Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed some 3,000 camp counselors and operators in Atlantic City Thursday, where she called for "consensus building" in Washington and offered one possible solution for bridging the partisan divide -- adult sleepaway camps.
"I think we have a huge fun deficit in America and we need to figure out how to fill that fun deficit," Clinton said in her remarks to the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey's Tri-State CAMP Conference.
The expected Democratic presidential contender suggested a camp where a red cabin and blue cabin would "have to come together to listen to each other. . . . Wouldn't that be a novel idea?" the former first lady quipped.
Clinton's paid appearance came after her office was approached by longtime supporter and fundraiser Jay Jacobs, the Nassau Democratic Committee chairman, who also runs several upstate camps.
Political observers have said Clinton's appearance Thursday will likely be among her last paid events before she officially declares herself a candidate for president. Organizers of the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey's Tri-State CAMP Conference declined to disclose how much Clinton was paid.
During a 20-minute speech, Clinton called for "bipartisanship" on environmental conservation efforts and repeatedly spoke about the lack of "relationship-building" between leaders of both parties in Washington. Clinton said leaders need to "build on what has worked in the past but be willing to question . . . create consensus about where we go together in the future."
After recounting stories of her efforts to develop relationships with Republican leaders as a junior senator from New York, Clinton said "We've sort of lost the essential role of relationship-building and consensus-building."
Jacobs, who supported Clinton's Senate and presidential campaigns, and is on the Democratic National Committee, moderated a nearly 40-minute question-and-answer session.