President Clinton stumps for votes in rural Oregon

Former president Bill Clinton appeared yesterday in Junction City, Albany, Monmouth, McMinnville, Oregon City, and Portland yesterday.

From the O:

Former President Clinton barnstormed through the Willamette Valley on Saturday, telling one small-town audience after another that his wife is dedicated to restoring the economic vitality of rural areas and is the best candidate to bring them health care, affordable education and energy independence. ...

Crowds ranged from about 600 to about 1,600 as people waited in long lines to get in and -- as is usually the case with Clinton -- waited for a long time inside as he quickly fell behind schedule. He finished the day by arriving at Lincoln High more than two hours late, after many people had drifted away, leaving a crowd of about 1,000.

The former president called out Reed professor and BlueOregon blogger Paul Gronke:

Earlier in the day, Clinton played up to his audience, derisively reading a quote from a Reed College professor suggesting that it was "old politics" for the Clinton campaign to send the former president through a series of small towns.

"When Hillary's campaign announced that I was going to come here and to other small communities, some of the political pundits in Portland said we were wasting our time," Clinton told the crowd in Junction City. "It really matters what happens in rural America."

Gronke responded here at BlueOregon, inviting the former president to Reed College.

Clinton also talked about the urban/rural divide:

He said that Hillary Clinton has demonstrated that she can bridge the country's urban-rural divide just as she has as a New York senator, when she won big majorities in upstate Republican counties when she ran for re-election in 2006.

He also boasted that as Arkansas' first lady, she helped bring health care and economic development programs to rural areas. ...

As president, Clinton angered many rural Oregon voters who blamed him for the huge reduction in logging on federal forests after the listing of the spotted owl as an endangered species. But there was little sign of that on his current trip, which began in the old timber mill town of North Bend on Friday night.

There, residents cheered the president when he said that his wife wanted to protect old-growth forests while thinning second-growth forests to reduce fire dangers and create more jobs. He also won plaudits for saying that she would support local efforts to devise programs to restore endangered salmon runs.

"She's got a real leg up in rural America," said Patrick Momsen, 49, of Corvallis. "Being a woman, a working mother, raising kids, she understands more than most folks what it's like to have a family."

However, Momsen said after hearing the former president speak in Albany that he remains undecided.

Discuss.

  • tb (unverified)
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    It's a bit jarring to hear a Democrat in Oregon (let alone a former Democratic President) demagogue against those big-city Portland liberal elites.

  • Ten Bears (unverified)
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    Born in a company log town, raised on a reservation, and starting my adult life on a cattle ranch, I assure you the former president did not visit "rural" Oregon.

    There's more to Oregon than just the Willamette Valley. You people think way to highly of yourselves.

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    Huh...I didn't realize that Obama didn't have a family, didn't know what it's like to raise children. I guess Michelle and the girls are stand-ins?

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    Yes, there's much more to Oregon than just the Willamette Valley - but North Bend, Junction City, and Monmouth are certainly rural Oregon.

    There's much more to rural Oregon than just Joseph and Burns.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    Oh sure, the Clintons are big boosters of blue collar. Go here http://www.cbpp.org/9-4-00inc-rep.htm to see how this has played out, and follow up on IRS.

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    Yes I can imagine what a challenge it must've been for Mrs Clinton to raise a child and take care of a family while living in the Arkansas Gov's mansion and the White House, and being a partner in a law firm. I feel her pain.

  • Ten Bears (unverified)
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    North Bend, Junction City, and Monmouth are less than an hour from The City, Burns and Joseph are a minimum of three hours from nowhere. Your snippy defense doesn't fly, Kari, Central and Eastern Oregon are not Idaho.

  • BloodDAnna (unverified)
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    I was one of the people who waited to see him in Portland and it was a rather awesome experience. While listening to him speak, I remembered why I loved him as President. I'm glad that we had the opportunity to hear President Clinton up close and personal.

  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)
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    Ten Bears speaks truth to power.

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    I found another nice link at DailyKos which reinforces some of my own personal experiences in Pennsylvania (see Pennsylvania Dreamin').

    This posting has some really cool maps, but that's not the only reason to look at it.

    I don't necessarily buy the racism pitch of the author, but the county by county plots of Obama and Clinton support are fascinating. You see a clear pattern in Appalachia--swinging north right into central PA--of very strong support for Hillary Clinton.

    That was my contention two weeks ago--culturally, Western and Central PA much closer to northern Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee then they are Philadelphia.

    I don't think coastal and southern Willamette Valley Oregon have the same cultural heritage.

    A small town, rural strategy may work in Oregon, but it better not be the same issues you were pushing in Arkansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

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    Tenbears,

    I got to ask for more on this statement above:Central and Eastern Oregon are not Idaho.

    Central Oregon, Ok. But Eastern Oregon? Western Idaho? Southeastern WA? What differentiates those two areas, other than the Snake and Columbia Rivers?

    I've stayed in Ontario, in Boise, in Burns, and driven around that part of the state. I can't see much of a transition.

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    North Bend, Junction City, and Monmouth are less than an hour from The City, Burns and Joseph are a minimum of three hours from nowhere.

    Wait a minute. The headline says "rural Oregon", not central or eastern Oregon. Huge parts of western Oregon are also rural.

    Also, I don't know what city you're talking about ("The City" usually refers to San Francisco) but if you're talking about Portland - North Bend is four hours away.

  • Curtis (unverified)
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    I saw Bill Clinton (and got to shake his hand) in Junction City and I really appreciate that he's taken the time to visit some small towns in Oregon. This was an honor to us.

    He definitely mad this case for Hillary and I intend to vote for her as soon as I get my ballot!

  • s.gothman (unverified)
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    Divide and conquer. The old Imperial stand-by. Urban vs. rural, black vs. white, rich vs. poor, English vs Español, straight vs gay, red vs. blue, me vs. you. No New Tale To Tell. Let me know when the President and Senator stop dividing and start bringing people together. Until that date, I choose not to support their outdated tactics.

  • Rulial (unverified)
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    Ten Bears,

    I’d agree that there’s a difference between the rural parts of the Willamette Valley and the rural parts of eastern Oregon. But I don’t understand your complaint about the headline. President Clinton did visit part of rural Oregon. Nobody is claiming that he visited all or a substantial portion of it.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Everybody seems angry that Clinton is visiting places outside Portland. Since when is that a bad thing?

  • Wes (unverified)
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    I don't think people are angry that anyone is visiting rural Oregon. I think people are more unhappy that the Clintons continually drive this divisive approach - always drawing a distinction between one group and another, and claiming that "only we care about your group." Whether it's rural Oregon vs. urban Oregon, or Hispanics vs. blacks, or whatever. The Clintons are masters of "divide and conquer."

    I'd rather not be divided.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    I don't buy it, Senator Clinton wasn't the candidate who called them bitter.

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    So Katy, do you think people are happy having their family-wage jobs outsourced to China?

  • Lou (unverified)
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    The Democratic Party is divided and has been for quite some time. This news should not be so shocking. The blue and the white collar Democrats have never mingled very well. Church used to be a great place for both sides to come together, but that changed after a lot of the college graduate portion of the party stopped going.

    Hillary is not helping to bridge this divide, but I do believe that Bill's tour of semi-rural/urban fringe towns in Oregon was a great idea. The best way for the party to heal its divide in Oregon is to avoid Portland as much as possible. After all its a lot easier for my truck and your bike to fit on a country road than on a crowded downtown street.

  • Gina Noble (unverified)
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    I saw President Clinton in McMinnville this weekend and it was a great and awesome experience. I loved him as a President and he's still great I think.

  • Katy (unverified)
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    Steven, Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Come on. If Obama wins I'll of course vote for him but it was a dumb thing to say - and it's stuff like that which bothers me. I just think it's smarter to go to rural communities and talk to people about the issues that matter to them instead of saying they're bitter. I don't want the folks in rural places to leave the party and I don't want them to feel alienated. The Rs will beat the crap out of him on that comment if he wins and it worries me.

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    If Hillary can't get any traction with such a ridiculous, reductionist think like Bittergate, why would McCain? I think it's smarter not to bullshit ruralites, and that what Bill Clinton is doing.

    Go home and don't come back, Bill. You and your disgusting brand of politics aren't welcome in Oregon. Hopefully in a week or so we'll get our wish and your wife will see what has been true since March 4--YOU PEOPLE LOST. GET OVER IT AND GET BEHIND THE NOMINEE.

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    Paddy can you email me at Reed? I don't know yourcurrent email. Thanks.

  • Matthew Sutton (unverified)
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    The real question is this: When Obama wins Oregon, will the Clintons call Oregon insignificant like they have the other 30 contests Senator Obama won??

  • BloodDAnna (unverified)
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    With all this talk of unity on here it sure seems awfully strange that there is so much anger towards the last Democratic president of our country. If his wife were not running, and he was out stumping for whomever the Democratic candidate was, would you all hate him just as much?

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    BDA, I can't speak for anyone else, but for me the answer is yes, because the level of loathing has been pretty consistent for me since Lani Guinier, broken promises on the abolition of welfare, murderous sanctions against Iraq long after they'd clearly failed, not only failing to intervene in Rwanda but blocking other countries from doing so, the "Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996" DBA "Father of USA PATRIOT Act" etc., etc.

    On the other hand, you might have a look at Kari's column under a title about "A Man from Hope," and question yourself a little about your generalization. It seems that there are quite a few folks around here who support Obama who have some degree of Bill nostalgia, along with Hillary fans with same.

    <h2>Actually I like Hillary better than Bill, and planned to abstain in the primary until Hillary raised her bellicosity level to the point of threatening nuclear genocide against Iran. But she's definitively answered for me her own question about who I want answering the red phone at 3 a.m., and it's the candidate who doesn't talk about nuking people.</h2>
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