Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton made a quick fundraising stop in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, greeting supporters gathered at the Fox Chapel home of Cindy Shapira.
The former senator of New York, former secretary of state and first lady — now the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination — arrived at the private event late in the morning.
Among the public officials who heard her speech were Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.
Mr. Fitzgerald, who introduced Ms. Clinton, said between 150 and 200 supporters were there to listen to the candidate’s wide-ranging speech.
In it, he said that she praised President Barack Obama’s record on the economy, contending that the man who beat her in the 2008 nomination battle hadn’t received enough credit for helping to pull the nation out of the worst downturn since the Great Depression. She also described the freshly negotiated Iran nuclear accord as a major accomplishment for his administration.
On a more personal note, Mr. Fitzgerald said, she talked about how she had been inspired by the recent birth of her grandchild and by the struggles of her own mother during her early years in Illinois.
“It was interesting; people often say she doesn’t connect, the way Bill Clinton can, but she really connected,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “You could see people responding to her in a positive way.”
He said she spoke for between 20 and 30 minutes, while mingling with the crowd for a little over an hour.
Nancy Patton Mills, who chairs the Allegheny County Democratic organization, called it “a great party.”
“There were a lot to traditional Hillary supporters and a lot of Obama supporters there, too,” she said.
She offered one more partisan rave for Ms. Clinton’s appearance before the supportive crowd.
“She emphasized mental health issues, and she also talked about Pittsburgh and how other cities think of Pittsburgh as a model,” she said. “We all know what it’s like when Obama or Bill Clinton enter a room — that’s setting a high bar, but she met it. Here was that kind of energy.”
Ms. Clinton’s host, Ms. Shapira, is a philanthropist, community activist and the wife of Giant Eagle executive chairman David Shapira. In the spring of 2012, she was the host of another high-profile Democratic fundraising event headlined by first lady Michelle Obama.
Also in attendance was Mark Steidl of Highland Park, a 20-year-old Community College of Allegheny County student who brought a message of advocacy for people with disabilities.
Mr. Steidl, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, carried a sign reading: #IWantToWork, referencing a national awareness campaign. He was able to attend the event after several parents and professionals crowdfunded a donation to Ms. Clinton, said his mother, Tina Calabro.
In a Facebook message to the Post-Gazette providing a photo of himself with the candidate, Mr. Steidl wrote: “Hillary Clinton was in Pittsburgh today for a fundraiser. I met her and brought a message that young people with disabilities want to work.”
He said in a subsequent telephone interview that he thought Ms. Clinton was nice and that he intended to vote for her.
The Clinton event was closed to the press, and the candidate had no public events scheduled during her brief Pittsburgh trip. A spokesman for her campaign said they would have no comment on the visit or how much money they hoped to reap from it.