Former President Clinton stresses wife's experience

February 17, 2008 6:18:46 PM PST
Former President Bill Clinton told an overflow crowd Saturday that his wife wants to repeal tax cuts given to oil companies in 2005 and use the money to develop alternative energy sources. "Texas is already the No. 1 producer of wind energy in the country and you haven't even scratched the surface of what you can do," Clinton told about 2,200 people who packed the gym at Lubbock High School on his second straight day of campaigning in Texas for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The former president pointed to solar, geothermal and biofuel sources that could be expanded with the money regained from the cuts. He also included the petroleum industry.

"Is there a role for oil and gas? You bet there is, but we have to build a clean energy future," said Clinton, who arrived about 30 minutes later than scheduled.

He also touched on how the median income of Americans has dropped by $1,000 a year while health care has doubled in cost and food and energy prices have risen.

"Everything has gone up and people have less money," Bill Clinton said. "They are broke. And meanwhile the government for the last seven years kept throwing tax cuts at people like me that didn't need it."

He then left for his final stop of the night in Austin, where an overflow crowd gathered at Hillary Clinton's state headquarters more than an hour before her husband was to speak. Campaign officials said they would hold two separate rallies -- one for the capacity crowd indoors and another outdoors for those who couldn't fit inside.

The former president planned to speak to both groups. While they waited for Bill Clinton to show up, organizers passed around plastic buckets and asked for cash contributions to the campaign. People plopped in $1, $5 and $20 bills.

Earlier in the day in Amarillo, Clinton told a crowd that his wife is the most experienced presidential candidate running for office. The candidate's husband kept returning to that theme, saying she offers workable solutions to political problems.

About 3,000 people showed up at the Amarillo Civic Center Grand Plaza to see the former president. Hillary Clinton's campaign billed the event as a "Solutions for America" town hall meeting.

"We've got to get back into the business of making solutions," Bill Clinton said. "Hillary is the best candidate out there for that."

In his 90-minute address in Amarillo, the former president said Hillary Clinton will focus on reinvigorating education, health care and the economy. If elected, she plans to create a universal pre-kindergarten program and dismantle the No Child Left Behind initiative championed by President Bush, her husband said.

Hillary Clinton wants to focus on improving diplomatic relations with other countries, he said.

"The rest of the world is mad at us because, for the last seven years, we've told them it's our way or the highway," he said. "If Hillary is elected, her message would be this: America is back."