EUGENE, Ore. - Former president Bill Clinton made a detailed case for Oregonians to support Sen. Hillary Clinton in the May 20 primary in a late-night appearance on the University of Oregon campus.
"You have listened to me talk for a long time about car batteries and health care finance, but in the end it only matters if you can turn your intentions into concrete changes," Clinton said. "She's the best at it I've ever known."
In a stump speech rich in details about both policy proposals and issues facing Oregon, Clinton concluded his second straight day of campaigning in Oregon outside the Erb Memorial Union. He continues May 13 campaigning in southern Oregon.
Hillary Clinton will be in Oregon Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17. Times and places have yet to be announced.
Bill Clinton touched on Oregon specific topics again and again, drawing on his recent visits to Pendleton, Baker City and Redmond. He talked about wind power and the need for improved power transmission lines. Clinton argued that the Bush administration has opposed extending the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act to try and force Oregon to support cutting old growth timber. He also argued not enough was being done to thin second growth forests to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires.
On a lighter note, Clinton poked fun at Oregon vote by mail system. Ballots have been in the hands of voters for more than a week and are due May 20 by 8 p.m.
"Oregon is the poster child for the idea the states are the laboratory of democracy. You do everything differently here," he said. "Your mail-in vote is great for you," he said, "but it's playing havoc with people who have to campaign in more than one state."
Clinton described his wife as one of the best "change makers" he has ever met. Clinton tried to make the case that government will lead the way on health care and energy issues and that his wife's plans answer problems in both areas while boosting the economy.
On energy, Clinton said his wife favors repealing subsidies to energy companies to create a strategic fund to invest in alternative energy and conservation. He touted the appeal of battery-powered cars, and noted both the appeal - and potential challenges - posed by mass-production of high fuel economy or even oil-free transportation.
"It's worth it to get America quickly off of oil, to stop using oil to get around," he said.
But batteries aren't a simple answer.
"All high powered batteries today us lithium. Every mass production of batteries carries with it its own set of environmental challenges," Clinton said. Government needs to be involved to minimize the harm. "The market alone won't do it," he said.
And market forces will answer some needs while creating new problems, he said.
"Millions of you would rush out to buy a car that gets 100 mpg, so then we're going to create an industry to recycle the millions of cars that are going to be turned in," he said.
Clinton emphasized his wife's health care plan, noting her endorsement by a national nursing group. Clinton argued in great detail how providing universal health care will cost less in the long run by reducing paperwork and implementing preventative and primary care.
"Unless you cover everybody, you will not get control of the cost," he said. "It doesn't matter who you elect president, they will not be able to bring this economy back if we double health care costs again for the next seven years. It is going to break this economy,"
On Iraq, Clinton argued that withdrawing troops would help force the Iraqis to take responsibility for managing their own internal affairs.
"We've got to bring them home," Clinton said of U.S. troops in Iraq. "Nobody should want Iraq to fail, even if you thought it was a mistake to do it in the first place, which I did, you still ought to be pulling for them."