COLUMBUS, Ohio – Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized President George W. Bush as running a "government of the few, for the few and by the few."
"For six long years the hardworking families of our middle class have been invisible to this president," she said Saturday, promising to be a president who again sets goals for the country if she is elected in 2008.
Democrats attending the Ohio state party's annual dinner gave a rousing cheer when the senator from New York asked, "Are you ready to end the war in Iraq and restore America's reputation around the world?"
Only two Democrats since 1900 have won the presidency without carrying Ohio and no Republican has done so.
The state clinched re-election for Bush in 2004, but Democrats have new optimism that they can win the state that Clinton's husband, Bill, carried twice.
Democrats captured the Ohio governor's seat for the first time in 16 years last November and, in a backlash attributed in part to a state government investment scandal, seized three other statewide offices long held by Republicans.
The $150-per-plate dinner drew about 3,000 people and generated $550,000 after expenses for the party, the most money the dinner has ever raised, said Chris Redfern, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman.
Clinton, leading the Democratic field for president in national and Ohio polls, promised universal health care and said she would make college more affordable. She also said she would be more aggressive in developing alternative sources of energy and that her administration would hire more qualified people for government jobs.
Clinton came to Ohio from South Carolina where she gave the commencement address at historically black Claflin University earlier on Saturday.
Another leading candidate among the Democrats, Sen. Barack Obama, was campaigning Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri. He appealed to about 3,000 supporters Saturday for help in getting Congress to end the war in Iraq.
"We have 51 votes in the Senate, and to have a veto-proof majority the next time we send a bill to end the war, we're going to need 16 more votes," Obama said.
"So I need everybody to take a look at how your senators are voting and how your congressmen are voting. We are 16 votes away from ending this war."
Obama was referring to Bush's veto earlier this month of a $124.2 billion bill that would have funded the war in Iraq, among other things, but demanded troops begin coming home Oct. 1.
The Kansas City fundraiser was the Illinois senator's second in as many days in Missouri. He was in St. Louis on Friday for two events.