CLEVELAND: “Who won Monday night’s presidential debate?” former President Bill Clinton asked those gathered in Cleveland on Tuesday.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, by a knockout, her husband told the crowd of about 400 with a strong youth presence at Ginn Academy — Ohio’s only all-male public high school.
The crowd of Hillary Clinton supporters celebrated her debate performance, chanting, “Stronger Together” and “Hil-la-ry” in the school’s auditorium.
“She won hands down. She was there for you. She ran on the issues,” he said. “But winning debates doesn’t matter; winning the election does.”
Bill Clinton told the crowd that, unlike her opponent, Republican Donald Trump, the Democratic candidate wants a working economy for everyone. She offers empowerment and wants to keep building on partnerships and President Barack Obama’s legacy, he said, adding that Obama has brought back 900,000 jobs lost during the recession since he took office.
Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day and Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, made good use of his stump speech (42 days before the Nov. 8 election) to tell people how important it is for young people to get out and vote. He urged the audience to make sure family members register by Oct. 12, when early voting starts.
President Clinton’s trip is part of an ongoing investment by Hillary Clinton’s campaign in voter registration efforts in Ohio to mirror the coalition that helped Obama carry the state in 2008 and 2012.
“There are more than enough reasons for young people to be discouraged,” Bill Clinton said, “but do you want anger or answers? Walls instead of bridges? Conflict instead of family and community working together? Resentment or empowerment?
“Like the late great Muhammad Ali, your future is in your hands,” Clinton said. “He wrote his own life’s story and you can, too.”
Clinton said Trump’s “Make America Great Again” motto is code for some people being moved up — and down — the food chain or the social totem pole.
“But Hillary wants to tear down the totem pole and move forward, because with a diverse community we are stronger together,” he said.
“She wants to reward businesses who want to take care of their people,” he continued. She wants “free college tuition to encourage young entrepreneurs and refinance student debt and suspend college debt for three years until their businesses get started.”
Clinton talked about the need for police officers to wear body cameras, receive more training, increase community policing and other policies his wife supports.
Clinton was introduced by Cleveland State University senior Brendan Sala, who is majoring in political science. Sala, born in 1995, said that Bill Clinton has been his hero since he was a child and that he became a backer of Hillary Clinton because of her support for family and labor.
“I have a moral obligation to support her,” he said. “I’m fighting for Hillary because I know she will fight for me.”
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, who also addressed the crowd before Clinton spoke, also talked about the debate, calling Trump a “serial liar.”
“I can say how I feel because I’m not a news commentator,” Budish said. “He has no respect for women. He’s a racist and mocks people with disabilities. He calls Mexicans murderers and women slobs and pigs and is all for the stop-and-frisk policy,” he said. “He is a dangerous man, and we must speak out and stop him in Cleveland.”
Marilyn Miller can be reached by 330-996-3098 or mmiller@the beacon journal.com