Bill Clinton Rallies For Final Push In Pennsylvania

This story was written by Danielle Vickery, Daily Collegian
At a Wednesday afternoon speech in Rec Hall, Bill Clinton said while he and Hillary are campaigning for Barack Obama on Saturdays, they have been exchanging phone calls that go something like: "Did Penn State win again?"

"I think Penn State is winning for the same reason Barack Obama is winning," said former President Bill Clinton, whose brother-in-law and father-in-law played football for the Nittany Lions. "Teamwork."

Bill Clinton, who last came to Penn State in March in support of his wife's presidential campaign to a crowd of about 8,000, came Wednesday to stump for Democratic presidential candidate Obama in front of about 2,000.

Clinton's speech, which began almost 20 minutes early and ended eight minutes after it was scheduled to begin, came the day after Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin spoke to a crowd in Rec Hall.

The scene Wednesday contrasted with the one in the same location the night before when Palin spoke, where supporters of both main party candidates had cheered for their respective candidates on opposite sides of Curtin Road.

The queue for Clinton's speech reached its max at about 2 p.m. when doors were scheduled to open. The line dissipated minutes later as people filed in, halted only by volunteers asking them to sign up for the Obama campaign.

In his speech, Clinton also emphasized volunteering and discussed the importance of Obama's election.

"You hire a president -- in the immortal words of our incumbent president -- to be the 'Decider in Chief,' " he said.

The president needs to have the right philosophies, the right policies and the ability to make decisions and execute them, Clinton said.

Once you consider these three things, he said, "the answer screams out at you."

He paused.

"Obama!" someone shouted, giving way to cheers and applause.

Obama's economic, energy, health care and education policies -- some of the most important issues in the election -- are all better than those of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Clinton said.

He said Americans have already had the opportunity to see Obama and McCain make two crucial decisions: their running mates and how to deal with the financial crisis.

Choosing Joe Biden as a running mate was a great decision, Clinton said, adding the vice president will have to be an advocate around the world until the next president has dealt with the financial crisis.

Clinton called on the grassroots volunteers to remind voters what is truly important approaching Nov. 4.

"Bring it home!" Clinton said before leaving the stage.

Stephanie Lalle (freshman-psychology) said Clinton used facts to support Obama instead of pandering to the crowd. Lalle, a Hillary-turned-Obama supporter, also attended the Palin event the previous night, adding she felt Palin pandered to the older and rowdier crowd there.

"He put his hand on my shoulder," said Lalle, who had waited outside for the Clinton event with her friends since 11:30 a.m. and was among the first people there.

Len Torchia (senior-electrical engineering) said he already cast his absentee ballot for McCain.

Torchia said Clinton could have changed his mind "maybe a little bit" if he had not already voted.

"I think ... that for someone who was president and who was thought to have done a great job, you would think he would know [who would make a good president]," Torchia said. "But I don't think he does."

Sean Meloy, president of College Democrats, said it was great Clinton talked about the decisions Obama has already made.

"Bill Clinton is absolutely amazing, and he knows what it takes to be president," Meloy said. "His overwhelming endorsement for Barack hopefully sealed the deal for undecided voters."

-- Collegian Staff Writer Mandy Hofmockel contributed to this report.