VOL. 131 | NO. 31 | Friday, February 12, 2016
Clinton Rallies 700 in Whitehaven on Second Day of Early Voting
By Bill Dries
Former President Bill Clinton rallied the Democratic base in Whitehaven Thursday, Feb. 11, with a standing room only speech of nearly an hour in the gymnasium of Whitehaven High School.
Former President Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife, Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton, Thursday, Feb. 11, at Whitehaven High School to a standing room only crowd. (Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)
Clinton campaigned for his wife, Democratic Presidential contender and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the second day of early voting in advance of the March 1 Tennessee Presidential primaries.
“Hillary has said to me in private what she is now beginning to say in public,” Clinton told the crowd of 700 as his wife was debating Democratic rival and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Milwaukee Thursday evening.
In the Memphis campaign stop, the former President said his wife wants to reclaim the “American dream” for everyone.with an economy that is “inclusive.”
He also acknowledged there is anger that a recovering economy will bypass some Americans.
“So there is a lot of unease, uncertainty and predictable anger that once again almost all the gains are going to people at the very top,” he said.
The theme of economic equality is one the Clinton and Sanders campaigns have addressed in different ways.
Bill Clinton linked his own record in two terms as President to that of outgoing President Barack Obama. He also touted his wife’s record as Secretary of State and U.S. Senator.
Sanders has ripped Clinton for not doing enough to stop the national recession and to regular Wall Street.
He’s also linked her to the lack of regulation of Wall Street’s excesses.
“The crisis was brought about because the system was rigged,” Bill Clinton said Thursday in Memphis. “There have always been those who were too greedy. There have always been people who would take advantage. That’s what we are supposed to have government for … managing the risk and prosecuting the abuses.”
He also differed on Sanders’ call for free tuition to state colleges and universities. Clinton saying those who can pay should and those who can’t shouldn’t be saddled with long term student debt.
Tennessee Republican Party executive director Brent Leatherwood said the Memphis stop amounted to the Clinton campaign “trying to out flank a Socialist,” a reference to Sanders.
But the former President said his wife’s experience in the Senate and her ability to compromise makes her more likely than Sanders to accomplish the goals they agree on. He specifically said it makes her more likely to get the 60 votes necessary in the Senate to end any expected filibuster that has stalled every attempt at health care reform for more than a generation.
“That requires a President who knows how to stand her ground and knows when to compromise,” he said. “You need a President who can take the heat.”
In a wide-ranging speech, Clinton also said the next President could appoint one to three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and that a Democratic president could reverse rulings by the court on climate change and unlimited political contributions by corporate interests.
And he accused “far right groups” who benefitted from the Citizens United campaign finance ruling of trying to roll back voting rights
“They want the Presidential years to look more like the midterm years,” he said, referring to Congressional election cycles with no Presidential race in the ballot when he as well as Obama lost Democratic majorities in Congress two years into their respective administrations.
Clinton spent 25 minutes after his speech shaking hands with those at the Whitehaven rally and posing for selfies before sprinting to a waiting car outside the gym.
He was introduced by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen as “my friend and my President.” Cohen was an early backer of Obama in the 2008 race for the Democratic nomination when Hillary Clinton was the early favorite to be the Democratic nominee.
Cohen has been an early and vocal backer of Clinton’s 2016 bid, introducing her at a rally last year at LeMoyne-Owen College.
As the local Clinton campaign takes shape in Memphis, the local Sanders campaign opens its headquarters in East Memphis Saturday.
Backers of Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump said this week Trump’s campaign has committed to an appearance by Trump in Shelby County before the March 1 election day.