Former President Bill Clinton blamed his late arrival to Assembly Hall on Wednesday on his inability to stop shaking hands.
After arriving two and a half hours late, the former president stumped for his wife, presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), and discussed her plans for improving health care, ending the war in Iraq and fighting global warming. Clinton spoke to about 6,500 guests, said Ben Kobren, spokesperson for Hoosiers for Hillary Clinton.
"I'm happy," sophomore AnnElyse Gibbons, president of IU Students for Hillary Clinton, said about the turnout. "There was so much momentum and excitement. An hour after we opened the doors, there was still a line wrapped around the building. I was here at 10:30 a.m., and there were people here before. They are very enthusiastic Bill and Hillary supporters."
After visiting Columbus, Seymour and Bedford, Ind., Bill Clinton began his speech in Bloomington by congratulating IU on its new basketball coach. He got down to business by stating Indiana has a big choice to make.
"You have to first decide what you want the next president to do and how you will decide if they did a good job when it's over," he said.
Clinton said America faces three main challenges, which his wife plans to fix: inequality, insecurity that accompanies the threat of terrorism and fundamental instability because of global warming.
In terms of inequality, Bill Clinton said new jobs need to be created.
"The first thing I believe you should ask of your president is, 'Where are the better jobs?'" he said. "The only countries who are getting better jobs are the ones fighting global warming."
Hillary Clinton wants to create a fund that will invest in energy of tomorrow, Bill Clinton said. He said the American people can make energy from wind, solar and biomass, which would involve closing every landfill in America and using garbage to make energy.
"This all has to be done through research," he said.
Bill Clinton stressed that Hillary Clinton wants to get rid of the No Child Left Behind Act, the education plan President George W. Bush enacted.
Clinton illustrated the program's unpopularity when he said he could go to the middle of Idaho, miles away from the nearest Republican, shout 'No' to the No Child Left Behind Act and the elks would applaud.
About 80 percent of American schools have cut back on art and music classes because of No Child Left Behind mandates, and Hillary Clinton wants to change this, Bill Clinton said. Her plan is to not punish failing schools, but to identify the best schools in America and model other schools after them by figuring out what they are doing right, Bill Clinton said.
On the matter of security, Bill Clinton discussed his wife's opinion on the war in Iraq.
"She strongly believes it's time to bring the soldiers from Iraq home as quickly and safely as she can," Bill Clinton said. "Nobody wants Iraq to fail, but what else can we do? It is essential for America and Iraq to bring our soldiers home."
He said that this week, the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq reached 4,000.
"The question is how," Bill Clinton said of his wife's plan to leave Iraq.
Hillary Clinton wants to help Iraqi civilians who have served as translators or helped the U.S. military by offering them U.S. citizenship, Bill Clinton said. She is against permanent bases, but she also believes that troops need to remain in Northern Iraq to prevent an Al-Qaida encounter. She is also the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee remaining in the race, Bill Clinton said.
The final thing he stressed was health care. Hillary Clinton wants to provide universal health care to all U.S. citizens, Bill Clinton sid.
University students will be able to walk into the hospital and know they will be covered, Bill Clinton said.
At the conclusion if his speech, he compared himself to his wife.
"My daughter was asked if Hillary would be a better president than I was," Bill Clinton said. "She said 'yes,' and I agree with my daughter."
© 2008 Indiana Daily Student via U-WIRE