Clinton, Obama Campaigners Speak At Eugene Hilton

This story was written by Robert D'andrea, Oregon Daily Emerald
Chelsea Clinton and Congressman Neil Abercrombie, D-HI, brought the Democratic nomination fight back to Eugene Friday and Saturday with appearances at the Oregon Democratic Party's Platform Convention at the Eugene Hilton.

Abercrombie, an Obama supporter, maintained a high level of energy throughout his Friday night convention speech. He shouted and drew sharp contrasts with John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. Abercrombie said McCain is too heavily influenced by neoconservatives who are "modern imperialists."

"What George Bush did (militarily), McCain thinks we should do even more," Abercrombie told the Emerald.

Chelsea Clinton, though far less boisterous than Abercrombie, drew a larger crowd to her Saturday afternoon speech. The cost of attending both speeches was $100.

During Chelsea Clinton's appearance, one man asked her what Sen. Hillary Clinton's plans were for the future of the Middle East. Clinton said the question was usually phrased as a question about ending the war.

"My mom said she would end the war in Iraq yesterday if she could," she said. "I'm glad she was the first senator who wrote the White House and asked what their plans to end the war were."

"They said, 'We don't have to tell you.' My mother wrote back and said, 'You do,'" she said.

The senator never received a satisfactory answer, Clinton said.

Abercrombie said he expects he will be consulted on Obama's choice of a running mate.

"One of the persons I think ought to be taken into account is Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia," Abercrombie said. "I have no idea whether (Webb) agrees with that. He didn't discourage me from exploring the idea, I think out of courtesy."

Abercrombie said Sen. Clinton's candidacy is as historic as Obama's, but that Obama has a better chance of bringing independent and independent-minded Republican voters to Democrats in the general election.

Lane Community College student Matt Keating asked Clinton what she would tell her mother if her mother asked whether she should be Barack Obama's vice presidential running mate.

"You make a lot of assumptions," the younger Clinton said to laughs from the largely pro-Clinton crowd. She went on to say that she has the same answer when asked who her mother's running mate should be.

"I believe a lot of people still want to vote, still want to have their voices heard," Clinton said. Those yet to vote will decide, as she has, that her mother is the most experienced candidate and best suited to be president, she said.

"(Chelsea) should have a future in politics," Keating told reporters later. "Chelsea gave a very political response. I appreciate it. I appreciate her being here."

Keating, a 31-year-old theater arts major, said he recently started a students for Obama club because of the "immense, contagious, super energy around Obama."

University student Matt Garvey listened to Chelsea Clinton and said she was an effective advocate for her mother, with a very different style.

"She's a lot different from her mother. She's soft spoken," he said. "I could never see (Chelsea) running for office."

Abercrombie, who knew the Illinois senator's parents, talked about his memories of "little Barry" as a child and the first time he heard Obama speak at Obama's sister's wedding in Hawaii.

"In Hawaii, our diversity defines us rather than divides us, that is the message of aloha," Abercrombie said.

Obama brings a similar attitude to politics, he said. "I can't find someone outside of the United States who doesn't want Barack Obama to be president."
© 2008 Oregon Daily Emerald via U-WIRE