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State Rep. Dennie Oxley, D-English, right, and former President Bill Clinton share a joke during Oxley's introduction of the former president at Jasper. (Photos by Chris Adams)

President Clinton stumps region for Hillary

Touts wife's plans to jump start economy, restore middle class during visits to Jasper, Corydon

April 16, 2008
People were lined up in the parking lot of the Jasper Middle School on Thursday, three long lines, waiting to see Bill Clinton as he made his way across Indiana, campaigning for his wife. Some admitted they were not going to vote for Hillary, some still hadn't made up their minds, and some wished that Bill himself was running again.

A vendor was selling Hillary T-shirts and campaign buttons, and a campaign worker passed out "I pledge to vote for Hillary on May 6" flyers, and told the crowd it couldn't enter the gym without filling one out.

After many had waited in line for more than two hours, the doors were opened and people were allowed into the gym. It didn't take long for the bleachers to fill and those who didn't mind standing, took their places in front of the lectern — and waited some more. There were handmade signs, many colored with crayons, on the walls of the gym — "Welcome Bill Clinton" and "Welcome to Jasper" — and there was a much larger crowd than was at a roundtable with Hillary in New Albany just days earlier.

After about an hour, rumor spread that "he's here" and the excitement begin to build. Minutes later, the music playing over the sound system stopped, a curtain opened behind the stage, and State Rep. Dennie Oxley, D-English, escorted Clinton to the microphone.

"Over the last seven years, the Bush Administration has turned its back on the middle class," Oxley said. "But we can all count on Sen. Hillary Clinton to work every day on problems we're facing — rising prices and lower wages — and to provide quality, affordable health care for all Americans. It's Sen. Clinton who will have the most positive impact on our lives the next four years. There was a time, not long ago, when millions of jobs were created, we had a good economy, and there was peace throughout the world. Thank you, Bill."

Clinton tells an audience at Corydon on Monday afternoon why his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, should be the next president of the United States.
As Oxley introduced him, Clinton stepped up to the microphone, grinning.

"He was so good," Clinton said. "I didn't think I needed to say anything."

Clinton, who was also at Corydon Central Junior High School on Monday afternoon, began by mentioning that there was a group of eighth-graders present who were preparing to leave for a trip to Washington, D.C., but had postponed their departure to see him. Then, politics became his priority.

"Now, I want to talk about my candidate for president of the United States," he said "Hillary Rodham Clinton. Indiana will have a decisive impact on this presidential election. All American votes should be counted. And it's clear to me that Indiana should have an impact on this election."

Clinton went on to say that when Martin Luther King was assassinated, he was a senior in college, and that the speech given that night in Indianapolis by Bobby Kennedy will forever link Indiana to that event.

"Just two months later, he was killed, also," Clinton said. "And the young people here should realize that, as Americans, no matter what happens, we always come back. And when you young people go to Washington, remember, if we all live by the constitution, we all live by the same set of rules. America always works better when we work together."

Clinton went on to say that, with this election, history has already been made.

"All candidates will be fine, no matter what happens," he continued, "but Hillary is the most likely person to turn the economy around. We're facing a terrible financial crisis. And she will be the best at managing the military. She will be the best change-maker. The president is the chief executive. And once that person takes the oath of office, good intentions have to be turned into things that will work best for the American people."

Clinton also said that, in the last seven years, the cost of a college education has gone up 73 percent.

"And incomes are flat," he said. "We're not producing enough good jobs. When I was president, we created 22.7 million new jobs. This administration has produced five million. Incomes rose $7,500 when I was in office. Now, they're down by $1,000 a year. And middle-class America should not subsidize the loss of jobs. We cannot keep sending jobs to other countries."

Shifting to the issue of energy, Clinton said that other countries are continuing to develop more and more uses of solar energy, geothermal energy and other sources of renewable energy.

"If they can do it, so can we," he added.

He also talked about how to speed up the time that every American can buy an automobile that will get 100 miles per gallon of fuel.

"If we all had cars that would get 100 miles per gallon," Clinton said, "we could tell the folks in the Middle East to go ahead and charge $100 a barrel for their oil. We'll just keep our money at home."

Clinton then addressed the rising cost of health care.

"Every other wealthy country in the world is able to provide health care for everyone," Clinton said. "Insurance companies spend $50 million a year to figure out how not to pay for all kinds of health care in this country. Everyone should be able to buy into the same plan that members of Congress and federal employees have, and pay at a rate they can afford.

"And this country is now $4 trillion in debt, and that's a disgrace. If Hillary is elected, she'll put labor and environmental standards back in place. We can't enforce trade laws because of our deficit. Every single day, we have to borrow more money — from Japan, China, Korea and others. We have to trade, but not if we have to borrow money to do it. We need to get rid of no-bid contracts and subsidies."

Clinton went on to say that the war in Iraq was a terrible mistake.

"We should use military force only as a last resort," he said. "The time has come to start bringing our soldiers home. No one wants Iraq to fail, but they have decisions to make. They need to split the oil and share political power, but they will not make those hard decisions.

"We cannot stay there for 100 years like John McCain wants. We have used up the ground forces in this country and we have no reserves. This is severe now. And this administration has made shameful mistakes in the health care of our soldiers.

"The CEO of this country has to be a change-maker. And Hillary is the best change-maker I have ever known in my life."

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