IOWA CITY — In a packed room in the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel and one day before the Iowa caucuses, former President of the United States Bill Clinton laid out issues being faced by this country.
Touching on such topics as racial and social equality, financial prosperity and the growing heroin and prescription-drug abuse, Clinton urged the room of more than 800 people to choose the candidate who can best cross the aisle for bipartisan discussions and create change — his wife, Hillary Clinton.
“We are going to share the future, the only main issues are the terms on which we share it. Are they going to be positive or negative?” he asked. “She’s the best change maker I have ever known and I hope you caucus for her tomorrow night.”
Taking breaks for applause, Clinton’s speech lasted about an hour and took the audience through a laundry list of the former first lady and U.S. senator of New York’s accomplishments, including her time as U.S. Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.
Speaking only a few blocks from the University of Iowa, the former president appealed to the college students in the crowd by noting his wife’s campaign focus on more affordable higher education.
“We have got to do something about that, and the college students feel the same way,” he said. “So what difference does it make if we’ve got the best system of higher education in the world if a bunch of people can’t access it? We have to grow together, we have to solve these social problems together.”
In Iowa City’s crowd, Ken and Gayle Royar said they were supporting Hillary Clinton for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest was her experience.
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“She’s obviously had a lot of experience,” Ken Royar, 79, said. “She outweighs all of them.”
Rian Brown, from Cleveland, was in Iowa City Sunday for an interview at the UI when she noticed the crowd gathering for Clinton’s speech. Still undecided between Hillary Clinton and one of her challengers, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Brown said she was enthused about witnessing the Iowa campaign experience firsthand.
“It is exciting to see this as an outsider because I’ve never been to Iowa during the caucuses,” she said.
Sunday’s event — which also included statements from former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin — was the first of three that day for Clinton’s Get Out the Caucus Event, which included stops planned in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.
In the three days before Monday’s caucus, the Clintons will have blitzed nine different locations in eight Eastern Iowa communities, according to itinerary from the Clinton campaign.
The Clintons will close out caucus night at Drake University in Des Moines.