Hillary Clinton talks small biz, GOP attacks in New Hampshire

Keene, New Hampshire (CNN)Hillary Clinton is trying to win voters over a half-dozen at a time — and so far, it's working.

The former secretary of state's campaign rolled into New Hampshire on Monday, where her second trip since entering the 2016 race for the White House mimicked the look and feel of her first visit, to Iowa last week — right down to road-tripping from New York in her black "Scooby" van.
The similarities are intentional: Clinton's campaign is banking that small roundtable gatherings and controlled meetings at bakeries and coffee shops will help reintroduce someone who has been a public figure since the 90s and who at times has struggled to connect with voters.
Meet the woman who almost made Hillary Clinton cry
lead dnt keilar hillary clinton back on campaign trail_00011030

    JUST WATCHED

    Meet the woman who almost made Hillary Clinton cry

MUST WATCH

Meet the woman who almost made Hillary Clinton cry 01:16
    Clinton sat down with six New Hampshire employees of Whitney Brothers, a 104-year-old children furniture company in rural southwestern New Hampshire, and fielded questions on issues ranging from small business policy — the subject of her Iowa visit — to less-predictable topics like Social Security and substance abuse.
    The hour-long event left the six roundtable attendees — several of whom had supported President Barack Obama over Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary — pointing to a dramatic difference.
    "She seems warmer, more human," said David Stabler, the company's owner, who supported Obama over Clinton. "Not that she was robotic in 2008, she just seemed like she was listening more to what was being said and really hearing what folks were saying."
    Jim Kirschner, a 58-year-old engineer, said he'd also Obama in 2008 — but this time he "didn't feel talked down to" by Clinton.
    "I feel she listened to what we all had to say," he said. "Having her here today, talking to her face-to-face, is something that you don't normally get to do on a regular basis, so it helped me to consider her more strongly than I might have."
    Ken Proper, a 52-year-old machine operator, agreed.
    "She was at our level. Not over us, not trying to put us down. She was covering all levels," he said.
    Will Hillary Clinton run on a change or continuity platform?
    GPS: Will Hillary Clinton run on change or continuity?_00012501

      JUST WATCHED

      Will Hillary Clinton run on a change or continuity platform?

    MUST WATCH

    Will Hillary Clinton run on a change or continuity platform? 02:04
    It was her comments on drug addiction, Proper said, that really caught his attention.
    When a grandmother who's daughter has struggled with drug addiction asked Clinton how she'd tackle substance abuse, Clinton said there is "a hidden epidemic" in the United States — and she'll make "a big part of my campaign because increasingly it is an issue that people raise with me."
    The issue, which has gripped New Hampshire and Vermont in recent years, didn't come up at all during Clinton's Iowa trip or when the entire Republican field of 2016 contenders was in Nashua, New Hampshire, over the weekend for a summit with about 500 local GOP activists and officials.
    Clinton pointed to cutbacks in drug treatment and health care programs and said that perhaps previous decades' emphasis on anti-drug messages have fallen off and pointed to an HIV outbreak in rural southern Indiana.
    "This is a quiet epidemic, and it is striking in small towns and rural areas as much as any big city," Clinton said.
    But Clinton was also ready to pounce on Republicans over Social Security — a hot topic during the two-day GOP summit.
    She lambasted "a lot of loose talk about Social Security" — likely a reference to Republican contenders like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is calling for an overhaul of the program, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who have also called for changes.
    "I think there'll be some big political arguments about Social Security," she said.
    Clinton said she wants to "make sure it is there, and we don't mess with it, and we don't pretend it's a luxury because it's not a luxury."
    Clinton signaled she'll take a tough approach toward Wall Street, saying tax reforms could be necessary to hand benefits to job-creators rather than money traders and that the capital gains tax is being misused.
    Policymakers need to "take a hard look at what is now being done in the trading world, which is just trading for the sake of trading," she said.
    Clinton attacked traders who are "playing back and forth in the global marketplace to get .01% of advantage."
    "Maybe we should not let that go on because that is unfortunately kind of at the root of some of the economic problems that we all remember from '08," she said.
    At Monday's roundtable, Clinton fielded questions and spoke at length about kick-starting small business growth, which could be seen as a subtle dig at her former boss, President Barack Obama.
    "From my perspective, I want to be sure that we get small business started and growing in America again," she said. "We have stalled out. It is not enough just to tread water."
    Clinton added that it was easier to be an entrepreneur during her father's era. He owned a small textile company in Chicago, she said.
    "It was a lot easier ... to have an idea, to get what you need and to go to work," she said.
    And speaking to reporters for the first time since launching her campaign, Clinton arrived in New Hampshire prepared to push back against a new book asserting she offered favorable treatment during her tenure at the State Department in exchange for foreign contributions to her family's foundation.
    "We are back into the political season and there are all kinds of distractions and attacks," Clinton said in response to a question about the book. "And I am ready for that. I know that that comes, unfortunately, with the territory."
    Clinton swiped at the GOP field that they wouldn't have anything to talk about without her entrance into the race.
    "But I am in the race and hopefully we will get onto the issues and I look forward to that," she said.
    Before the Whitney Brothers event, Clinton stopped at Kristin's Bistro & Bakery on the town's main street.
    New Hampshire Democrats have a long history of supporting not just Hillary Clinton, but her husband Bill Clinton, too. When the little-known Clinton finished second in New Hampshire's 1992 primary, news outlets dubbed him the "Comeback Kid," a moniker he took all the way to the White House.
    And after Hillary Clinton finished third in Iowa's 2008 caucus — behind then-Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John Edwards — the former first lady was able to eke out a surprise win in the Granite State.
    The Clintons have kept up their local connections, regularly checking in with friends and former aides.
    "There are 200 people in New Hampshire who consider themselves close, personal friends of the Clintons," said one of those people, who noted that not all of those friends will be able to see the presidential candidate this week.