50 Years, 50 Stories

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Published May 19, 2008 in THe Ledger Independent

What the crowd lacked in size, it made up for in enthusiasm Monday as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton appeared at a campaign rally in the Lady Royals gym in downtown Maysville on the eve of the commonwealth’s primary election.

Urged on by former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins and State Rep. Mike Denham, about 600 people anticipated Clinton’s arrival with cheers of “H-I-L-L-A-R-Y” and “Hillary, Hillary.”

“I’m here because Hillary Clinton is the most experienced and the most prepared,” said Collins. “She’s no quitter. She is going to go and go.”

“Let me guarantee you, with a woman in the White House, there will be change,” Collins said.

The senator’s entrance into the arena, accompanied by the song, “Don’t Stop Believing,” brought the crowd to its collective feet, cheering, stomping and waving Clinton campaign signs.

“I’m excited she’s here the day before the primary. I hope she wins,” said 13-year-old Jill Hall of Brooksville.

“I think it’s nice she took the time to come to Maysville and see the people here. It’s really neat that we’re being given the opportunity to be so close to such a high profile person,” said Therese O’Neil of Maysville.

Clinton’s Kentucky campaign chairman, Maysville native Jerry Lundergan introduced the presidential hopeful, urging the crowd to use both head and heart in the voting booth today.

“I’m sure glad nobody pulled the plug on this election before we got to Kentucky,” Clinton said as she took the stage, responding to the energy of those who attended the rally and referring to reports that she has been urged to drop out of the race and leave the nomination to her Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama.

Clinton noted that many of the states where Obama has beaten her, like Alaska, Idaho and Utah, matter less because they would not be competitive for Democrats in November. Anybody “who’s really analyzing this” should come to the same conclusions, she said.

“So I’m going to make my case and I’m going to make it until we have a nominee, but we’re not going to have one today and we’re not going to have one tomorrow and we’re not going to have one the next day,” Clinton said. “And if Kentucky turns out tomorrow, I will be closer to that nomination because of you.”

Obama leads Clinton in the race for delegates needed to clinch the party’s nomination. But Clinton leads in Kentucky in the latest polls by 25 points, 51 percent to 25 percent while Obama leads in Oregon, where voters will also go to the polls today, 45 to 41 percent. The Suffolk University poll was conducted by telephone Saturday and Sunday. It involved interviews with 600 likely Democratic voters and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

“I believe in solutions, not speeches,” Clinton said, “in results, not rhetoric.”

She touched on topics ranging from health care, vowing to provide every American with insurance equal to that now given to members of Congress, to her vow to begin to end the war in Iraq within 60 days of taking office if elected.

“It’s time to restore our leadership and moral authority in the world,” she said.

Clinton also said, if elected she would end the federal No Child Left Behind program, take care of veterans, offer students college loans that would be forgivable through public service, invest in clean coal technology, investigate energy speculators and OPEC, release some of the federal oil reserves and “let the oil companies pay” for a summer federal gas tax hiatus.

“There is not a problem we can’t solve if we start acting like Americans again,” said Clinton.

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