President Bill Clinton Speaks at TCNJ

The College of New Jersey had a very special guest this Friday, May 13th- the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Students of the college and members of the community came out to see the former President speak about his wife’s, Hillary Rodham Clinton, candidacy for this year’s presidential election. The event was very well attended, as the line to get into Packer Hall stretched back to Wolfe Hall as students and visitors waited with umbrellas in the rain.

Photo Credit: Twitter - @NewsWorksNJ

The basketball court was packed; the bleachers were filled and the floor surrounding the stage was crammed with people. The podium and banner behind the stage displayed the same slogan: ‘Fighting for us.’ A few signs were held up in the crowd, with phrases such as ‘TCNJ (hearts) Hillary’ and ‘I’m with HER,’ along with a mother-daughter group held bright pink signs that read ‘Girl Power!’

The scoreboard was even changed for the event; the time was set at 20:16, while the Home score was changed to 45 and the Visitor’s to 42, referring to the 42nd President speaking about his wife possibly becoming the 45th President.

Photo Credit: Twitter- TCNJ student Colleen Murphy

After Clinton was introduced, the entire crowd stood to their feet and cheered, while it seemed like every pair of arms were holding up smart phones and cameras, ready to capture the moment the former President stepped onto the stage.

As Clinton thanked everyone for coming, he singled out the students in the crowd, stating that he especially wants to thank the students for coming and getting involved. He then went on the talk about the top three reasons why he believes Hillary is the best candidate:

“I think she’s got the best ideas that are most likely to help the largest amount of people, to raise middle class incomes, restore upward mobility, reduce inequality, and launch an explosive economic activity in this country.”

“Second, she’s the only person left in either party that’s got a record of getting things done with members of the other party.”

“Third, she’s the only person extremely qualified to keep bad things from happening and to give us both the safety and the space we need to grow.”

Photo Credit: Twitter- @DuncanHosie

Clinton then discussed some of Hillary’s thoughts on policies, including her belief that students should graduate debt-free, and any debt that graduates currently have should be turned into a mortgage to make to easier for students to pay off over time. He also discussed her stance against the fact that many Americans do not get paid leave when they have children, “You cannot ask a family to choose between succeeding in work and succeeding in raising children.”

Clinton then took a little jab at Trump’s slogan, ‘Make America Great Again,’ by saying that America wasn’t always so great for everyone. Clinton states that things are much better now and we are a country with more diversity and acceptance, “America is so much less sexist, racist, homophobic and religiously bigoted than it used to be.” However, Clinton states that there is definitely still sexism, racism, homophobia and bigotry in the U.S., and not enough open conversations.

When discussing the need for more open conversations, Clinton says that people tend to not talk to people they disagree with, but rather just ignore them: “The one thing that has gotten worse is we can’t stand to be around anybody that disagrees with us anymore, and that’s dangerous for Democracy.” Clinton referred to a speech he held just a few days prior, where he was booed as he stepped on stage. Instead of allowing his security to remove the people who booed, he asked for them to talk to him after the event to openly discuss their concerns and ask questions.

He then continued to discuss all of Hillary’s achievements and goals, “Hillary is not gonna give up on any American, she wants us to all rise together.” The main takeaway from Clinton’s speech could not be missed, as he kept going back to the same phrase (maybe one too many times…) that we can all rise together as a nation.

Clinton ended his speech on a positive note, stating that Hillary is the best candidate because she is a change-maker, she finds a way to make something good happen for someone else every day, and she wants the best for our country and people. “And if you want that too,” Clinton concludes, “I hope that you vote for her for President. Thank you and God bless.”