Clinton rallies support for Obama in Raleigh
More than 4,000 North Carolinians gathered in Pullen Park in Raleigh Sunday afternoon to hear former President Bill Clinton campaign for President Barack Obama’s reelection bid.
“He’s [Obama] outperformed Europe, he’s outperformed his predecessor, and he deserves a chance to finish the job,” Clinton said, as supporters waved American flags and signs chanting “Forward, not back.”
In earlier weeks polls projected Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney winning North Carolina. However recent polls, including the Elon University Poll released October 29, revealed that the race might actually be much closer. The Elon Poll had the candidates tied in a dead heat with each at 45 percent.
This led the Obama campaign to quickly organize the rally in Raleigh, which also featured appearances by U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, Lt. Governor Walter Dalton and former Governor Jim Hunt.
Clinton was the main draw though, and he enthusiastically praised Obama’s first term on issues ranging from the economy to foreign policy.
Clinton geared a portion of his speech to college students by discussing Obama’s college loan reform bill, which he called “the most important piece of legislation nobody seems to be talking about.” Clinton explained how the bill would enable students to pay off loans at a fixed interest for up to 20 years, making it possible for more students to afford college.
Clinton delivered the speech with his well-known wit and charm, cracking jokes throughout. At times he mimicked Romney’s lack of specifics on his budget plan, and poked fun at the “binders full of women” comment Romney made in the second debate.
“He [Obama] has neutralized terrorists, he has created a world with more allies than adversaries, and he has a heck of a Secretary of State,” Clinton said, referring to his wife Hillary Clinton.
Raghauerndra Narasimhan, who immigrated from India in 1992, said he has loved listening to Clinton speak since he moved to this country.
“I’m just tickled to death watching the guy,” Narasimhan said. “He gave a very funny but analytical and accurate speech. He explains President Obama’s policies better than Obama does himself.”
Narasimhan also said he was “terrified” of a Romney administration, saying “He’s just consistently wrong on every issue.”
NC State University foreign exchange students Meaghan Bowdoyn of Australia, 20, and Rebecca Sheaver of the United Kingdom, 19, could hardly contain their excitement after the speech.
“We love Bill Clinton,” Bowdoyn said. “He’s pretty much our idol.”
When asked why they were supporting Obama, even though they cannot vote, Sheaver said, “He wants to do a lot of things we already have at home, like health care for everybody.”