CONCORD, N.H. — Hillary Rodham Clinton signed paperwork Monday establishing her as a Democratic presidential candidate in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary — and within moments took an implicit swipe at chief rival Bernie Sanders.
"Well, I'm a Democrat. I just signed papers saying I'm a Democrat. He has to speak for himself," Clinton, answering a question about her differences with Sanders, told reporters after filing her candidacy. "I will put forth my position. If there's a contrast, there's a contrast. I'm just proud to be a Democrat and I'm proud that I've worked so hard for the Democratic party."
Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, filed paperwork in New Hampshire last week declaring that he was a Democrat. Clinton's dig came a few days before the two, plus former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, meet for the next televised Democratic debate on Saturday.
In the meantime, Clinton was courting New Hampshire voters by casting herself as "a proud Democrat" who would build on President Barack Obama's legacy.
"My name may be on the ballot but I really feel like this election is about you," Clinton said at a rally by the steps of the gold-domed state capitol.
Reprising a line that has become a crowd favorite, Clinton said that Obama hasn't received the "credit he deserves" for helping the nation emerge from a deep recession — and made a passing reference to the economic mantra of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, whose come-from-behind second place finish in New Hampshire propelled his candidacy in 1992.
"This election is still going to be about the economy, right? That's what it was about when my husband ran back in '92 in New Hampshire. That's what it's still about," Clinton said.
Her comments came during a busy week of campaigning in New Hampshire and a pair of debates — among Republicans Tuesday night and Clinton, Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Saturday night in Iowa, their first since the field has winnowed to three main candidates.
Sanders and O'Malley have been stepping up their criticism of Clinton since the first debate, but she's suggested she's saving most of her fire for Republicans.
Sanders, who has drawn support from the Democratic Party's liberal wing, recently told the Boston Globe's editorial board that he disagrees with Clinton on "virtually everything." Clinton on Monday disagreed, saying she and Sanders agree on equal pay, raising the minimum wage and paid family leave policies.
Clinton was the last of the three main Democratic candidates to file. Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley filed paperwork at the secretary of state's office last week. Candidates have until Nov. 20 to file for the primary. It's expected to be held Feb. 9.
Associated Press writer Kathleen Ronayne contributed to this report.
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