Senator Clinton's campaign comes to Aiken

By: Gene Petriello and Richard Rogers Email
By: Gene Petriello and Richard Rogers Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 22, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. --- Former President Bill Clinton in Aiken on Tuesday, touting his wife as the best candidate for the US Presidency.

The atmosphere of the Aiken Municipal Center -- abuzz.

"We were on fire! We were all excited. We are here waiting for the President to get here. Everyone was really excited. I'm really glad I came out this morning," says voter Donna Perry.

"I think it was awesome. It was right on point with all the issues we need to address in this county," says voter Maryanne Graff.

Even though Hillary wasn't in Aiken, Maryanne doesn't think the Senator is giving up on South Carolina.

"She has already been here and I know she cares about our state. And, I hope that everyone will continue to support her and realize she does care about the people," says Maryanne.

Enter Bill Clinton, saying his wife will look at three key issues: rebuilding the middle class, reclaiming children's future and rebuilding America's standing in the world. And he says, it doesn't matter they're married.

"If she asked me to be here for her campaign today, I would do it in a heartbeat because I think she is the best prepared candidate I've ever had a chance to work for," says President Clinton.

And, the former President clearly enjoying his role.

"I love this election because unlike previous elections, I don't really have to be against anyone in this election," says Clinton.

But, he is very much in this election.

At a debate in Myrtle Beach on Monday night, Senator's Clinton and Barack Obama going after each other several times. One of those exchanges, Senator Obama saying he's not sure who he is sometimes running against, Bill or Hillary.

And voters have picked up on the bickering.

"I don't like how they attack each other personally. I wish they would just focus on the issues and leave personal politics out of it," says Maryanne.

"I think that's unfortunate. I feel they are both very passionate. If they could do that without bringing out the claws, that would be great," says Donna.

A look around the room on Tuesday proves the challenge for the Clinton Campaign: drawing support from a mostly white crowd. She'll need support from the state's large black population to win here.

"A lot of people are going for Barack Obama because he's black. Well, this isn't about race. You got to do what's best for this county," says voter Lusheena McKnight.

And as the president was making the rounds inside, there was a crowd gathering outside- hoping to catch a glimpse of the former Commander-in Chief.

But after putting a few to-go boxes in the president's van from the restaurant next door, he was off to his next stop.

News 12 caught up with one Aiken man who got President Clinton to sign a book. Kirk McMinn says he's excited at the prospect of having a "Team Clinton" in Washington.

" I really mean that," McMinn said, "it's two for the price of one, President Clinton and President Clinton. That's a wonderful thing for our economy and all the things they promise which will come true."

McMinn says even though he's a Clinton supporter he does not believe his candidate will win South Carolina. He says he'll shift his support to Obama if Obama ends up winning the nomination.

President Clinton headed up to Greenville after the rally. He's expected to campaign for his wife all week in the Palmetto State. Senator Clinton should be back in the state on Thursday.


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