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Crowd packs student union to hear Bill Clinton at Clark College in Vancouver

Oregon governor endorses Hillary Clinton for president

By Katie Gillespie, Columbian Education Reporter, and
Amy Libby, Columbian Web Editor
Published: March 21, 2016, 6:00pm
5 Photos
President Bill Clinton, speaks at Clark College in Vancouver Monday March 21, 2016. Clinton is speaking on behalf of his wife and Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
President Bill Clinton, speaks at Clark College in Vancouver Monday March 21, 2016. Clinton is speaking on behalf of his wife and Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. (Natalie Behring/ The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Former President Bill Clinton took the stage to campaign for his wife and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a little after 6 p.m. at Clark College in Vancouver. The president joked about being late due to rush-hour traffic on Interstate 5 from Portland before speaking for about an hour on topics ranging from Hillary Clinton’s Republican and Democratic opponents and economics to education and the environment.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who said he’s known Hillary Clinton since 1992, introduced Bill Clinton to a packed student union at Clark College. “We’re going to elect Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States.”

Clinton, who sounded like he was losing his voice but still drew laughs and cheers from the enthusiastic crowd, immediately implored people to turn out for the caucuses on Saturday.

The audience at the community college was enthusiastic when Bill Clinton addressed the cost of education.

“We should have a system where every person can graduate (college) completely debt free,” he said of Hillary Clinton’s education plans. “Did you know college loans are the only loans you can’t refinance?”

“Yes,” could be heard from the crowd.

He took a jab at Trump’s proposal for building a wall at the Mexican border. “He’s shooting at the wrong target,” adding illegal immigration into the U.S. peaked five years ago.

Clinton praised President Barack Obama’s accomplishments in office, addressing health care, education, job growth and diversity. “He’s done a better job than most people give him credit for.”

Clinton also addressed the opportunity for jobs in the clean energy field and in manufacturing. “We should bring those jobs back to the United States, where we can do this work,” he said to applause.”Two thirds of all the jobs created in the United States … were created by small businesses.”

Clinton talked until after 7 p.m. before heading off stage to chat with a few people in the crowd and shake hands before leaving for a private event.

Earlier, the crowd was tightly packed into the student union at Clark College when volunteers worked to squeeze in another hundred people. Half an hour earlier, a chant of “Hillary, Hillary, Hillary,” broke out in the small venue as people waited for Bill Clinton to take the stage.

Sen. Annette Cleveland took the stage a little before 6 p.m. to speak for Hillary Clinton. “The time is now,” the Vancouver Democrat said. “The time is now to level the playing field so corporations pay their fair share.

“She is the only candidate who has broad, diverse experience in … relationship building.”

“We have before us in Hillary Clinton an eminently qualified, tested leader,” Cleveland said. “The time is now to elect her president of the United States.”

28 Photos
Crowds wait for the arrival of President Bill Clinton, will speak at Clark College in Vancouver Monday March 21, 2016. Clinton is speaking on behalf of his wife and Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Bill Clinton in Vancouver Photo Gallery

According to video shared by KATU, Bill Clinton made an unannounced stop at Powell’s Books in Portland before heading across the river to Vancouver. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president Monday, was also in the crowd at the bookstore.

“Hillary Clinton is the fighter Oregon families need in the White House and I am proud to endorse her candidacy for President. Hillary and I share a bold, progressive agenda that aims to break down the barriers that hold working families back and ensures that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed,” Brown said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, several hundred people were in the umbrella-dotted line, waiting in a light rain to see the former president speak. A slew of media vans from Portland were already parked on campus.

“I’ve always liked Bill. I just thought he was amazing in office. And Hillary’s going to be just as amazing,” said Cindy Bothwall, 61. She and two friends had been waiting in line to see Clinton speak since about 2:30 p.m.

Bundled against the rain, Tracy Leask, 45, added: “I’m looking forward to hearing about foreign policy. Obviously being from England, it’s always nice to hear that people in America know what else is going on the world.”

Melissa Lile, 42, thought seeing the former president would be a good lesson in politics for her 12-year-old son, Aidan Xander. For Lile, who said her son has health care because of Obamacare, women’s issues and health care were the topics that drew her to Hillary Clinton’s camp.

“I’m here to support Hillary,” Lile said. “I brought my son today because I wanted him to see the process and to see people supporting who they believed in — a little bit of activism. … This is probably the first presidential election where he’s going to fully understand.”

Aidan, holding a sign thanking the Clintons, hoped to come away from the speech with “knowledge about election.”

With Saturday’s caucuses approaching, not everyone in the crowd was a longtime Clinton fan.

“I’m undecided so I wanted to come out and see if he could convince me to side for Hillary,” said 17-year-old Dylan Truong.

“This is my first political event,” said Amber Rose, 39, wearing a Bill Clinton button featuring a vintage picture of the former president. “I haven’t made a decision just yet but I’m definitely leaning toward” Hillary Clinton.

Bill Clinton spoke earlier today in Spokane.

A second Clinton event, later Monday evening, is a private fundraiser at the Evergreen Highlands home of Craig Hartzman and Jim Johns, hosted by Hartzman, Johns and Jane and Paul Jacobsen. The prices listed on the website are $2,700 per “champion” and $1,000 per “guest.” “Champions” get their photograph taken with the former president.

Bill Clinton full speech

A rally for Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., brought more than 7,000 people to Hudson’s Bay High School on Sunday. Both Democratic presidential candidates’ appearances come about a week in advance of the party’s caucuses this Saturday, where the party will select its convention delegates.


Columbian Education Reporter