Hillary Clinton praised local government and spoke about Washington's limitations as she kicked off her 24-hour visit to South Carolina Thursday.
The Democratic presidential front-runner joined a number of mayors and local residents at a Baptist church in Columbia, S.C., where she began her speech by calling for increased cooperation between federal government leaders and local politicians.
"I like spending time with mayors because they have to get things done and they are closest to the people," Clinton said, before she quipped, "There is no Republican or Democratic way to fill a pothole."
Clinton said that, as president, she would remain "determined to build a better future not only for [her] own granddaughter, but for all of our children and grandchildren."
The former secretary of state touted "flexible federalism" as one way to ensure a brighter future. The term has been tossed around by a number of governors who have pressured lawmakers in Washington to work side-by-side with states rather than treat them as subsidiaries to the federal government.
"Washington is not always as good a partner as we need to be," Clinton said. "Flexible federalism would empower and connect communities, leverage their unique advantages, and allow them to adapt to changing circumstances."
"With President Obama's leadership and the determination of the American people, we are standing again, but we need to start running together," she said.
Without being pressed to describe the areas where she believes states have been micromanaged by Washington, Clinton moved on to discuss her token issue of women's rights.
"Women who want to work should be able to do so without worrying everyday about how they are going to take care of their children or what happens if a family member gets sick," she said.
During a recent Facebook Q&A, the former first lady accused Republicans of 'playing the gender card' every time they "vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception."
In Thursday's speech, however, Clinton appeared to contradict herself by saying that equal pay and child care are "not women's issues."
"They're economic issues and American issues," she said instead.
Clinton also reiterated her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
"It is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, 'Yes, black lives matter,'" she said, adding that "we all have a responsibility to face the hard truths about race and injustice honesty and directly."
She commended longtime mayor, Joseph Riley Jr., for working to maintain unity in Charleston, S.C., after the tragic shooting that occurred at a black church in mid-June and congratulated the state for removing the Confederate battle flag from its capitol grounds while noting that "the work of healing our communities and taking on the challenge of systemic racism is far from finished."
"It is important to recognize that we have to tackle these problems together," Clinton said. "You have to rebuild bonds of trust and respect between elected officials and those who they serve and between our law enforcement and the communities they serve."
Clinton lost the 2008 South Carolina Democratic primary to Barack Obama, who won an overwhelming majority of the state's black voters.
Following her trip to the Palmetto State, Clinton is scheduled to deliver another economic address in New York City on Friday. The leading Democratic candidate's edge in the polls has declined steadily in recent weeks with the latest Quinnipiac poll showing her as losing key battleground states to three leading Republican candidates if the election were held today.
In a statement prior to Clinton's upcoming economic speech, Republican National Committee spokeswoman, Allison Moore, said Clinton's ideas are "either too risky or too ineffective."
"It's clear Hillary Clinton doesn't have solutions to raise wages and create jobs," Moore said.