But her roll-out, and her evocation of "Minnesota nice" - a stereotype that people from her home state are typically courteous and mild-mannered - hit a snag in recent days after reports that the senator has mistreated aides and asked staff to do personal chores, leading to high turnover. Amy Klobuchar announced her presidential bid at a snowy, freezing outdoor event on Sunday, vaulting the three-term senator from Minnesota into the crowded field of Democrats angling to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. All photos by Steve Cohen.
Aside from the environment, Klobuchar's platforms include universal health care, criminal justice reform, gun control and curbing big tech's abuse of privacy.
"But that sense of community is fracturing across our nation right now, worn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics", Klobuchar said.
"I find her to be the most hawkish of any Democrat in Congress", said Mike Madden, a St. Paul, Minnesota resident who was with a group of anti-war protesters railing against Klobuchar's candidacy.
Klobuchar said that "freedom of the press wasn't some abstract idea to my Dad".
"There is quite a bit of, a lot of meaning behind where she is doing this", the adviser said.
Ms Klobuchar called on people to join her "homegrown" campaign, saying, "I don't have a political machine".
Republicans quickly critiqued Klobuchar during and after her speech.
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She is known for putting partisanship aside to pass legislation, something that has earned her a devoted following in Minnesota, and something American voters regularly tell pollsters they want.
Klobuchar in 2015 appeared to borrow from the playbook of presidential hopefuls by producing an autobiography. But as most of the announced candidates so far have emphasized progressive policy positions, she was expected to talk extensively about her reputation as a pragmatist and ability to work across the aisle.
Klobuchar, a lawyer and the former prosecutor in Minnesota's largest county, raised her national profile during a Senate Judiciary Committee last fall for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman when they were both in high school.
Klobuchar's announcement came amid several news reports of high staff turnover in her Senate office with workers complaining of having to do personal chores, making it hard to hire high-level campaign strategists.
While numerous high-profile Democrats already in the race are in the progressive lane - liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren formally declared her candidacy Saturday - Klobuchar has quietly gained attention in Washington as a centrist.
Scott Herzog, a 50-year-old manufacturer from West St. Paul, said the same as he stood in front of the stage two hours before the event starts: "This is true Minnesota: Snow and Amy Klobuchar".
"I cried. I cried, like, all the time", one unnamed staffer told BuzzFeed News. The staffers were quoted anonymously and others, who were named, rose to defend Klobuchar. She said the lesson learned after the 2016 election was "we are not going to leave the Midwest behind". It also chronicled challenges including her father's struggle with alcoholism, a topic she touched on during Kavanaugh's Senate hearing, and her parents' divorce.