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Historical presidential race makes its way to Corydon

Historical presidential race makes its way to Corydon
Historical presidential race makes its way to Corydon
Below, from left, Margie Lasley of Bradford was joined by her sister-in-law, Josephine Lasley of Bedford, formerly of Corydon, and Josephine's daughter, Elizabeth Borodach, also of Bedford, as some of the first members of the general public allowed inside the Corydon Central Junior High School gymnasium for Monday's speech by former President Bill Clinton (above). The trio had been waiting at the school since 8:30 a.m. to make sure they had a prime spot to view Clinton, who was here to stump for his wife, Hillary, as she chases the Democratic nomination for president against opponent Barack Obama. It was believed to be the first visit to Corydon by a former U.S. president. (Photos by Alan Stewart)

The 42nd President of the United States visited Corydon Monday to campaign for his wife and presidential candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton. It was one of three stops in the Hoosier state for former President Bill Clinton that day, leading up to the May 6 Indiana primary.
Clinton’s arrival may have marked the first time a former president has made a public appearance in the state’s first capital. He spoke in the Corydon Central Junior High School gymnasium shortly after noon.
Indiana Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, and Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek were the first to speak Monday afternoon.
‘I hope we have a lot of good Democrats out there,’ said Young. ‘It’s a good honor for me to be here in support of Hillary Clinton.’
‘The best candidate by far is Hillary Clinton,’ said Meek. ‘She will lead us in a new direction.’
Former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon introduced Clinton to the crowd, which included the general public as well as juniors and seniors from Corydon Central and South Central high schools, a few sophomores from CCHS and members of Corydon Central Junior High’s National Honor Society.
Students were not required to attend the event but most did.
‘Isn’t it exciting to bring a former president here?’ O’Bannon asked. ‘This is one great place.’
O’Bannon said she wanted to show Clinton the first state capital, the downtown area, the oldest running county fairgrounds, the brand new up-to-date hospital and the YMCA of Harrison County.
‘It is the most exciting thing for all of us to welcome you to Corydon, Indiana,’ she said.
Clinton began by saying he was grateful to be in Corydon and for O’Bannon and her late husband, Frank O’Bannon, and family.
‘They’re wonderful people and great advertisers for Corydon,’ said Clinton.
Clinton spoke highly of Congressman Meek. ‘He’s one of the finest members of the House of Congress, and he wants to count the votes in Florida,’ Clinton said. ‘And I hope you do, too. We need to count their votes.’
Clinton then addressed recent comments made by Sen. Barack Obama, the other Democratic hopeful in the May Primary Election, referring to the American middle class as ‘bitter.’ Clinton said while traveling in North Carolina he saw many signs that read, ‘I’m not bitter.’ He said someone told him, ‘I hunt because I like to and I go to church because I need to. And if I were a millionaire, I would still hunt and go to church.’
Clinton moved on to the campaign issues for this election. He said building a country on shared prosperity and restoring the United States as the leading spot in world are two issues facing the candidates.
Clinton said his wife would honorably terminate the war in Iraq and send a very different signal to the world, one that implies one set of rules for everyone. Clinton said the United States has been living under its own set of rules the past few years and that it always leads to trouble. He said Sen. Clinton would rebuild the military and take care of the veterans. He said she has received 35 endorsements of retired admirals and generals.
‘They know she has taken care of people in uniform,’ he said.
Next, he focused on the problems on American soil, including health care, energy prices, home mortgage crisis and the ‘trickle down’ economics implemented by the Bush Administration.
‘It was supposed to shower down,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t work, trickle down economics.’
‘I love this election,’ said Clinton. ‘I’d be here for her if I wasn’t married to her. If she wins the Indiana primary, she will be president.’
Clinton said the government has made the economy worse, and that Sen. Clinton has the right vision through shared prosperity and a strong middle class. Clinton said his wife was the first to put up a plan for the mortgage crisis, offering to freeze the rates for 90 days.
The former president also touched on solar power, an energy source that he would like to see more of in the country. He said Ohio has a solar panel factory that provides the most solar panels in the country and that it was one of the reasons Sen. Clinton won Ohio.
‘We could build these plants in Indiana, and we won’t have to worry about imports,’ he said.
Clinton said millions of jobs can be created by making every building as energy efficient as possible.
‘I do this around the world,’ he said. ‘I know what I’m talking about.’
Clinton spoke about the potential for a 100-mile-per-gallon vehicle that is in the testing stage.
‘Think what that would do to your family’s budget,’ he said.
According to Clinton, this country is lagging well behind in health care.
‘Every other (rich) country has figured out how to provide affordable health care to everyone,’ he said.
Another aspect of health care Clinton said ‘ought to sting you,’ is the fact that 30 cents of every dollar is spent on paperwork, unlike other places in the world that spend less, said Clinton. Under Sen. Clinton’s plan, citizens will have the option to keep the plan they have or adopt the same plan federal employees have.
‘If it’s good enough for us and our families, it’s good enough for you,’ he said.
Clinton said Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democrat candidate John Edwards, agrees that Sen. Clinton’s plan is the best. ‘Everyone says the same thing, who doesn’t have a dog in the hunt,’ he said.
Clinton also addressed education, saying he would change No Child Left Behind, which drew a strong applause from the some 1,100 people on hand. He said Sen. Clinton’s plan would be to take the 20 best elementary, middle and high schools and figure what they are doing right and pay to get that done at the other schools.
‘All three candidates (to include Republican candidate John McCain) are truly historic figures in different ways,’ said Clinton.
He went on to say the country can elect a symbolic leader or a servant leader, referring to his wife.
Clinton even said she will make a better president than he did.
‘There will be more prosperity broadly shared in her term than in mine,’ he said. ‘She would be the best president. I hope you elect her.’
According to the SurveyUSA poll conducted for WCPO-TV Cincinnati and WHAS-TV Louisville, Clinton has a strong advantage in Indiana, leading 55 percent to Sen. Obama’s 39 percent. Southern Indiana was particularly strong for Clinton, with a 61 to 32 percent advantage. The poll was released Monday, three weeks before the May 6 Primary.
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