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Ex-president stumps for wife

Former President Bill Clinton spent the day in Las Vegas Monday talking up his wife as the best choice for the presidency, but he also took the time to weigh in on the lawsuit that seeks to get rid of nine special locations on the Strip where casino workers can attend Saturday’s Democratic presidential caucuses.

“I think the rules ought to be the same for everybody,” Clinton told students at Green Valley High School in Henderson. “I would question why you would ever have a temporary caucus site and say only the people who work there, i.e., the people that we know are going to vote in a certain way or we think they will, (are) able to caucus.”

Clinton’s remarks came during a day when he campaigned before adoring crowds in Henderson and in Las Vegas on behalf of his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is in a tight race for the Democratic presidential nomination with Sen. Barack Obama.

Throughout stops at the Henderson high school, the Centennial Hills YMCA and Doolittle Community Center, Clinton referred to his wife as the one candidate experienced enough to produce real change in the country’s domestic and foreign policies.

On Friday a lawsuit was filed against the Nevada Democratic Party by the Nevada State Teachers Association and a group of individuals who contend that the at-large precincts set up for 11 a.m. Saturday are unfair because non-Strip workers do not have the same access considerations.

The Clinton campaign has said it’s not involved in the lawsuit. But the Obama campaign has suggested that Clinton allies are the plaintiffs and seek to disenfranchise voters by suddenly trying to change rules agreed upon in March.

The lawsuit was filed two days after Obama was endorsed by the Culinary union, the largest union in the state with 60,000 members, 40 percent of whom are Hispanic.

That endorsement is seen as a huge boost to Obama’s campaign and a threat to Hillary Clinton’s front-runner status.

But adversity, Bill Clinton said Monday, is something his wife deals with well.

As an example, he noted her comeback in the New Hampshire primary, where her 39 percent to 36 percent victory over Obama came after she fell well behind in the polls. “You can complete that comeback so America can make a comeback,” he told audiences.

Clinton also noted that his wife didn’t give up after she failed to produce a universal health insurance plan during his administration, instead developing the Children’s Health Insurance Program that insured 6 million. “You need to know what a president will do when failure comes calling,” the former president said.

Clinton noted that his wife’s energy policy — which would harness wind, solar and other alternative forms of energy — could mean millions of jobs for Americans who would build the new energy formats.

“We can reclaim the future and restore our middle class,” he said, adding that his wife realizes the nation is currently “underinvesting in research.”

Nevada, he said, could be the first “energy self-sufficient state” because of its climate.

Clinton maintained that more than half of the world is now “mad at us.” That, he said, is because the Bush administration has favored force over diplomacy and worked against treaties on climate change and nuclear proliferation.

With his wife as president, that will change, he said. “Force will be a last resort,” he said, adding that the New York senator will be environmentally conscious and ensure that America is a positive example in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.

Clinton said his wife long has realized that the American health care is good when you’re very ill, but health insurance doesn’t cover up to one-third of the people. Her universal health insurance can be paid for in part, he said, by letting tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire.

Clinton met with precinct captains for his wife’s caucus campaign at the YMCA, joking that they shouldn’t feel pressure now that the future of the free world rests on their shoulders.

He will campaign for his wife today at events in Sparks and Carson City.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact reporter Paul Harasim at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2908.

 

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