With support from Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has no shortage of reputable endorsements here in Pennsylvania. But with the April 22 Democratic Primary right around the corner, Sen. Clinton’s most recognizable supporter visited Chester County Tuesday to campaign on his wife’s behalf. Former President Bill Clinton addressed over 400 supporters inside the Charles Street headquarters of the United Steelworkers of America’s Local 1165.
Among Clinton’s major talking points were the country’s mortgage crisis, the rising cost of energy, and the nation’s health care problems. Clinton blamed the current state of the nation’s economy for these problems and more.
“This country works better when it is a country of shared prosperity and shared ?responsibilities,” Clinton said. The former president’s trip to the steelworker’s union hall was his first since July 17, 1992, one day after he had accepted his party’s nomination at the Democratic Convention in New York.
Clinton’s most recent visit to Coatesville was one of impeccable timing, considering it came just days after democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama called people in small town America “bitter” at a closed door fundraiser in San Francisco over the weekend. Sen. Clinton quickly pounced on Obama’s remarks at a press conference where she coined the Illinois senator “elitist and out of touch.”
Coatesville, also referred to as “The Pittsburg of the East” is known for its prominent steel industry, but like many other specialized industrial towns it has seen its fair share of economic hardships, perhaps making it the perfect forum for Clinton to connect with small town voters and draw a firm contrast between his wife and Sen. Obama.
Clinton’s message was well received by the blue collar audience in Coatesville, and many would argue that the former president’s nostalgia among democratic voters has dramatically helped Sen. Clinton in her bid for the party’s presidential nomination, but others feel Bill Clinton’s involvement in the campaign has been detrimental.
Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard expressed his views on Bill Clinton’s impact on Sen. Clinton’s campaign stating that, “When you use a word like ‘disciplined,’ or ‘undisciplined,’ we know the answer to that. He is totally undisciplined. He is an unguided missile. He is not controlled by the campaign.”
On April 10 in Boonville, Indiana, Bill Clinton made his most recent dent in his wife’s already unstable reputation. It was on that day when Bill Clinton accused the media of harping on embellished comments Sen. Clinton made about a 1996 trip to Bosnia.
“There was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time late at night when she was ?exhausted, misstated and immediately apologized for it – what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995.” Clinton said. He continued his attempt to downplay the exaggerated comments by rhetorically asking the audience, “Did y’all see all that. Oh, they blew it up. Let me just tell you.”
Shortly after Bill Clinton’s comments were made public, the media had a field day exposing the numerous times Sen. Clinton “misspoke” about her trip to Bosnia.
Sen. Clinton made the exaggerated comments a number of times, including at an event in Dubuque, Iowa on Dec. 29th, in Waco, TX on Feb. 29th, and twice early in the morning on March 17.
Bill Clinton’s path of destruction didn’t end with his address in Boonville, he continued to dig his reputation and his wife’s campaign into oblivion when he told the same story again in Jasper, Ind., adding that the press was treating his wife like the “Mata Hari.”
Despite some of the skepticism Bill Clinton has received for endorsing his wife, he continues to be her strongest supporter and Tuesday in Coatesville he reassured the audience that he believes with all his heart, Sen. Clinton is the best candidate he has supported in the Democratic primary in decades.”
Garrett Santora is a fourth-year student with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at GS592069@wcupa.edu.