Bill Clinton in Salem

Over at the Ridenbaugh Press, Randy Stapilus recaps the visit of the former president to Salem:

A few observations from Bill Clinton’s stop at Salem this afternoon:

Bill Clinton loves to campaign: You could see it. When he left Building 50 at the Chemeketa Community College after his speech, he walked out to say hello to the two or three hundred people outside, who didn’t get in. (The building held only about a thousand people.) He took his time with the overflow crowd, stopping and chatting, autographing books, holding a baby for maybe five minutes while people took pictures. For some politicians campaigning is a necessary chore en route to the goal; Bill Clinton clearly is one of those politicians who loves the campaigning. Watching him in action and the delight he takes in it, you couldn’t be surprised to see him run for county commissioner, just to do it all over again.

His speech was devoted, nearly entirely, to promoting his wife’s candidacy; references to his own presidency were tangential. His speech consisted mostly of a long series of bullet points covering the range of policy matters from health care and energy to Iraq. His speaking skills are honed to a fine enough level that it all flowed, and he was folksy at times. But the focus-grouped bullet-point construction of the stump speech was clear; it was thorough, but it didn’t inspire the way Clinton was sometimes able to do in the last decade. He got cheers periodically, but maybe less often than you might expect.

A question: Who and what were the people there to see? Plenty were there to support Hillary Clinton, of course, but a significant number were there mostly to watch Bill - to see the former president in action. More than a few people in the crowd, before the speech, were overheard remarking they weren’t especially planning to support her, and some didn’t know who they were going to vote for. But a former president was speaking in town, so they took the chance to hear him.

Read the rest. Discuss over there.


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