Former president Bill Clinton campaigned for his wife, Hillary Clinton, to a crowd of students and community members at Wake Forest in the Professional Center Library on Sunday, ahead of Tuesday’s North Carolina primary.
The event was organized by “Wake the Vote.”
Winston-Salem councilwoman Denise Adams and Winston-Salem mayor Allen Joines introduced and endorsed Hillary Clinton.
They pointed to and commended her record on race issues, gun violence, affordable healthcare and experience with foreign policy.
“We know, as Secretary of State, that she has a very strong record in terms of foreign policy,” Joines said. “We need someone with that experience.”
However, Bill Clinton switched the conversation whe he stepped on stage and mostly spoke about domestic issues.
One issue he spoke at length about was Hillary Clinton’s promotion of clean energy to help the environment, as well as the economy.
“We need to win the race to become the world’s clean energy superpower,” Bill Clinton said.
According to Bill Clinton, creating more clean energy infrastructure would create thousands of jobs that cannot be moved overseas.
He also said that the U.S. needs to bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas. Since the U.S. is the largest market, Bill Clinton said Hillary Clinton was proposing an exit tax for companies who manufacture goods outside of the country.
Another key to fixing the economy according to Bill Clinton, is helping small businesses, because they account for two thirds of Americans’ jobs.
As he progressed through issues, the audience cheered as he addressed the topic that pertained to a lot of his audience: student loans.
He said that while Sanders advocates for free tuition at public universities, the proposal would ultimately hurt universities by reducing their funding.
He said Hillary Clinton proposes increasing financial aid and providing 10 hours per week of work-study.
More importantly, he said, students should be able to refinance their student loans and convert them into long-term mortgages.
Bill Clinton encouraged the audience to choose Hillary Clinton, because she is a great “change-maker.”
“Is she the most qualified and the only one that has the [foreign] and the domestic experience to be President right now,” he asked. “Yes, it’s true. Would it be a good thing to have the first woman president? Yes, it would.
“But the real reason you ought to be for her is, especially those of you who are younger who have more tomorrows than yesterdays, is that she is the single best change-maker I have ever had anything to do with.”
Most of the attendees of the events were Wake Forest students. Overall, many students enjoyed the event and plan on voting for Hillary Clinton.
“The way that he presented Hillary was really impressive, especially the way he explained her experience with national security and domestic issues and how she’s the most experienced out of all the candidates,” said Daniela Feijoo, a freshman in attendance who is also involved in “Wake the Vote.”
Feijoo also admired Bill Clinton for not attacking Hillary Clinton’s opponents in his speech.
“I thought it was also great that he didn’t take a stab at any of the Republican candidates,” Feijoo said. “A lot of times, the Republican candidates will talk about one of their opponents in their party or Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, and I don’t think that’s really effective sometimes.”
Feijoo was not the only one who thought Bill Clinton conveyed an effective speech.
“It’s always nice to hear the former-president of the United States speak,” said Chris Salemme, a second year law student. “The president is there to unify us, and I think he got that message through loud and clear.”
Though he is not a Democrat, Salemme is considering voting for Hillary Clinton because of the candidates in the Republican Party.
“I’m a Republican, but I’m not happy with candidates in my party,” Salemme said,“I’m thinking that if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I will most likely vote for Hillary. I think she will bring us together and compromise.”
Despite the widespread praise for Bill Clinton, not all of the feedback for the event was positive.
Many people were not allowed into the event because the small space of the law library, despite the line stretching from the law school close to the gates of the University Boulevard, entrance to campus.
“I feel like they should have picked a larger venue, especially considering Bernie [Sanders] and Donald Trump tend to go with large [venues],” said sophomore Charlotte Van Schenck. “Hillary Clinton doesn’t really do that, and I feel like that’s hurting her campaign.”