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Down to the wire:

Hillary Clinton visits Penn State ahead of Tuesday’s vote

April 21, 2008
By HOLLI SUNDERLAND, Sentinel reporter,
STATE COLLEGE - Dismal gray skies and steady showers fell upon Happy Valley visitors who went to see Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Sunday in State College.

But, the stormy weather failed to dampen the spirits of the presidential candidate and her supporters once Clinton arrived for her “Solutions For America” rally at Rec Hall.

"There's no doubt, as John Murtha said, 'This is a turning point election,'" Clinton said to the crowd.

Clinton arrived about 45 minutes behind schedule for the 8 p.m. event. Some Mifflin County residents in attendance, who were retired from the teaching profession, sat in the fourth row of the bleachers.

Nancy Hartley, of Lewistown, completed a crossword puzzle while Diane Snyder, and her sister, Cathy, waited for the presidential hopeful to arrive.

Prior to Clinton's arrival, a spokesperson on the campaign trail attempted to engage the crowd in a series of cheers and tossed Clinton tee-shirts to the audience as an offering of dry clothes after the wet wait for Rec Hall's doors to open.

Near the onset of the song, 'This is Our Country', Clinton made her way to the stage, accompanied by Gov. Ed Rendell, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., and Dustin Dove, a sophomore student at Pennsylvania State University who’s major is in secondary education. Following a few words from both Murtha and Rendell, Clinton began to state her Penn State pride and family legacy in the university before switching topics to the presidency.

The turning point mentioned earlier by Clinton carried an emphasis on a change in policy after the George W. Bush administration exits, she said.

"The world will breath a sigh of relief when the moving van pulls out," she said. "It's going to take an enormous amount of effort … this can be an era that is similar to previous times."

"Today, Obama said Sen. McCain would be a better president than George Bush. We don't need to continue in any way the policies of this administration — they need to be in the dustbin of American history," Clinton said.

With only two days remaining until the Pennsylvania primary, Clinton launched into her energy initiatives.

"We're going to begin an energy revolution," she said, later discussing the five million green jobs that she intends to make possible for the nation, eco-cities and other green topics.

"You're electing a president to solve problems, not give speeches," Clinton said. "When I say solutions, I mean moving back to an economy that does have jobs (and is) not mired in the past."

She spoke of a strategic energy fund and making partnerships with government and the university like during the space race, and emphasized a time for innovation. She also said that subsidies need to be taken away from oil companies.

"We're living on borrowed money and borrowed oil," Clinton said, referring to high oil prices and their impact on the economy.

"We are so much stronger as a nation if we begin to lift everybody up again," she said. "If you're looking for a candidate who will fight for universal health care, I'm the only one left," she said.

Clinton also said she advocates retirement reform and having citizens’ healthcare equal to those in Congress.

"If it's good enough for Congress, it's good enough for people in Pennsylvania," she said.

Pennsylvania continued to play a part in her speech as she returned to talk of Penn State heritage and college spending.

"My dad came to Penn State on a football scholarship … but the cost has gone up much faster than wages have gone up," she said.

"We have to look at our entire education system to make sure it's a passport to opportunity," Clinton said, adding that she plans to put an end to No Child Left Behind legislation, and wants to bring more money to local school districts.

"On every issue that matters, I want you to know what I will do," she said. "I will also reach out to the rest of the world to rebuild alliances and relationships."

"You can't be a leader if no one is following, and right now, too many people are on the sidelines," she said.

As Clinton’s speech drew to a close, the enthusiasm in the audience drowned her voice, and her final words lost in the sounds of the crowd.

Afterward, Snyder and Hartley offered their own thoughts on Clinton's speech.

"She has the spirit that our country needs, she's not afraid of a fight," Snyder said.

As for Hartley, she said that when it comes to Tuesday's vote, "I'm truly a bit undecided between Hillary and Obama."

Article Photos

Sentinel photo by JEFF BAST
Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks in Rec Hall at Penn State Sunday.



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