President Clinton visits Asheville ***UPDATED WITH VIDEO OF THE SPEECH***

Addressing a crowd of thousands at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville, former Pres. Bill Clinton praised Congressman Heath Shuler as a leader who has fought for more jobs, better education and fiscal responsibility. The Democrat is facing a challenge from Republican Jeff Miller to represent Western North Carolina’s District 11.

Imploring voters to reelect the two-term incumbent, Clinton evoked Shuler’s past football career throughout the 45-minute speech, saying, “America’s playing a football game with the rest of the world” and that he was trying to show people the “game film” of why Shuler deserves another term.

To make his case, Clinton cited Shuler’s support of pay-as-you-go budget policy, Wall Street reform, clean-energy legislation, and college-loan reform, as well as his efforts to fight childhood obesity, among other achievements.

“His ideas are better than the other guy’s; it doesn’t have anything to do with party,” Clinton asserted. “If you want to get more jobs, then you don’t have a choice: You’ve got to vote for Heath Shuler.”

Clinton described the current anti-incumbency election climate as the result of Republican policies, under former Pres. George Bush, that plunged the country into economic recession.

“After me, we went back to trickle down economics,” Clinton continued, blaming Republican policies for record deficits and high unemployment. He then criticized Miller for wanting to continue the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Clinton also railed against a media culture that “turns politicians into cardboard cutouts” and that values sound-bites more than substantive conversation.

“Our country’s got a fever,” he said, warning attendees not to be swayed by misleading commercials funded by outside groups and private interests. “They tried to do reverse plastic surgery on Heath in this campaign. … Every time you make a decision out of fear, you make a mistake.”

Clinton also thanked the crowd for giving him the opportunity to be president and offered praise for the local area, telling stories of past visits to the Grove Park Inn and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

“This is one of my favorite places in America,” he declared. “I love Asheville and I love Western North Carolina…. Heath Shuler is the leader WNC deserves.”

Video by Pete Lutz.

Photos by Michael Muller

———What follows is an aggregated Twitter feed of the day’s events——————-

Getting ready for Bill
mxnews: • The MXNews team is on-site at CityCounty plaza, watiing for Bill Clinton. The press are assembling, VIPs getting in…  9:54 AM
mxnews: • OK word from our Web desk: the hashtag should be working now… test-test… more than 2 hrs till BIll 10:11 AM
Buncombian: • Aaron is getting set up for our live broadcast for 10:15 AM
mxnews: • blake&leslie broadcasting live for 880Revolution radio today at city-county plaza 10:18 AM
mxnews: • Local Dem candidates showing up: Patsy Keever, Steve Cogburn… volunteers w/ Shuler no. 10 Tshirts 10:20 AM
mxnews: • Lines are getting longer at entries to CityCounty plaza, where BillClinton will stump for Rep HShuler, 12:30ish 10:36 AM
BlogAsheville: • Starts 12:30 RT @LocalEdgeRadio: The stage is set for . 10:42 AM
mxnews: • Some VIPs getting seats at CityCOunty plaza for BClinton/HShuler rally are Dem volunteers 10:44 AM
mxnews: • Xpressers Jake Frankel & Michael Muller have dispersed to interview people in the crowd 10:45 AM
mxnews: • Looks like security on midway rooftop, BunCo courthouse 10:48 AM
mxnews: • looks like general public now streaming in, taking up spots behind our “press circle” 10:49 AM
mxnews: • secret service just shooed us from taking early-crowd shots 10:57 AM
mxnews: • secret-service check was scheduled for 9:45, hasn’t happened yet. 10:58 AM

mxnews: • Waiting on the mystical security sweep so we can wander the crowds freely…. 11:09 AM
mxnews: • I’m standing at the courthouse in dtown Avl waiting on BillClinton, woman in crowd tells pal on cellphone 11:10 AM
mxnews: • FOX News here, interviewing bystanders behind press circle 11:11 AM
mxnews: • Sorry, bystander tells pal, “I was totally distracted by the secret service guy on the roof,” 11:14 AM
mxnews: • Early crowd-shot pic at city-county plaza, quite the media event, at least 1 hr to go 11:18 AM
mxnews: • The president speaks in about an hour. @JakeFrankel & I just conducted sveral interviews with the enthusiastic crowd 11:29 AM
mxnews: • The mood is electric. Either that or I’m really amped up on the caffeine 11:30 AM
mxnews: • Shuler’s staff (including volunteers) refuse to speak to us on camera. Total press blackout 11:31 AM

Program starts…
mxnews: • Music revs up with “its a beautiful day” 11:36 AM
mxnews: • RT @BuncombeDems: President Clinton in the House!  #wnc #ncpol 11:46 AM
mxarts: • RT @PacksTavern: Patio filling up with customers ready to see Clinton! Less then an hour before the main event & downtown is busy! 11:48 AM
mxarts: • RT @newsradio570: Crowd is gathering with all kinds of campaign signs, music is playing, happy moods, waiting on Bill Clinton. 11:49 AM
mxarts: • RT @aaronmichael104: Shooting video in downtown #avl for Bill Clinton/Shuler event Great crowd! 11:49 AM
mxnews: • Shuler volunteers handing out to water to crowd 11:49 AM
mxnews: • Oops wind’s blown u.s. flag off its stage hangers 11:50 AM
mxcalendar: • RT @JSCOTHANEY: we are in west asheville and about an hour ago 2 fighter jets were circling 11:52 AM
mxnews: • Wlos tv’s russ bowen intrviewing bun dem chair charles carter 11:55 AM
avlbizvoice: • Walked over to pack sq. Park for the rally. I think the giant flag is touching the ground 12:01 PM
avlbizvoice: • Demographic analysis….lots of older white people 12:03 PM
avlbizvoice: • Lots of windows open on the city building. Are employees enjoying the beautiful weather or music from both? 12:06 PM
avlbizvoice: • I wonder if they will announce that Shuler got US Chamber of Commerce endorsement 12:17 PM
mxarts: • RT @revpictures: wonder if bill will hit up the carolina cigar company after his speech? 12:19 PM
mxarts: • RT @juliewunder: He’s running on “Clinton” time—about an hour late 12:20 PM
mxnews: • Other faces in crowd: nc rep jane whilden, city councils brownie newman 12:22 PM
mxnews: • A sea of people behind our press circle 12:23 PM
mxnews: • Crews having to hold bottom of u.s. flag up off ground 12:24 PM
mxnews: • Wlos russ bowewn chatting with avl city council’s esther manheimer 12:26 PM
mxnews: • Crowd is pumped; almost feels like we could be at a rock show. Let’s hope Bubba brings his sax! 12:32 PM
JakeFrankel: • Crowd is pumped; almost feels like we could be at a rock show. Let’s hope Bubba brings his sax! 12:32 PM
JakeFrankel: • Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” just came on the PA to huge applause; folks singing along.  #RIPMichael 12:36 PM
mvwilliams: • I should have brought a hat 12:44 PM
avlbizvoice: • Should have gotten lunch before standing here for an hour. Hungry 12:50 PM
mvwilliams: • crowd scanning, looking for shuler & clinton… nothing yet. 12:54 PM
mvwilliams: • we’ve hacked citizen photographer jerry nelson’s old PC laptop as our fancy MacBook died 12:54 PM
mvwilliams: • ha! RT @bruisinales: Jay-Z! RT @InglesDietitian @bruisinales loving this outdoor concert. Oh wait…. 12:56 PM
mvwilliams: • what about breakfast? RT @avlbizvoice: Should have gotten lunch before standing here for an hour. Hungry 12:59 PM
mxarts: • RT @Sanuk_D: Should I streak it? 12:59 PM
mvwilliams: • a woman has been circling press area with sign “not fooled by media” 1:01 PM
mvwilliams: • bun co dem chair charles carter says “elvis is in the bldg,” asks reverend to bless the day’s event 1:03 PM
mvwilliams: • BC Dem chair CCarter: local candidates in audience, u need to meet them 1:05 PM
mvwilliams: • 6,000 have voted in buncombe county early voting, BC Dem chair CCarter reports 1:06 PM
mvwilliams: • BC Dem Charir CC says BC Sheriff Van Duncan escorting “the big guy” but don’t see ‘em yet. Pledge o’ Allegiance 1:06 PM
mvwilliams: • local singer kat williams singing national anthem 1:07 PM
mvwilliams: • oops there goes the U.S. Flag again; wind whipped it down… again 1:07 PM
mvwilliams: • kat williams singing a capella… a capello? 1:09 PM
mvwilliams: • BTW this is Xpress news editor MV Williams tweeting live from the get-out-the-vote rally, avl city-county plaza 1:10 PM
avlbizvoice: • Making constituents wait? People restless as president clinton and shuler take pictures. Why not before? 1:12 PM
mvwilliams: • BC Dem Chair CCarter touting HShuler’s dedication to WNC … 1:13 PM
avlbizvoice: • Some people leaving rally. Too long of a wait?  1:14 PM
mvwilliams: • another wait…. 1:15 PM
fobes: • RT @McRaeHilliard: big crowd in Asheville waiting for Bill #Clinton. 1:19 PM
fobes: • 12:58pm RT @asheville: Bill Clinton’s plane has touched down in Asheville. Motorcade on its way to downtown.  1:19 PM
mvwilliams: • More speakers, dem says bill’s always late 1:20 PM
mvwilliams: • Dem speaker tells those who havnt voted: poll headqtrs just a few feet away 1:22 PM
mvwilliams: • Dem guy leading song: this land is yr land… 1:23 PM
mvwilliams: • He knows all the words… so does much of crowd 1:24 PM
fobes: • RT @BlogAsheville: 1:23 pm, no Clinton yet. Twitter says delayed plane touched down @ 1pm. 1:25 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill bill bill bill … crowd chanting 1:25 PM
fobes: • RT @goasheville: What a beautiful day for the former prez to speak! Hope he brings his sax! 1:27 PM
fobes: • RT @derfregen: @ courthouse 1:27 PM
BlogAsheville: • RT @derfregen: @ courthouse   • 1:29 PM
mvwilliams: • Renewed chanting for “bill” 1:29 PM
mvwilliams: • Kat williams leading new song: when the night… stand by me 1:31 PM
BlogAsheville: • RT @Agnes_Cheek: @LocalEdgeRadio broadcasting from downtown waiting for former prez 1:31 PM
fobes: • RT @jaimemckee: entertainment as people wait for former Pres. Clinton to arrive. 1:32 PM
BlogAsheville: • C-T stream still bad. I’m listening to audio livecast from @880revolution   • 1:33 PM
fobes: • 1:33pm RT @Ro_ACTmojo: Mayor Bellamy taking her seat… that would lead me to believe Clinton is coming out soon. 1:35 PM
mvwilliams: • Kat williams jokes: now we’ll start dancing with the candidates segment… 1:37 PM
mvwilliams: • Kat jokes she hope bill c brought his sax cuz that’s what it’s gonna cost him 1:39 PM
mxarts: • RT @bouchonaville: Kat Williams is amazing.  She is a treasure 1:39 PM
fobes: • RT @McRaeHilliard: Noticeable amounts of people leaving already. 1:40 PM
fobes: • RT @thepetelutz: Kat Williams is killing it. The crowd is satisfied for now. 1:41 PM
fobes: • RT @McRaeHilliard: This plan may backfire because right now, I want to vote for Kat Williams. 1:41 PM
mxarts: • RT @AVLMaltMama: Drinking a Yuengling at packs waiting on 1:41 PM
BlogAsheville: • FWIW, choppy AC-T lives webstream is here Action slowly kicking off downtown 1:41 PM
mvwilliams: • Kat w signs off… wheres bill? 1:43 PM
mvwilliams: • Restless crowd hecklin press to get down… 1:45 PM
mvwilliams: • Hear sirens 1:46 PM
rsulock: • RT @Agnes_Cheek: tune in live for • 1:46 PM

Clinton arrives
mvwilliams: • Shuler and clinton take stage 1:47 PM
BlogAsheville: • RT @rsulock: RT @Agnes_Cheek: tune in live for •  1:47 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill’s shorter than heath… 1:48 PM
mvwilliams: • Lots of waving, cheering etc etc 1:49 PM
mvwilliams: • Heath shuler takes podium: proud of everyone showing up, proud when prez 1st called, asked him to serve wnc 1:50 PM
mvwilliams: • Hshuler calls bill friend, some in crowd: oh no, others: love bill! 1:51 PM
BlogAsheville: • Citizen Times “live feed” is prerecorded. Clinton is live on 880 The Revolution though   • 1:52 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill’s got the ol’ hoarse vote… says he ran for prez even when only mother thought he could win… 1:53 PM
rsulock: • RT @Agnes_Cheek: @LocalEdgeRadio Heath Shuler talking about the importance of getting out to vote, his calls from and their friendship 1:53 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill c says when he was in his 20s, he read all thomas wolfe’s bks, loves avl 1:54 PM
mvwilliams: • Uh oh xpress resorting to handwritten notes as technology runs out of juice 1:55 PM
mvwilliams: • Folks, xpress feeds running out of juice 1:57 PM
rsulock: • RT @bruisinales: President Bill Clinton. Listening to speech now. 1:57 PM
mvwilliams: • Clinton: Wnc, america need shuler; more information avail today with media but harder to get past slogan 1:57 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill jokes: great thing about being ex prez, u can say what u want… but nobody listens… unless your wife is sec of state 1:59 PM
BlogAsheville: • C-T feed is REALLY behind RT @Ashevegas: @BlogAsheville CT feed may be slow, but it is not pre-recorded.  • 2:00 PM
rsulock: • RT @JerriJameson: Clinton – nobody’s talking to America and explaining what’s going on. 2:00 PM
mvwilliams: • Clinton: But important those in washingtn listen to people not $$ 2:00 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: tea party candidates have made current races “interesting” 2:02 PM
mxarts: • RT @thesavvyeater: Trying to catch a glimpse of the motorcade from the top….. (@ Hotel Indigo – Avl Dntwn) 2:03 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: 3 thgs mattr: where r we; what shld we do now & who’s most likely to do it? 2:03 PM
rsulock: • RT @bruisinales: “Where are we? What are we gonna do? Who’s more likely to do it?” – President Clinton 2:04 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill jokes he’s reached age he resents heath is taller, youngr better looking 2:04 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: pretend we’re football team playing rest of world… 2:05 PM
rsulock: • RT @brainshrub: LOL “I’ve reached the age where I’m entitled to my resentments.” – Bill Clinton 2:05 PM
mvwilliams: • After bill (says bill) econ went back to trickle down econ before crash, lost jobs… have got back 70%, better than some countries 2:07 PM
rsulock: • RT @JerriJameson: Clinton: don’t believe name calling going on. 2:08 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: where r jobs? Startups, greenjobs, etc 2:09 PM
mvwilliams: • Jobs out there but u.s. society not as mobile, can’t sel homes to move, bills says 2:10 PM
avlstreetstyle: • RT @newsradio570: “I don’t know what we’d do without Heath Shuler humanizing the Senate ” -President Clinton   2:11 PM
rsulock: • RT @JerriJameson: Clinton – America has more young people starting college but less finishing than other nations 2:12 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: increasing number of jobs require training, education 2:12 PM
mxarts: • RT @aaronmichael104: ” 3 question we should ask-Where are we, what r we going to do, who’s more likely to do it”-President Clinton 2:12 PM
rsulock: • RT @derfregen: better view 2:13 PM
mvwilliams: • Republican idea for economy is make perm the tax cuts for those making $250000 2:14 PM
mxarts: • RT @newsradio570: “If you want to get more jobs you need to vote Heath Shuler for Congress. Its simple.” -President Clinton 2:15 PM
mvwilliams: • bill: but for every $5 to rich only 50cents back in econ. Help incomes below 250000, small biz, get more $ into econ 2:16 PM
rsulock: • RT @jaimemckee: Clinton’s up there somewhere. 2:17 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill touts legislation shuler has supported that boosts green energy, small biz 2:17 PM
mvwilliams: • In 2009 u.s. producing only 2% hightech batteries, will be a big %  by 2014 2:18 PM
mvwilliams: • If u want u.s. to claim these green & other jobs, vote shuler 2:19 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: shuler voted for wall st reform & supports bil to ban future bank bailouts 2:21 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: to young people.. shuler voted increase education $ help, reform student loans, pell grants etc 2:23 PM
mvwilliams: • U.s. 1st in college going but 9th in finishing says bill 2:24 PM
h0zae: • RT @JerriJameson: Clinton-to young ppl: Shuler voted for bill that changes student loan programs to help save students money 2:24 PM
mxarts: • RT @newsradio570: Heath Voted for the most increse to education so young people can go to school-President Clinton 2:25 PM
rsulock: • RT @JerriJameson: Clinton-to young ppl-Shuler voted for bill that changes student loan programs to help save students money 2:25 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill getting warmd up. “Follow the $” repubs want middlemen back in student loan program cuz they make $ 2:26 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: if young people don’t vote committing malpractice on student program 2:27 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: I hate debt. Left surplus. But image is dems wildeyed crazy spenders & repubs conserv with $ 2:28 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: repub trickle down econ doesn’t work (paraphrasing) 2:29 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: repubs cut taxes while adding wars, drug benefits, other programs 2:31 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: dems get bum wrap. We’re pay as u go party & so is bluedog dem shuler 2:32 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: mentions health care, soc security: don’t privatize. 2:33 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: repub plan to cut top taxes and incrs military, othr spending but cut educ, health “not realistic” 2:35 PM
mvwilliams: • Shuler has stood at kind of parade rest whole time clinton spkg 2:36 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill: shuler has earned re election 2:37 PM
BlogAsheville: • Clinton thanking crowd, signing off   •  2:37 PM
h0zae: • RT @BlogAsheville: Clinton thanking crowd, signing off   •  2:38 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill thanks everyone, heads into vip crowd 2:38 PM
mxcalendar: • RT @newsradio570: “I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for letting me be President”-President Clinton 2:38 PM
mvwilliams: • Vip area includes dem party volunteers 2:39 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill chatting with formr avl vicemayor gene ellison 2:40 PM
mvwilliams: • Bill’s working thrfu crowd 2:43 PM
fobes: • RT @JerriJameson:Clinton:ppl borrowing student loan now saves $1300 on every $10K borrowd. No 1 will have 2 drop out of collge again 3:13 PM
fobes: • RT @JenRennicks: : “Shuler supported a #cleanenergy jobs bill to create green jobs here in America: wind panels, electric vehicles” 3:14 PM
fobes: • RT @JenRennicks: : “#Cleanenergy would help us modernize our economy & reclaim our global leadership through #wind and #solar” 3:15 PM
fobes: • Good photo of arriving: RT @derfregen: better view 3:16 PM
fobes: • RT @brainshrub: LOL “I’ve reached the age where I’m entitled to my resentments.” – Bill Clinton 3:17 PM
fobes: • RT @Agnes_Cheek: : Wall Street Reforms: Wall street banks caused the problem of the economic collapse 3:18 PM
fobes: • RT @Agnes_Cheek: : The new bill will make it so Wall St. isnt allowed to get more bailouts. 3:18 PM
fobes: • RT @aaronmichael104: : “If you want these job and want America to reclaim world leadership vote Heath Shuler”-President Clinton 3:19 PM

Clinton leaves and other remarks:
mvwilliams: • And bill leaves the crowd… 2:50 PM
mvwilliams: • Mtn x news team collapsing at jimmyjohns for … breakfast! 2:58 PM
fobes: • 2:50 pmRT @Ro_ACTmojo: Bill Clinton just finished shaking hands and signing autographs. Hope you are not on I-26 3:09 PM
fobes: • RT @derfregen: 3:11 PM
fobes: • RT @timeinch: man (hunter) landed at private airport 10mins be4 to walk across runway w 12-gauge & pistol. security intervened. 3:17 PM
fobes: • Hunter w shotgun at airport escorted off by security; was unaware of arriving 10mins later Via @timeinch 3:22 PM

————END aggregated Twitter feed——————

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17 thoughts on “President Clinton visits Asheville ***UPDATED WITH VIDEO OF THE SPEECH***

  1. J

    How two years can make a difference!

    Back in 2008, ScruHoo was opining that Bill Clinton was a race-baiter:

    Now Gordon’s out there supporting the race-baiter. There’s something to be said for partisanship/tribalism, it helps bridge the differences we used to have (or discard previous concerns).

  2. “Bill Clinton represents everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party. “
    True that…all style and no substance.
    A monumental disappointment.

  3. UnaffiliatedVoter

    Did anyone hear Billary MENTION Obama at all?

    Did Heath Shuler announce how much money he raised in Memphis TN yesterday???

  4. Gordon Smith

    I hate that I missed this today. Thanks for the reportage. I’m proud of Asheville for being host to so many national political figures over the last few years.

    I see that Jake Frankel, Michael Muller and Margaret Williams co-authored this report. Folks ought to read bylines more often.

  5. UnaffiliatedVoter

    Did Billary explain HOW Shuler would ‘create jobs’? Seems like ALL candidates feel they can do it, but never can…why is that?

  6. Dionysis

    “Did anyone hear Billary MENTION Obama at all?”

    Now stand at the chalkboard and write the following 100 times:

    Obama is not running for re-election this year. Obama is not running for re-election this year.
    Obama is not running for re-election this year.

    Now you try it.

  7. BigAl

    Barry O may not be running, but this election is CLEARLY a referendum on the public’s reaction to his first two years as President.

    Now go clean your own blackboard.

  8. BigAl

    OK, before some egg-head nit-picks my grammar, I realize that “referendum” implies “public reaction”, and what I should have said was:

    Barry O may not be running, but this election is CLEARLY a referendum on his first two years as President.

  9. JWTJr

    D, shoving your head in the sand to cover your ears and repeating the same thing over and over won’t make the Democrat problem go away.

    BO is toxic … get it … BO is toxic?

    I’m a lyrical genius.

  10. hal millard

    Thanks for the 2,917 words via Twitter feeds. Sooooo helpful, and sooooo interesting. If MX is going to use Twitter, which it seems hellbent on doing, then for godsakes please learn how to do it. Otherwise, it’s just ponderous B.S. posing as “journalism.”

  11. Piffy!

    b]. If MX is going to use Twitter, which it seems hellbent on doing, then for godsakes please learn how to do it. [/b]

    Actually, they are doing it right.

    That’s how it looks.

    I’m curious, tho cullen, how do you think one should ‘do it’?

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