WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton received a rousing reception from House Democrats on Wednesday, making her first stop on Capitol Hill since clinching the Democratic nomination.
Greeted by chants of "Hillary, Hillary," the presumptive Democratic nominee promised to use her massive campaign infrastructure to help Democrats win congressional races as part of what she called a "50 state strategy."
"She said: 'I know the difference between having the House and not having the House, and I want the House," recalled Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
So far, Clinton has focused much of her efforts on traditional battleground states, though she told Democrats that her efforts may expand to include Georgia. Some Democrats point to recent demographic changes in that traditionally GOP state as a sign that it could be winnable for their party, particularly with Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket.
Democrats stressed the unity within their party, drawing a contrast with Republicans, some of whom have offered only lukewarm support for Trump.
"I love my candidate for president," said Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y. "I'd love to be a fly on the wall on July 7th and see what affection they have for their candidate." House Republicans meet with Trump that day.
While Democrats have largely united around Clinton, she's struggling to win over the young and liberal voters who supported rival Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator has not yet endorsed Clinton or conceded the nomination to her — though he seems to be slowly shifting that position.
"It doesn't appear that I'm gonna be the nominee," he said, in a Wednesday interview with CSPAN, when asked if he will speak at the convention.
Clinton and Sanders' campaigns are discussing ways of addressing key economic issues in the Democratic platform which will be approved at the Philadelphia convention, including trade, providing free college tuition and cutting student debt and expanding Medicare and Social Security.
"That is a problem for the party," said Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C. "I would love to see Mr. Sanders endorse. Go all in."
Democrats said there was little discussion of Sanders or Trump in the meeting, which was more like a pep rally for Clinton's campaign. At one point, the members ribbed Rep. Xavier Becerra — who's been mentioned as a possible running mate — when he poured Clinton a glass of water.
"It was a thing of beauty," joked Crowley, who shouted, "you're really working it," after Becerra jumped up in the meeting.
Becerra later said that he is not currently being vetted as a potential running mate.
"I really don't have knowledge," he said, before acknowledging that he has not been notified by the campaign that he is under consideration.
Other potential contenders, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, have been informed that Clinton has begun eyeing them for the role.
Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Richard Lardner contributed to this report
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