Hillary Clinton rallies supporters for Martha Coakley, focuses on family issues

Hillary Clinton campaigns for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in Boston on Friday, focusing on the need for equal pay for women, better child care, more sick days, and paid family leave.

Stephan Savoia/AP
Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley listens at left as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a Coakley campaign event at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014.

Hillary Rodham Clinton rallied supporters for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in downtown Boston on Friday, focusing on family issues that have been a centerpiece of campaigns by Democrats across the country in this midterm election.

In her remarks to the packed ballroom crowd at the Park Plaza Hotel, Clinton hammered on the need for equal pay for women, better child care, more sick days and paid family leave.

In her 25-minute-long remarks, the former first lady and secretary of state also recounted her challenges being a young working mother. She also talked about swapping stories about grandchildren with other politicians backstage.

Gov. Deval Patrick and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey also attended the rally.

Clinton's visit comes after her husband, former President Bill Clinton, campaigned for Coakley in Worcester last week.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination if she decides to run, is headed later to Providence, Rhode Island, to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo.

Coakley, the state's attorney general, is looking to regain momentum against Republican candidate Charlie Baker in a race that has drawn national attention — and star power.

First lady Michelle Obama campaigned for Coakley in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood this month, and Vice President Joe Biden will headline a fundraiser Wednesday.

Baker, a former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, meanwhile, had 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, stump for him this year.

Recent polls suggest Baker's campaign has gained momentum as the Nov. 4 election approaches.

A poll released Thursday by The Boston Globe on Thursday showed Baker with the support of 45 percent compared to 36 percent for Coakley. The margin of error in the poll was 4 percentage points.

Coakley's campaign released a statement calling the Globe poll an "outlier" and said other public surveys, as well as the campaign's own internal polling, suggested a much closer race.

Democrats are looking to gain ground in statehouses across the country this year. The party holds 21 governor's offices to Republicans' 29. There are 36 gubernatorial elections this November.

Coakley also is looking to erase the memory of her surprise 2010 defeat to Scott Brown in the special election to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Three independent candidates are also on the Massachusetts ballot.

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Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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