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Bill Clinton Energizes Voters In Pensacola

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Bob Barrett
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WUWF News

A crowd of supporters came to greet the 42nd  President of the United States as he spoke in Pensacola on Saturday.

"Bill Clinton was the first president I voted for" said Susan Ensley, who was waiting in line in front of the E. S. Cobb Community Center in Pensacola hours before the event was scheduled to begin. "It makes me think of my grandmothers because both of them were born before women were given the right to vote, before the 19th amendment. And they both sort of instilled in me  the importance of voting."

Ensley was one of a few thousand people who showed up to hear Bill Clinton give a campaign speech for his wife Hillary. The event came together quickly. Dianne Krumel is the President of the Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club said they had about four days to set the whole thing up. "Things happen really fast with the campaigns and we have to be ready at a moment's notice to make it happen."

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This is Bill Clinton's full speech.
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Credit Bob Barrett / WUWF News
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WUWF News

And the organizers were working to make it happen up to the last minute. As late as Friday afternoon they were investigating larger venues for the event, but in the end had to stay with the Cobb Community center, which had a capacity of about 500. Once the event got under way, a variety of speakers worked to fire up the crowd for the main event. Regina Partee is a field organizer with the campaign. "I came to this little city, this little city with a big, giant heart and amazing people." She said she and the other campaign organizers felt welcome in Pensacola. "I love this cirt. I love what you guys do!"

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Credit Bob Barrett / WUWF News
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WUWF News
Campaign organizer Regina Partee

Also speaking at the event was democratic candidate for Congress Stephen Spect, who led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance. And, in a display of bipartisanship, Pensacola’s Republican Mayor Ashton Hayward introduced County Commissioner Lumon May, who said "You know I can't be long. My daddy was a Baptist minister and if I talk a long time I'll take up an offering." He then introduced Clinton who took the stage to a big welcome from the capacity crowd.

After thanking some people the former president told a story about a memory he had about the area. "The first time I came to Pensacola I was 17 years old. And we had a tradition in my high school band that if we could go out and raise the money to charter a bus, the seniors could take a trip where ever they wanted to go. We wanted to go to Pensacola. And there I was, you know, on that bus, crossing the South, making our way to Pensacola. I got here and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Apparently a lot of you do too, that's why you live here."

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Credit Bob Barrett / WUWF News
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WUWF News

Clinton spoke for a little over 53 minutes with a speech that was long on policy and details. He spoke at length about the current economy. "I know it may not be popular here in North Florida but you can take my word for it, four or five years from now the economists are going to give Barak Obama a lot better grades on this economy than they are now."

And then he went about explaining how and why. He did a lot of that. Telling people why things worked and why some things haven’t and probably won’t. After the speech, Hazel Davis who attended the event with some family said Clinton made things easy to understand. "He explained it as if we were two years old.  Everything he said, he explained it so that a pre-schooler could understand the focus of what Hillary has in store for the USA."

Clinton spoke about financial policy, energy policy, education, college debt, health care, the national debt, small business finance, outsourcing jobs, race relations and a lot of other things. He never once said the word Trump, and only spoke about Hillary’s opponent once or twice while pointing out differences in policy.

Former President Bill Clinton is the third major surrogate to visit Pensacola in the past couple of weeks. Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence and Anne Holton, the wife of Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine have also visited recently. Earlier this year, Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump held a pair of rallies at the Pensacola Bay Center.