Clinton campaigns in Columbia

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February 19, 2007

COLUMBIA, S.C.---It was another day of presidential politics in South Carolina. Democrat Hillary Clinton made three stops there today, starting in Columbia.

News 12's Jonathan Martin was the only local reporter at Allen University where the former first lady spoke to a crowd of 3000.

Speaking for just over an hour, Hillary Clinton had a lot to say. She started by telling the people she's disturbed by what's going on and wants to renew the promise of America.

It was her first stop in South Carolina since announcing her run for the White House.

Senator Clinton arrived to a full house.

"I want to have a conversation with you in South Carolina, from the Lowlands to the Midlands to upstate," she said.

Clinton, who's widely considered the democrat to beat, told the crowd of mostly African Americans and women she's proud to be a woman, but that it's not the focus of her campaign.

"I believe this presidential election is about breaking barriers," she said. "This is the campaign and I am the candidate with the experience to break the barriers and win on behalf of the people of our country."

She says her eyes are on education, creating new jobs while raising minimum wage, but foremost, providing universal healthcare coverage.

"How can we be the biggest nation in the world and not insure every American?" she asked.

Clinton answered a dozen questions. None directly related to her vote for the Iraq war, but she did mention the legislation she's introducing to reduce forces in Iraq.

"We need to stop this escalation that the President is carrying out in Iraq," she said.

The theme of her campaign is "let the conversation begin", and voters here say they are all ears-- many are undecided.

"I enjoyed listening to her ideas," said voter Carol Fox. "She is a hopeful person, so I'm looking forward to hearing more from her."

Senator Clinton also made stops in Florence and Charleston today.

The reason we're seeing all of the candidates come through South Carolina this early is because the Democratic Primary is one of the first primaries next year, right after New Hampshire's

Mrs. Clinton's Democratic competitor Barack Obama was in South Carolina Friday and Saturday, and John McCain was also in the Palmetto State today.

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