Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife in Evanston

Bill Clinton Evanston
Bill Clinton speaks to a capacity crowd in Evanston about why is wife is the best choice for president (Caroline Kenny/MEDILL)

By Caroline Kenny

Former President Bill Clinton says experience makes his wife the best choice for the Democratic nomination for president. He cites the programs she enacted as First Lady and her job with the Children’s Defense Fund right out of law school as points on her presidential resume.

In a speech to a full room at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston on Tuesday, Clinton drew multiple rounds of applause from a young and rowdy morning crowd while touting his wife’s credentials to be president and urging the voters to show their support for her at the polls.

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“Clearly we ought to vote for a president who is best change maker that I have ever known,” Clinton said. “Be there next week, and you’ll never be sorry.”

Clinton also highlighted his own experience as president, saying that he is the best person to understand what the job entails and who might be qualified to hold it. That person, he said, is his wife Hillary.

“I know something about the job, and I believe I can claim to have made a pretty good difference in people’s lives,” Clinton said. “She’s running for president so we can all rise together. She knows we can’t do it unless we have inclusive economics, inclusive social policies, inclusive national security policy and inclusive politics.”

The event, held just a few blocks from Northwestern University, drew many high school and college students. While many of them might be too young to remember Clinton’s time in the Oval Office, they are backing his wife’s candidacy because of her prominence as a former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State.

“For me as a young woman, to see her out there, someone so inspirational, maybe see her take that power of the presidency, it is really, really exciting,” said Gaby Godinez, a high school senior at Evanston Township High School. “So I think that is why young people should go out and vote for her.”

The co-president and co-founder of the Northwestern Students for Hillary group, Kevin Cheng, introduced Clinton, alongside Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-9).

Early voting was a major part of Schakowsky’s introduction. She urged members of the district to get out and vote early if they can or if they have any conflicts on primary day, which is Tuesday, March 15. Early voting started on February 17 and continues through the day before the primary.

“How man of you have already voted?” Schakowsky asked, as many hands went up around the room. Even more hands and a raucous round of applause began when she asked who planned on voting on March 15.

“I think it’s important to get young people out there and excited and make sure they understand the issues,” said Susan Kerston, a Rogers Park resident. “I don’t think young people understand enough how important the issue of nominating a new Supreme Court justice is to the future.”

Besides praising his wife’s accomplishments, Clinton also expressed his and his wife’s adoration for the Obama presidency. Speaking about one of the most discussed items of recent weeks, Clinton said that Obama can and should nominate a Supreme Court replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Clinton also kept the ties to Obama strong as he said his wife hopes to continue the legacy of the Obama presidency and accomplish what he set out to do during his tenure in office.

Hillary Clinton has a 42 point advantage over her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in Illinois. According to the latest Chicago Tribune poll, Clinton is leading Sanders by a 67 to 25 percent margin.

The former Secretary of State, who was born in Chicago, is not the only Democratic candidate with ties to the area. Sanders attended the University of Chicago and was a member of the city’s activism scene during the Civil Rights era.

Illinois voters hit the polls on March 15 for the statewide primary.

Photo at top: Bill Clinton speaks to a capacity crowd in Evanston about why his wife is the best choice for president (Caroline Kenny/MEDILL)