Struggling Democrat presidential contender Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) had to tell the audience at a CNN town hall event on Monday that it was time to applaud, echoing an embarrassing moment toward the end of former Gov. Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign.
Klobuchar was asked by a student if she could win over voters in the Midwest who helped elected President Donald Trump in 2016. Klobuchar responded by giving a little background on how she has been able to win in a state that elects a lot of Republicans.
“Look at what I’ve done. I’m someone who runs in a purple state,” Klobuchar said. “When I started running for office, the other senator was Republican, the governor was Republican and three of our four constitutional officers were Republican. And then I started running, and every single time I’ve run, I’ve won every single congressional district in my state, including [former Rep.] Michele Bachmann’s.”
Silence fell after her answer, prompting Klobuchar to follow up, jokingly, with: “That’s when you guys are supposed to cheer, okay?”
The students then clapped.
Klobuchar would go on to receive cheers throughout her event, but this particular moment was reminiscent of a campaign event just weeks before Jeb Bush dropped out of the Republican primary in 2016. Bush was in New Hampshire at a campaign stop on Feb. 2, 2016, and delivered what he thought would be an impressive statement:
Here’s my pledge to you: I will be a commander-in-chief who will have the back of the military. I won’t trash talk. I won’t be a divider-in-chief or an agitator-in-chief. I won’t be out there blowharding, talking a big game without backing it up. I think the next president needs to be a lot quieter but send a signal that we’re prepared to act in the national security interests of this country – to get back in the business of creating a more peaceful world.
Though a member of his staff began clapping behind him, the rest of the audience remained silent and motionless.
“Please clap,” Bush said, in a clip that has since become a meme.
Weeks later, on Feb. 20, Bush would announced he was dropping out of the presidential race. Bush had spent more than his rivals ahead of the Iowa caucuses, but was only able to garner 2.8% of the vote. In New Hampshire, he placed fourth, behind Donald Trump, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. In South Carolina, he also came in fourth. After spending $150 million – a massive amount to spend so quickly in a primary – Bush announced he would drop out of the race.
“Despite what you might’ve heard, ideas matter, policy matters. And I truly hope that these ideas that we’ve laid out will serve as a blueprint for a generation of conservative leaders,” Bush said at the time.
Bush’s “please clap” moment came months nearly a year into the primary and after voting and the debates had begun. Klobuchar has already reached this moment at a time when more candidates may still announce. The Minnesota senator is currently polling at around 1.6%, according to Real Clear Politics’ polling average.
You can watch the clip below, courtesy of Mediaite editor Aidan McLaughlin: