Former President Bill Clinton barnstormed North Carolina Friday, March 28, and ended his daylong, seven-city tour at Asheville High School’s gymnasium, where he told a cheering crowd of about 2,000 people why he thought Sen. Hillary Clinton, his wife, is the best choice for president.
After an introduction by state Rep. Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, Clinton began his talk by quoting Asheville’s native son Thomas Wolfe, and said that he and his family spent a memorable family vacation at the Grove Park Inn in 1987. Then Clinton launched into a detailed discourse on why Hillary Clinton was the best choice for president.
On the war in Iraq, Hillary Clinton would bring troops home but supports leaving a contingent in the northern part of the country, Bill Clinton said. She would work to pull the economy up by rebuilding a budget surplus and ending “trickle-down economics” that help the wealthy but not the working class. And her universal-health-care plan would cover 100 percent of Americans, he said.
Clinton also said his wife was the best choice for president in two other key areas: making change and not forgetting “what you look like” once she’s elected. “The only change that matters when it’s said and done is whether your life changes and is better, and your community and your schools and your economy and your state and this great nation and ultimately the world,” he said. “Who is the best change-maker? I believe she is, and I’ll tell you why,” he said, citing examples from her time after college working with the Children’s Defense Fund to helping build a rural-development bank in Arkansas.
In the course of his hour-long speech, Clinton mentioned the presumptive Republican nominee for president, U.S. Sen. John McCain, by name several times, but never mentioned Hillary Clinton’s Democratic rival, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.
Hillary Clinton and Obama are in a tight race to win their party’s nomination to run for president, with both candidates fighting for every party delegate. Both candidates have geared up campaigns in North Carolina in advance of the May 6 primary election.
Bill Clinton, who shook hands, posed for photos and signed autographs after the speech, told the crowd that he asked his wife how she would know she was successful if she became president.
“She gave one of the best answers I think I’ve ever heard. She said, ‘If I am fortunate enough to serve, I would believe I have been faithful to the American people if I could say three things when it was all over. Number one, the American people are better off when I quit than when I started. Number two, the young people of our country, our children and grandchildren, have a much brighter future than they did before I served. And number three, our country and this troubled but fascinating world are coming together instead of being torn apart.’ You want a president who can say yes, yes, yes to those things. I believe with all my heart that she’s the person most likely to be able to answer all those questions ‘yes.’”