Hillary hints at support for $12 minimum wage
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' Hillary Clinton praises former administration officials who testified before House as 'gutsy women' Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart MORE hinted Thursday that she's supportive of legislation hiking the minimum wage to $12.

Clinton, the front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary, has backed the concept of a wage hike on the campaign trail without specifying a figure — a reticence that's been criticized by her closest rival, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Democrats have reason to worry after the last presidential debate Krystal Ball on Sanders debate performance: 'He absolutely hit it out of the park' MORE (I-Vt.), who's pushing for a $15 rate.

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But on Thursday, after meeting with leaders of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Clinton got as close as she's come to endorsing a specific level, hinting that a $12 minimum wage proposal sponsored by Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Biz groups say Warren labor plan would be disaster Freedom of the press under fire in Colorado MORE (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottCBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion Democrats divided on surprise medical bill fix NYC teacher suing DeVos over student loan forgiveness program MORE (D-Va.) might offer a viable path forward.

"Patty Murray is one of the most effective legislators in the Senate bar none, and whatever she advocates I pay a lot of attention to because she knows how to get it through the Congress," Clinton told reporters. "Let’s not just do it for the sake of having a higher number out there, but let’s actually get behind a proposal that has a chance of succeeding. And I have seen Patty over the years be able to do just that."

Earlier in the press conference, Clinton advocated an unspecified increase in the federal minimum wage — which has stood at $7.25 per hour since 2009 — and then allowing states and local governments to make adjustments as they see fit based on regional cost-of-living variations.

She also suggested the federal minimum wage should include automatic hikes linked to the broader economy — a provision included in both the Murray-Scott $12 legislation and Sanders's $15 proposal.

"It’s going to be important that we set a national minimum, but then we get out of the way of cities and states that believe that they can and should go higher," she said. "I’ve said before that the cost of living is different in various parts of the country. I supported what New York did, what L.A. did, what other cities are doing. And I think they should be experimenting with what that will do to raise incomes and create more opportunity for people.

"But there should be a higher federal level," she added, "so I’m going to be supporting the effort to do that in Congress."