Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spoke to a crowd of hundreds Sunday afternoon at Columbia College. The crowd, ranging in age groups from infancy to the elderly, cheered wildly and gave Clinton a standing ovation as she came out to speak.
Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, BET founder and Charlotte Bobcats owner Bob Johnson and former South Carolina governor Richard Riley all spoke on Clinton's behalf.
"Hillary Clinton is our best hope for the next generation," Tubbs said.
Johnson, a longtime friend of the Clinton family, spoke of his respect for Sen. Barack Obama but said he doesn't feel he is the best candidate.
"Obama promises change, Edwards promises change, even Mitt Romney promises change," he said. "But change takes leadership, and Hillary Clinton will stand on principles that she believes in."
He also instructed the crowd not to vote for a candidate "because they were black, a woman or named Clinton, but vote for them because they are the best."
Johnson mentioned that "the Clintons were involved in black issues."
As she did during President Bill Clinton's administration, Hillary had a heavy focus on health care, particularly the uninsured and the underinsured. She also focused on making education more affordable.
"We've got to make college affordable," she said. "It is way beyond the reach for so many middle class families."
Clinton proposed raising Pell Grants, doing away with the lengthy Free Application for Federal Student Aid and allowing graduates to pay off debt through doing national service in the Americorps.
Clinton promised to "end the student loan industry."
After speaking on issues of health care, education and the vanishing middle class, Clinton fielded questions on issues ranging from the mortgage crisis to veteran's benefits to the genocide in Darfur.
Clinton was well-received by the crowd, earning a standing ovation again as she exited the stage.
"I think she's great," Matthew Cadman, 23, said. "I started out as a Republican and I voted for Bush. That was a mistake."
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