Clinton kicks off Washington campaign in Seattle - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Clinton kicks off Washington campaign in Seattle

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SEATTLE - Hillary Clinton launched her Washington state campaign Monday night with a wry bow to a state that has Democratic women in both U.S. Senate seats and the governor's mansion, a national first. The New York senator is the Democrats' presidential front-runner in the national polls and fundraising.

Clinton says she loves coming to a place where people clearly don't mind having strong women in charge, quickly drawing her obvious point that she hopes to become the first female president. She told her audience at Seattle's Benaroya Hall that she's extremely proud of the idea that she could become the first woman president. Clinton told wildly cheering state Democratic Party activists that women are changing American and she thought she would come to a place where that is happening every day, referring to Governor Chris Gregoire and Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. She says Americans are desperate to turn the page.

Clinton made her first appearance as an announced candidate in the West's second largest state. She was given star billing at the party's annual fundraising gala, the largest party gathering scheduled before the February caucuses. It drew more than 1,200 people and raised more than $150,000 for the party.

Former President Bill Clinton did not accompany his wife. Gregoire was in Washington, D.C., after a Democratic governors' meeting and to raise money for her expected re-election bid. She has not endorsed a candidate for president. Neither have Murray and Cantwell. Neither Murray nor Cantwell was at Benaroya Hall.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)