Hillary Clinton knocks 'sorry state' of politics

8:15 PM, Oct 4, 2013   |    comments
In this Sept. 9, 2013, file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks about Syria in the South Court Auditorium on the White House Complex in Washington. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)
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CLINTON, N.Y. -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton lashed out at the "sorry state of our own politics" during a speech at an Upstate New York college Friday, recalling her husband's experiences with the last government shutdown while decrying the partisanship that led to the current one.

"It is hard to recall in our own lifetimes a previous time when politicians were willing to risk so much damage to the country to pursue their own agendas," Clinton said during a speech at Hamilton College in rural Oneida County.

Clinton spoke in front of a capacity crowd of about 5,800 at the college, a small, liberal-arts school with an enrollment of about 1,800.

After opening with kind words about the school and recognizing specific students for their work, Clinton quickly shifted to the "gridlock" and "brinkmanship" that has led to the shutdown of the federal government, which stretched into its fourth day Friday.

Without casting blame on anyone in particular, Clinton said the shutdown has the potential to hurt the country's reputation among foreign nations. Clinton is considered a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016; she hasn't indicated whether she will run.

"When we fail to make progress on the challenges that face the country, our standing in the world suffers," Clinton said.

It was a busy speaking day for the Clintons, with former President Bill Clinton scheduled Friday to deliver the keynote address at an energy conference hosted by the Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Earlier in the day, Hillary Clinton spoke in Nassau County at a private luncheon hosted by the Long Island Association, a business group.

She spoke fondly of the Mohawk Valley and Upstate New York, which she represented as a U.S. senator from 2001 through 2008 before she was tapped for the State Department by President Barack Obama.

"I would tell everyone who would listen to me that Upstate New York is a land of treasures," Clinton said of her time in the Senate. "History is everywhere. What built this country and made it the land of opportunity for so many really started here."

Campbell reports for Gannett's Albany (N.Y.) bureau

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