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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Clinton stumps for Dems

    Former President Clinton spoke about the importance of raising awareness of voting to a crowd of more than 8,000 people last night at a Jim Pederson rally at Reid Park. Emphasizing the change of direction he says is needed in Congress, the former president charged that political campaigns should be about common sense and not fear tactics.
    Former President Clinton spoke about the importance of raising awareness of voting to a crowd of more than 8,000 people last night at a Jim Pederson rally at Reid Park. Emphasizing the change of direction he says is needed in Congress, the former president charged that political campaigns should be about common sense and not ‘fear tactics.’

    Former President Clinton drew more than 8,000 to a rally in Tucson last night for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Pederson and a slew of other Democratic candidates just four days before elections.

    Clinton said there is a need to change the direction of the American government because the Bush administration is in denial about the reality of Iraq and political corruption in the U.S.

    The rally was organized to boost momentum for Pederson in his race to unseat Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the three-term incumbent who is leading by as little as 4.5 points, according to a Zimmerman and Associates and Marketing Intelligence poll released yesterday. Republicans contend Kyl is leading by 8 points.

    Clinton stepped onstage at Reid Park at 8 p.m. with Pederson and Gov. Janet Napolitano, joining Rep. Raul Grijalva and Congressional hopeful Gabrielle Giffords. The song “”Beautiful Day”” by U2 played over the speakers as the crowd cheered.

    The City of Tucson estimated the crowd to be between 8,000 and 10,000, said Mark Bergman, Pederson’s press secretary.

    After quieting the screams and applause, Clinton touted Napolitano’s record over the last 3 1/2 years, as she has built a surplus and created jobs in the state, he said.

    The people of Arizona shouldn’t be bullied by the Republican Party’s fear-mongering or let the Democratic Party be defined as soft on national security or foreign policy, Clinton said.

    “”We don’t believe in ‘cut-and-run,'”” Clinton said. “”But we do believe in ‘stop-and-think.'””

    Clinton said the Bush administration is in denial of the nation’s problems, creating policy based on ideology rather than reality.

    Before Clinton spoke, Pederson said he wants to take a realistic, common-sense approach to problems that don’t require a Republican or Democratic label. He said the blame-game politics need to stop.

    “”That’s not the way we’re going to change this world,”” Pederson said. “”We need to define our commonality, not our differences.””

    Blake Rebling, president of the UA College Republicans, said trying to bring in the star power of Clinton showed the Democrats’ desperation as they tried to get as many votes as possible.

    “”I thought it was a last-ditch effort to elect Jim Pederson,”” said Rebling, a political science and economics junior. “”(But) Jim Pederson cannot buy Arizona.””

    Before the event, members of the College Republicans were outside driving a truck with signs supporting Kyl, Rebling said.

    Some of them stayed for the rally, but Rebling said he left halfway through Clinton’s speech.

    “”We were pretty disappointed,”” Rebling said. “”For a former president, I would have expected an even bigger turnout, especially for a free event.””

    David Martinez III, president of the UA Young Democrats, said the event was a success because Pederson and the other Democratic candidates are gaining or ahead of the Republican candidates the week before elections.

    “”To be this close this late in the game is amazing,”” said Martinez, a pre-education senior.

    Martinez said Kyl has bent over backwards for special interests and voted against raising minimum wage, and Pederson would head a new direction in Arizona.

    “”Things are not working in America and Arizona,”” he said.

    Henry Weber, a journalism junior, said he’s met several political figures in the last few years and he jumped at the chance to meet Clinton in person.

    “”It’s such a rare opportunity to be able to see a former president,”” said Weber, who shook Clinton’s hand after the rally.

    Weber said he agreed with Clinton’s point that America’s youth will be the ones to carry the Bush administration’s growing deficit.

    “”It’s not a partisan issue anymore; it’s an issue of balancing the budget,”” Weber said. “”I mean, I’m a liberal, but I’m just looking for good leadership.””

    Amy Drapkin, a political science freshman, said she appreciated Clinton’s ability to incorporate humor into his speech while also emphasizing the importance of issues like stem-cell research.

    “”He’s such a captivating speaker,”” Drapkin said.

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