RENO -- Former President Clinton said Monday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain already has shown he cannot inspire even his own party to back proposals needed for economic recovery.
During an appearance touting Democratic candidate Barack Obama, Clinton said he respected McCain after the senator urged Republicans in Congress this month to support the multibillion-dollar Wall Street bailout bill.
"But they didn't do it," Clinton told 1,200 people gathered at Truckee Meadows Community College. "It made him look bad. It is as if they took out an Uzi and emptied it into his body."
The bailout bill sought by the Bush administration eventually passed 263-171, but 108 Republicans voted no, compared with the 91 who supported it.
Clinton said Obama came under fire when he initially did not take a position on the bailout bill, but the senator was consulting with Clinton's economic advisers and his own economic advisers, and calling people such as Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to determine if the bailout would help ordinary Americans before he gave his support.
Obama showed on that issue that he is a thoughtful, intelligent man who will take the time to analyze issues and consult with the best and brightest before taking action, Clinton said.
He told the largely student crowd that Obama cannot lose the Nov. 4 election unless people forget what the election really concerns.
That, Clinton said, is restoring the economy, restoring the American dream and restoring America's standing in the world.
"The economy is in the tank and we all know it," he said. "About 100 percent of Americans are worrying about it."
Clinton made similar speeches touting Obama's candidacy on Sunday in Las Vegas and early Monday in Elko.
Because of a surge in registrations, Democrats are the majority party in Washoe County for the first time in 30 years.
When questioned before Clinton's appearance, more than 100 in the crowd raised their hands to indicate they already had voted for Obama during early voting.
About a dozen protesters, including some supporters of Ralph Nader, stood along a sidewalk outside the college student center where Clinton spoke.
During his 47-minute speech, Clinton said anyone who watched the three presidential debates should have concluded that Obama has the stronger and more complete solutions to America's economic and health care problems.
He urged the audience not to get angry at Republicans but to talk with them, explain how the next president must deal with monumental problems and how it takes an intelligent, inspiring man like Obama to handle them.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., introduced Clinton.
At the Elko event earlier in the day, Clinton touted Democratic policies in an address to about 400 people at Great Basin College.
He said the economy suffered when the Bush administration was given the opportunity to enact the "extreme right-wing" agenda.
Clinton said 22.7 million jobs were created while he was in office compared with 5million under the Bush administration.
He said development of renewable energy sources in Nevada and elsewhere would create jobs, lessen dependence on foreign oil and help reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
"You've got to hire a president who will get the financial system up and going again and restore competency," Clinton said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.