PATERSON – Former President Bill Clinton took the stage at Passaic County Community College on Friday to ask New Jersey voters to turn out and vote for his wife former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she pursues the presidency. While New Jersey is usually an afterthought in the presidential election process because of the June primary date, this year the competition Clinton has faced from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has pushed New Jersey into an unusual state of relevance.
“The great question in this election is whether we can grow together again,” President Clinton said. “I think there are three reasons Hillary should be president. By light years she has the best ideas. Secondly, she is the only candidate left in the race who actually has a record of getting things done with the other party. Thirdly, she is the only candidate left in the race with the proven ability to manage a deeply troubled world.”
President Clinton also espoused Hillary’s goals to create more economic stability, create jobs through infrastructure improvements (like lead pipe removal) and increasing the amount of renewable energy used in America. He also touched on regulations on Wall Street—one area where Clinton has been subject to significant criticism—and other plans like debt free college and the ability to refinance student loans. During his remarks, Clinton also expressed how Hillary would continue the legacy of President Barack Obama on issues like healthcare if elected.
“This president has done a much better job than he is given credit for,” Clinton said.
President Clinton was introduced by long-time Clinton ally Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-9).
“What we need is a president who understands the barriers, a president who is not afraid to take them head on,” Pascrell said. “That is why we are here today to support Secretary Clinton as the next president.”
Pascrell also mentioned Clinton’s accomplishments as the First Lady, Senator of New York and secretary of state. The congressman also blasted presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“That is action, not empty promises,” Pascrell said. “Rather than building walls to keep people out, Hillary Clinton wants to bring everyone to the table. That is a big difference. It is hard to overstate just how dangerous Donald Trump’s policies would be for Americans. The future of our nation is at stake.”
According to event organizers, around 550 attendees crowded into the building to hear to president speak. New Jersey’s legislators were no exception as Democrats also turned out in full force to back Clinton. New Jersey’s legislators have generally expressed cohesive support of Clinton over Sanders (with the exception of Sanders’ NJ campaign chair Assemblyman John Wisniewski). Because of that fierce establishment support, President Clinton was joined at the Paterson event by the likes of New Jersey/Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie, Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator Nellie Pou, Assemblyman Gary Schaer, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, CD5 candidate (and former Clinton speechwriter) Josh Gottheimer, Paterson Mayor Joey Torres and the Passaic County freeholders, among others.
The former president was not the only member of the Clinton family campaigning around New Jersey Friday. His daughter Chelsea Clinton also toured the state making campaign stops for the opening of the Middlesex County Campaign Office and at an organizing event in Bloomfield. After his Paterson appearance, President Clinton traveled south to Ewing for an event at The College of New Jersey.
Earlier this week, the former secretary of state also campaigned in the Garden State during an appearance in Camden. Clinton’s competitor Sanders held two NJ rallies on Sunday and Monday: one at Rutgers University and the other in Atlantic City.
To close, Clinton hearkened back to his 1992 presidential run where he did not have the sufficient number of delegates until the June primary in New Jersey and California.
“We need New Jersey. Hillary needs you in New Jersey. Don’t believe that just because it is the last day it doesn’t matter,” Clinton said of the June 7 primary. “You are just this close but you have the make the right decision and you have the most gifted change-maker I have ever seen.”