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Thursday, April 14, 2016 10:03 pm

Bayh ready to return to state, stump for Clinton

Brian Francisco | Washington editor

Evan Bayh has begun campaigning in Indiana for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – by telephone for now.

The former Hoosier governor and U.S. senator conducted a conference call Thursday to laud Clinton’s proposals for boosting American manufacturing. Bayh said he will return to Indiana from his Washington-area home in coming weeks to stump for Clinton.

"It’s going to be déjà vu all over again because people had a lot of fun being involved in the political process eight years ago," Bayh told reporters.

Clinton won the 2008 Democratic primary election in Indiana but lost the party’s presidential nomination to Barack Obama. This year, Clinton has a comfortable lead in delegates over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ahead of the state’s May 3 primary.

On Thursday, Bayh and Clinton economic policy adviser Michael Shapiro outlined Clinton’s proposals for strengthening American industry. They include blocking inversions, in which U.S. companies move their headquarters offshore to avoid federal taxes; punishing countries that manipulate their currencies or that dump low-cost products here; and spending $10 billion to establish "Make it in America Partnerships" similar to a public-private collaboration with Purdue University to develop advanced composite materials.

Bayh said Clinton also would demand the full return of federal assistance given to companies that later move operations out of the U.S. He referred to what he called "this disgraceful Carrier situation" – United Technologies Corp.’s plan to send to Mexico 2,100 heating and air conditioning manufacturing jobs at Carrier in Indianapolis and United Technologies Electronic Controls in Huntington.

United Technologies said last month it would not claim its $5.1 million federal tax credit and would reimburse $1.6 million in state and local incentives.

Bayh said Clinton’s proposals are "an aggressive agenda to try and preserve and grow our manufacturing base."

Clinton, a former secretary of state, senator and first lady, is "smart, she’s tough, she’ll be a fighter for working men and women, middle-class Hoosier families. … And she’s got the right policies," Bayh said.

Sanders’ campaign will be visible Sunday in Fort Wayne and elsewhere this weekend with "Dine With The 99," a nationwide series of potluck dinners calling attention to a Clinton fundraising dinner today in San Francisco where admission is reportedly $353,000 a couple. Actor George Clooney and his wife are hosts for the Clinton event.

Sunday’s potluck dinner "emphasizes the contrasting ways the campaigns are being funded," the group Northeast Indiana for Bernie Sanders said in a news release. The group said 99 percent of people cannot afford a ticket to the Clinton fundraiser.

The local Sanders potluck will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Franke Park Pond Pavilion. His campaign said a "small donation" is requested and that food donations are welcome.