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Clinton says small businesses not getting help from U.S. recovery

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The American economic recovery has not yet helped enough small- and medium-size businesses or boosted entrepreneurship nationwide, Hillary Rodham Clinton said here Wednesday, offering a preview of likely themes from her expected Democratic presidential campaign.

Clinton identified “the slow rate of small- and medium-sized business formation” as the most pressing short-term economic problem limiting the turnaround President Obama heralded in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

“Our economy, historically, and job creation, has been driven by small- and medium-sized businesses,” Clinton said. “And we’re just not seeing that start up again.”

But in a speech to Canadian business and civic leaders, Clinton also tied herself to Obama’s economic programs and said the U.S. president does not get the credit he deserves for leading the country out of recession. Clinton rued the growing global disparity between rich and poor and said the United States should hope for recovery in Europe and a return to projected growth in China.

Her remarks came a day after Obama assured the country that after years of economic bad news, “the shadow of crisis has passed.” Obama took credit for leading the nation to better footing in a confident State of the Union address that focused on the same middle-class economic themes that Clinton is expected to stress in her likely campaign.

In a Twitter message on Tuesday night, Clinton said Obama’s speech points the way “to an economy that works for all. Now we need to step up & deliver for the middle class. #FairShot #FairShare.”

Here in Winnipeg, Clinton’s prepared remarks to a forum underwritten by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) focused largely on the global challenge of extremism and terrorism. The clash of ideas is “generational” but will be won by the example of democratic ideals, she said.

Clinton ducked a question about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the United States, telling CIBC President and CEO Victor Dodig that she is staying out of the State Department-led review process. In the past she has said it is inappropriate for her to comment because of her former role leading the department.

“You won’t get me to talk about Keystone,” Clinton said.