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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

'You get it, don't you?'

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A rather small crowd gathered in the gymnasium of South Putnam's Central Elementary Friday afternoon, considering they were there to hear former U.S. President Bill Clinton speak.

Less than 1,000 people waited patiently for Clinton to show up at the rally. Lots of DePauw students, local officials and teachers filled the area. Even the media area had empty spots. There were, however, plenty of vendors hawking Hillary buttons, bears and t-shirts.

Setting up the facility for the ex-president's arrival may have been more interesting than the actual event. Amazingly, the gym was transformed with a large backdrop, Hillary signs and roped off areas as well as a media platform and area. All of it coming out from underneath a bus.

Obviously the people who come in ahead of the rally are pretty skilled at setting up and breaking down the site. Plenty of volunteers handed out forms which were your ticket inside. These required your name, address, phone and e-mail address so anyone who filled out their "ticket" expect plenty of pro Hillary e-mail as well as regular mail. Even the press who got in with just an ID ended up sacrificing their e-mail information at the press sign-in area.

While the press is use to getting lots of political e-mails, many of which provide valuable information, it did seem a little unusual to receive a response from the Obama campaign in anticipation of what Clinton would say hours before he spoke.

Based on what Clinton said yesterday somewhere in Indiana, the Obama group was sending out a pre-response to what he might say at the rally in Greencastle.

Interestingly, Clinton did make a remark about exactly what the Obama message said he would. It was in regard to Obama claiming not to take any contributions from big oil companies in recent television advertisements.

Clinton told the crowd about Obama's claim, explaining that "It is illegal to take a check from any oil company, so it's not a problem for any politician. You get it, don't you?" he added

He also talked about making a decision for the presidential contest based on who is going to make the best future for America.

He gave an analogy using a book called "The Surgeons Book." According to Clinton the book says that deciding where to have heart surgery should be based on two things. First, how many surgeries your doctor has performed in a year; and secondly, how many surgeries the operating room staff performed in a year.

He likened these to Hillary's experience in politics, in the legislature and in general. The more experience, the better. "You get it, don't you?" he said.

The ex-president spouted lots of statistics and facts about issues in the country. Several people remarked after his appearance about what a good speaker his is. Other comments weren't forthcoming from many.

Clinton spoke for just over an hour and aimed most of his points at the youth who were positioned on the floor right in front of the stage. He talked about the USA being a middle class country. He commented on taxes, education and the failing housing market.

His comments about education hit home with the many teachers in the stands, particularly coming within two weeks of Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Suellen Reed's report on Public Law 221 often referred to as the "no child left behind" law.

Most of the schools in Putnam County had lower scores than last year on the five-tier rating scale. Twenty percent of Indiana schools improved their standing but more than 800 fell into the two lowest categories. Putnam County has eight schools in the second lowest category.

Clinton praised his wife's efforts to improve education for special needs children. The crowd clapped when he spoke about the inclusion program which puts special needs children in mainstream classes. Yet, there are those in the education system who would argue that in an actual classroom, special needs kids and advanced kids do not get the attention they need.

Clinton got another round of applause when he talked about reducing the cost of student loans and making education more affordable and available. He suggested that students going into nursing, teaching, fire or police would have their loans repaid by their service rather than fiscally. "You get it, don't you?" he said.

The crowd grew restless as Clinton continued covering issues important to Hillary's campaign. People began slowly moving down from the bleachers and out the front doors while the ex-president continued talking. A few stopped to take a quick photo and slipped out the door.

He finished his speech talking about Indiana having the largest number of National Guard Reserves and treating veterans and current military personnel with the respect they deserve.

In the end, he asked for votes for Hillary. Since this was a political rally, "You get it, don't you?"

Check out Bill Clinton photo gallery at www.bannergraphic.com/gallery/2756/

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Did anyone else get searched before going in to see Billy? Then the cop asks me if I'm drunk. I dunno, maybe it was because of my Ron Paul shirt and video camera. Did I look threatening, or crazy? Every time I turned around, one of two different 'security' guys were right behind me. Come on, what did they think I was going to do? They already searched me. I think they had enough security there, so I felt very safe! City, county, and state police, and then the Secret Service. Turns out there is a law that provides former presidents the protection of the Secret Service... Come on, now. It's a former president, not the King. Glad to see everyone is welcoming in the new police state.

-- Posted by hoop2077 on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 1:25 AM

Ron Paul has my vote. He is as unqualified as the other canidates.

-- Posted by dumpsterdiva on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 7:54 AM

As a volunteer there is alot of team work that goes into planning an event such as this. Everyone involved in getting this set up did it in a short time and were professional in getting the crowd into the gym. There were some that couldnt stay for the whole speech -they had to be somewhere else-but they did attend. Volunteers-law enforcement-secret service among others did a great job and the crowd was well behaved.It was a great experience and my seat and other volunteer seats were given to others that stood in line to get in.

-- Posted by bam on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 9:49 AM

Were the security people Mexican? Just another American job moved south of the border due to Bill and Hitlery's NAFTA policy.

-- Posted by Huck08 on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 6:03 PM

Former President Bill Clinton said his wife asked him to stop talking about her trip to Bosnia.

Clinton told reporters in Indiana Friday, "Hillary called me and said 'You don't remember this. You weren't there, let me handle it.' I said, 'Yes ma'am.'"


-- Posted by Huck08 on Sun, Apr 13, 2008, at 2:03 PM

Bill Clinton, like Jimmy Carter, is one of many former presidents that the history books should just forget they ever existed. That man took the office of POTUS to an all time low. At least Jack Kennedy kept it under wraps! Just remember, when Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton, or Barack Hussein Obama speak, they are using oxygen that could benefit the rest of us. What a waste of taxpayer and donor dollars!

-- Posted by Former Resident on Sun, Apr 13, 2008, at 9:12 PM

did someone say something?

-- Posted by justmoveonwillya on Mon, Apr 14, 2008, at 7:52 AM

People slam Clinton for his sexual choices but wake up he was doing it before his first term and the public new about it but they voted him in and then after his first term he was voted in a second time. Please! Mr. Clinton isn't running . You need to wake up a vote. pick the one person whom YOU feel will do the best job

-- Posted by victory on Mon, Apr 14, 2008, at 9:55 AM

What if I don't want to pick one of these two that may do the best job. I can think of 6 others that will do a better job than these two. I sure don't want Billary or Chillary back either.

I have a unique idea, why not actually support someone that can address the issues, offers solutions, and don't follow an opinion poll that tells them how to satify everyone. Maybe a giant dose of common sense would go a long way.

-- Posted by gunner on Wed, Apr 16, 2008, at 9:12 AM

Congratulations, Maribeth Ward, on writing a mean-spirited, if somewhat ungrammatical, article. It's quite obvious that you went to Mr. Clinton's rally for the sole purpose of criticizing and picking apart the rally and anything Mr. Clinton might say. It's also quite obvious that you, yourself, are either a Republican or an Obama supporter. You get it, don't you?

-- Posted by factsplz on Tue, Apr 29, 2008, at 12:44 AM

Bill Clinton is without question one of the greatest & most compassionate presidents the U.S. has ever had, and possibly THE greatest in our lifetime. When he became president, our economy, equal opportunity program, Social Security, employment, foreign relations, etc., etc. were in shambles. Smaller businesses were bankrupt & our national debt was at an all-time high. Clinton turned all that around completely. When he left office, we not only had a sound economy and a balanced budget with a surplus, but a secure Social Security program also with a surplus, flourishing small businesses, high employment rate, respect & friendship by other nations for our country & its policies, and huge strides had been taken to help the middle class & those less fortunate. His record is even more impressive in view of the fact that he accomplished all that while a Republican-dominated Congress fought him at every turn. As a president no one has been Mr. Clinton's equal during our lifetime.

-- Posted by factsplz on Tue, Apr 29, 2008, at 1:23 AM

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