Former U.S. President Clinton stumps for Obama, Franken in Minneapolis

Friday, October 31, 2008

Minneapolis, Minnesota — Speaking to about 4000 people at the Minneapolis Convention Center Thursday night, former U.S. President Bill Clinton gave a speech exhorting audience members to support U.S. Presidential Candidate Barack Obama and Minnesota senatorial candidate Al Franken in the upcoming election on Nov. 4.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (right) speaks at a rally on Oct. 30 in support of Barack Obama, Al Franken (pictured, left) and other Democratic candidates.
Image: Caleb Williams/Wikinews.

"Barack Obama can lead us in changing the way Americans think about America, the role of government and the way we work together," Clinton said, according to the Associated Press. "We learned the other way is not worth a flip. We've got to work together."

Clinton — whose wife Hillary Clinton ran against Obama for the Democratic nomination earlier this year — has been accused in the past of not fully supporting Obama's presidency. He showed no lack of support for both Obama and Franken with whom he shared the stage. Franken is running against incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and independent candidate Dean Barkley.

According to Clinton, the Minnesota race is crucial. If Franken is elected, Clinton says he will be one more senator to help Obama run the country without major Republican opposition in the Senate. With 60 Democrats in the Senate, Democrats will be able to push legislation through without filibusters by GOP members, which can cause a bill to delay in passing or fail all together.

"[Obama] has a chance to rewrite the 21st century," Clinton said, according to the Star Tribune, referring to the presidency of George W. Bush. "Let's go back and do it right this time. In order to do that, he's going to have to get some votes. ..." in Congress.

The Minnesota race is close. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sen. Coleman leads Franken 37.3 percent to 35.8 percent in an average of recent polls. 16 percent supported Barkley.

Before introducing Clinton, Franken thanked him for the support of him and his wife.

"I am privileged to say the Clintons are my friends," Franken said, according to the Star Tribune. "But more important, they are friends of the middle class, of working men and women in this state and this country I'm running to represent."

A Minnesota Public Radio News/University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute poll conducted this week found that 52 percent of likely voters supported Obama, while 41 percent supported GOP candidate John McCain. Clinton — who carried the state by a landslide in 1996 — did not hesitate to ask for more votes, telling the crowd: "I want you to do better than that for Barack Obama."

Clinton was the final speaker in a long list of Minnesota Democrats, including: former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, the mayors of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, R. T. Rybak and Chris Coleman, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Mayor Coleman is not related to Senator Coleman, who also served as mayor of Saint Paul.

All of the speakers touched on continuing to work toward electing Obama, Franken and other Democrats to Minnesota seats in congress. Even with the 11-point lead Obama holds in the MPR poll, Obama campaign staff circulated the hall at the beginning on the rally and at the end asking attendees to volunteer their time going door-to-door and making phone calls to registered Democrats.

"Barack Obama is going to be the next president of the United States," Mayor Coleman said, according to the Associated Press. "But we've got to work to make it happen."


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.