While Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, had to settle for throwing rhetorical shots at Hillary Rodham Clinton from across the Capitol Tuesday — quipping, "I wonder if she brought her emails ," — Rep. Mia Love talked with Clinton directly, in the very same room.
The Utah freshman was the only Republican who got to enjoy a personal audience with the 2016 presidential candidate during her visit to Capitol Hill. Clinton, a former senator herself, was there to meet with House and Senate Democrats . She also chatted with various breakout groups, including the Congressional Black Caucus, a group made up entirely of Democrats save one.
"The CBC is bipartisan, and so we deliberately kept the conversation at a policy level," said CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., though he told reporters he personally thinks Clinton will "energize our base."
Butterfield said he was gratified Clinton was "very well briefed" on the CBC's "10-20-30" plan, which would direct at least 10 percent of Rural Development investments to communities where at least 20 percent of the population has lived below the poverty threshold for at least 30 years.
"We have a pledge from Mrs. Clinton that if elected president, she will work untiringly to address the question of poverty," he said.
But for Love, even discussions of poverty inside the members-only briefing were inherently partisan.
As she exited the meeting Tuesday, Love told CQ Roll Call that while everyone agrees ending poverty is a priority, they disagree on solutions.
"I think it's important to make sure we aren't making it easier for people to be dependent. We have to make sure we're making poverty temporary, not just tolerable," Love continued. "We have to make sure we're pushing upward mobility ... so I hope we could end all the rhetoric and really talk about how we're going to bring the lowest common denominator up."
She said she hoped Clinton "is open to some ideas for free market practices. ... When we talk about limited government, it's not just cutting everything, it's everything being applied to at the appropriate level, which means the federal government doesn't have to do everything, that we can empower communities to be able to take care of their own."
Love said she had a chance to directly question Clinton once, and asked about the Iran nuclear agreement.
"She supports the president ," Love said. "I don't. I think we're dealing with agencies that do not value women and children and human life the way we do and so they cannot be trusted."
"I wish I could have chimed in on more of the conversation, but it was very limited," said Love, who seemed to get a particular thrill out of her outlier status in the CBC. She is one of three black Republicans serving in Congress, and the only one who has opted to have a CBC membership.
"I was the only Republican in there!" she said, laughing.