A line of over 1,500 people formed outside Oregon Health & Science University's Old Library today to see Bill Clinton's speech “Solutions for the Economy.”
And Hillary is not far behind. According to Clinton spokesman Isaac Baker, "Senator Clinton is expected to visit Oregon in the next week or so."
Portlanders Andrea Warrick, 28, and Krista Gaeta, 36, got in line at 8 am to ensure their spot in the 500-capacity auditorium where Bill Clinton spoke for an hour hoping to drum up votes for his wife.
“We love Bill," Warrick and Gaeta told WWire
simultaneously. Both OHSU employees, the women said they are on the fence between Clinton and Obama.
“I'm just really excited to have such a diverse group of candidates this year,” Warrick said.
Gaeta agreed, saying she is “stoked beyond belief” that a woman is running for president. They both firmly contend that McCain has no chance at winning the presidency.
“Too much damage has been done,” Gaeta said of the Republican Party.
Below: Gaeta (left) and Warrick (right) take time out from work to see Bill Clinton, a man Warrick says is one of the few former presidents who could run for president again and "people would vote for him in droves."
Clinton spoke to the heavily lab-coated audience, dotted with arms waving “Nurses Vote” and “Hillary for President” signs.
Clinton spoke after meeting with a group of uncommitted superdelegates this morning in Portland.
OHSU alum and executive director of the Oregon's Nursing Association Susan King introduced Clinton, endorsing Hillary and her plan to battle the health care crisis.
As soon as Clinton flashed his smile the crowd broke into standing ovation.
His speech on America's economy focused on promoting Hillary's platforms on three key issues: energy, health care and education.
This decade, Clinton said, 5 million people fell from middle to lower class and most of those people were working full time.
Hillary wants to create more jobs and raise incomes by becoming energy independent and funding clean energy options.
Not only would this combat global warming, he said, but it would also create millions of jobs that can't be outsourced.
This plan would spring to action by Hillary ceding a $50 billion strategic energy bill that Clinton said would “prove you can create more jobs combating global warming than ignoring it.”
It's a win/win for the environment and the economy, he said.
“If the Unites States of America beat the world to the moon, surely we can beat the world to a car battery,” Clinton said. “Lets keep the $350 billion per year we spend on oil at home in our pockets.”
Clinton addressed health care next, asking the audience to raise their hands if they knew anyone without health insurance. Most hands went up.
He said Hillary's position is to change the way health care monies are currently spent and invite every American to buy into a government health care plan that would offer subsidies to lower income families.
Clinton said it is absurd that Americans currently pay premiums toward a $50 billion pool that funds paperwork and people furiously trying not to insure people for pre-existing conditions and the like.
“The financing tail wags the health care dog,” Clinton said. “It's a colossal waste of money.”
The American Nurse Association's endorsement of Hillary could be seen mirrored in the audience of mostly healthcare professionals heads bobbing up and down in agreement.
Clinton's last leg of the speech focused on education and Hillary's goal of having 100 percent of America's kids graduate from high school and go on to two years of post-secondary school.
He addressed the nursing shortage and lack of skilled workers in general by saying Hillary will “crack down on the abuses of student loan companies” and implement a program where people in fields such as nursing can pay for their schooling through their service in the industry.
Tying it all back into the economy, Clinton neared his conclusion by saying the most liberal thing you can be in America's current economy is a fiscal conservative.
Below: Bill Clinton on stage at OHSU in Portland Monday, March 31.
After quickly acknowledging the thunderous applause, Clinton was whisked away to outer Southeast Portland, where he addressed a room full of mostly senior citizens at Cherry Blossom Estates.
WWire regrets to tell its readers that we were denied entry by an overzealous security guard.
Signs on the door informed us that the space was filled to capacity, and when Clinton arrived around 12:30, the pack of spectators, including a group of women chanting “Bill, Bill, Bill,” were exhilarated from a 15-second glimpse of the former president.
Fully zoomed cameras snapped far away photos of Clinton and then folks dispersed into Portland's bizarre mix of hail/snow/mist.
Clinton appeared in Medford on Sunday after a quick tour in California and will move on to Salem and Bend Monday afternoon and evening before heading to Montana on Tuesday.