2014-09-15T003447Z_2_LYNXMPEA8D0HI_RTROPTP_2_USA-POLITICS

With appearance in Iowa, Clinton takes a big step toward 2016

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry in IndianolaBy Gabriel Debenedetti INDIANOLA Iowa (Reuters) – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stoked speculation on Sunday that she was moving closer to announcing a bid for the White House in 2016 as she visited the early-voting state of Iowa to take part in the state’s annual “steak fry,” a gathering of Democratic activists that often attracts presidential hopefuls. After grilling steaks with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton delivered a populist speech to the crowd of more than 6,000 Democrats at a vast green field a few miles outside of Des Moines. She defended President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare initiative known as Obamacare, pushed legislation on a minimum wage and lambasted Republicans as “guardians of gridlock.” Clinton focused much of her speech on promoting Iowa’s Democratic candidates, including Senate hopeful Bruce Braley, who is vying in a closely watched race in the 2014 midterm elections on Nov. 4.

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