Clinton decries 'scorched-earth politics' in Washington

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decried the "scorched-earth politics" that led to the government shutdown at a campaign event for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Saturday.

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In her first explicitly political public event since becoming Secretary of State at the beginning of President Obama's first term, Clinton chided Republicans in Washington for operating in an "evidence-free zone where ideology trumps everything else."

Clinton said during her decades of public service, she had "seen leaders who are divisive and I've seen leaders who are unifiers," then decrying congressional Republicans as having displayed "the wrong type of leadership."

The Clintons are long-time friends of McAuliffe, who served as the head of the Democratic National Committee during President Clinton's time in the Oval Office. His bid to become Virginia's governor has served as a platform for Clinton's reemergence into political life. In addition to the "Women for Terry" event on Saturday, Clinton has hosted a pair of public fundraisers for the candidate.

Her appearance also continued to stoke speculation that she herself could be considering a White House bid.

The former secretary of State noted that during her time away from the political world, she had thought a lot about the nation and "what kind of leadership is required to keep it great."

"Yours!" an attendee at the crowd shouted, earning laughs and applause.

Clinton's appearance at the event dovetailed well with the strengths of McAuliffe's campaign, which has maintained a small but steady lead in the polls heading into the election early next month.

McAuliffe has been boosted largely by a coalition of women voters and government workers and contractors who live in the Northern Virginia suburbs. The former first lady played to both groups in her remarks, saying that his candidacy would represent "turning from divisive politics" in an apparent swipe at Tea Party Republicans. She also said McAuliffe would "move toward a new economy" under which equal work really does mean equal pay."