But those difficulties suddenly looked like a distant memory after New York gave Clinton a blockbuster win, and she celebrated with a rousing speech to supporters in Times Square in New York City.
"The race for the nomination is in the home stretch, and victory is in sight," Clinton said to boisterous applause. "I want to say to all of my supporters ... you have carried us every step of the way, with passion and determination that some critics tried to dismiss. Because of you, this campaign is the only one, Democrat or Republican, [which has] won more than 10 million votes."
Much of Clinton's address borrowed from her stump speech, and she reiterated her pledge to curb climate change, "take on the challenge of systematic racism," and pass gun control, calling out victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.
She also took an indirect dig at her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders. While stressing that "there is much more that unites us than divides us," Clinton also suggested that her campaign is more pragmatic than the Vermont senator's.
"Under the bright lights of New York, we have seen that it's not enough to diagnose problems," Clinton said. "You have to explain how you actually solve the problems."
Below is a rush transcript of Clinton's remarks.
Thank you all so much. Thank you, you know, today, today you proved once again
There's no place like home. You know, in this campaign we have won in every region of the country. From the north, to the south, to the east, to the west.
But this one's personal. New Yorkers, you have always -- you have always had my back, and I have always tried to have yours. Today, together, we did it again — and I am deeply, deeply grateful. I want to thank everyone who came out and voted and to all of you across New York, who have known me and worked with me for so long.
It is humbling. It's humbling that you'd trust me with the awesome responsibilities that await our next president.
And to all the people who supported Senator Sanders: I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us.
You know, we started this race not far from here, on Roosevelt Island. Pledging to build on the progressive tradition that's done so much for America, from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama.
And tonight, a little less than a year later, the race for the nomination is in the home stretch, and victory is in sight. And I want to — I want to say to all of my supporters, and all of the voters: You have carried us every step of the way, with passion and determination that some critics tried to dismiss. Because of you, this campaign is the only one, Democrat or Republican, (which has) won more than 10 million votes.
But I am going forward because more voices remain to be heard. And tomorrow, it's on to Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and beyond. We need to you keep volunteering. I hope you will join the one million people who already contributed at HillaryClinton.com. And by the way, most with less than $100 because we have more work to do.
Under the bright lights of New York, we have seen that it's not enough to diagnose problems. You have to explain how you actually solve the problems. That's what we have to do — for our kids, for each other, for our country.
So I want you, with me, to imagine a tomorrow where no barriers hold you back — and all of our people can share in the promise of America. Imagine a tomorrow where every parent can find a good job and every grandparent can enjoy a secure retirement. Where no child grows up in the shadow of discrimination or under the specter of deportation. Where hard work is honored, families are supported, and communities are strong. A tomorrow where we trust and respect each other despite our differences. Because we're going to make positive differences in people's lives. That is what this is supposed to be about. Actually helping people and each other
We all know too many people who are still hurting. I see it everywhere I go. The great recession wiped out jobs, homes, and savings, and a lot of Americans haven't yet recovered. But I still believe, with all my heart, that as another great Democratic president once said: "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be cured by what's right with America." That is after all what we have always done. It's who we are.
America is a problem-solver nation. And in this campaign we are setting bold, progressive goals backed up by real plans that will improve lives, creating more good jobs that provide dignity and pride in a middle class life, raising wages and reducing inequality. Making sure all our kids get a good education no matter what zip code they live in. Building ladders of opportunity and empowerment so all of our people can go as far as their hard work and talent will take them. Let's revitalize places that have been left out and left behind — from inner cities to coal country to Indian country. And let's put Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, including our failing water systems like the one in Flint, Michigan.
There are many places across our country where children and families are at risk from the water they drink and the air they breathe. Let's combat climate change and make America the clean energy super power of the 21st Century. Let's take on the challenge of systematic racism and invest in communities of color, and finally pass comprehensive immigration reform. And once and for all, let's (have) equal pay for women.
And we are going to keep our families safe and our country strong, and we're going to defend our rights — civil rights, voting rights, workers' rights, women's rights, LGBT rights, and rights for people with disabilities. Those are, after all, New York values and they are American values. And just as we did in this primary campaign, we need to stand up for them, through the general election and every day after that.
You know, it's becoming clearer that this may be one of the most consequential elections of our lifetime. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are pushing a vision for America that's divisive and frankly dangerous: returning to trickle down economics, opposing any increase in the minimum wage, restricting a woman's right to make her own healthcare decisions, promising to round up millions of immigrants, threatening to ban all Muslims from entering the country, planning to treat American Muslims like criminals.
These things go against everything America stands for. And we have a very different vision. It's about lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. Instead of building walls we are going to break down barriers. And in this campaign I have seen again our remarkable diversity and determination. This is a state and a country of big-hearted, open-minded, straight-talking, hard-working people.
You know, like John, a firefighter from the south Bronx that I met shortly after 9/11 as he searched for survivors at Ground Zero — and like so many others — John got sick from breathing the toxic air. When we met again last week, he gave me a replica of his FDNY badge and thanked me for helping other first responders get the healthcare they need. We have to keep fighting for John and all of our firefighters and our police officers, our emergency responders and the construction workers who did so much for us.
Or Maxine, a 27-year-old single mom from Staten Island who is here tonight. She shared with me how she worked her way out of poverty, graduated from college — thanks in part to the help she got for her child from the Children's Health Insurance Program that we started in the 1990s.
Or Mikey from ... is Mikey here? Well, I will tell you, Mikey spent six months in Rikers' for a low-level drug offense. And he found out how hard it is for people who have done their time to find jobs when they get out. Mikey managed to do start his own ice cream shop. I took a lot of you in the media there yesterday. I highly recommend it — as you might have seen, I couldn't stop myself from eating it as soon as I got it. By the way, he made a concoction for me called Victory.
But Mikey is one of the many reasons why we have to reform our criminal justice system and "ban the box" so others have a fair chance to succeed. You know, New Yorkers and Americans speak every language, follow every faith, hail from every continent. Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths in the 21st Century. Not a weakness.
As Robert Kennedy, whose senate seat I was honored to hold, once said, 'we are a great country, an unselfish country, and a compassionate country.' And no matter what anyone tells you or what you might hear from others running for president, that is still true today.
America is great and we can do great things if we do them together. So, please join us, text, join, 47426, go to HillaryClinton.com. Be part of this campaign. I know how important it is that we get the campaign's resources from people just like you who go in and chip in $5, $25. I am grateful to every one of you.
And to the volunteers who have worked your hearts out. To the community leaders, members of the state senate and assembly, county executives, mayors of cities large and small, and to the mayor of New York, and our borough president, and our city council members, and to our governor, our senators, our congressional delegation.
And all my friends across this wonderful state of ours: thank you. You know, we're going to go up against some powerful forces that will do, say, and spend whatever it takes to stop us. But remember, it's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get back up.
Finally, let me say this, there is a remarkable young woman here tonight. Her name is Erica Smegielski. She lives the truth of what I've been saying every day. Erica's mother ... was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School. And she died trying to protect her children, her students.
Erica was devastated as any family member ... she couldn't imagine life without her mom. But then, she got thinking. She got back up. She'd never been involved in politics before. But she has made it her mission to advocate for common sense gun safety reform.
You know, like the mothers of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin and so many others, Erica has turned her sorrow into a strategy and her mourning into a movement. It isn't easy. But as Erika said the other day: 'what if everyone who faced tough odds said, 'It's hard? So I'm going to walk away.' That's not the type of world I want to live in."
Erica, it's not the type of world we want to live in and we refuse to live in that [world]. To my friends, that's the spirit that makes this country great. It's how New Yorkers pulled together and rebuilt our city after the worst terrorist attack in our history. It's how Americans worked our way back from the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes. And it is how we're going to break down all the barriers holding us back.
The motto of this state is Excelsior — ever upwards — so let's go out and win this election, and all rise together.