have said, ‘Why do you want to do this?’ and ‘What motivates you?’ And I thought a lot about it and I guess the short answer is that I have been fighting for children and families my entire adult life, probably because of my mother’s example.

“She had a really difficult childhood, was mistreated, was neglected, but she never gave up. She had to basically be on her own since the time she was 14 and she just kept going. And my father, who was a small business man, just believed you had to work hard to make your way and do whatever you have to do to be successful and provide a good living for our family.

“Then I was thinking, too, of the lesson I learned from my church: You are supposed to give back, you are supposed to what you can to help others,” Clinton said.