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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bubba shows up in Kirkwood and the Crowd Laps It Up

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 12:00 PM

If you wait long enough, he will come. When he comes, you will get to see him. Repeat these lines over and over and you get the sense what it was like waiting two and a half hours last night to see Bill Clinton at Kirkwood High School.

Arriving at 5:30 p.m. meant walking about half a mile to the end of the line. An hour later the line had already snaked around the parking lot.

"Get your buttons here!" Vendors shouted as they peddled campaign paraphernalia. Meanwhile, Obama volunteers approached people in line to ask them to sign in, and sign up for volunteer work. Oh yeah, and everyone who waited got a little round yellow sticker. Strange but true.

Bowling Green resident Lynda Clair said she decided to make the trip as soon as she found out the 42nd president was on the menu. Clair said she still remembers seeing him in Quincy, Illinois in 1998, which required waiting in frigid temperatures.

Standing next to her, Larry Robertson, of New London, also said he was a big fan.

''I wish he could run again," he said. ''I enjoy listening to him. I don''t care if he was running for dogcatcher."

Two spots ahead of the couple, Natalie Holtzinger, a campus organizer for the Missouri Public Interest Research Group, said she was forcing her boyfriend Kyle Cassidy to join her and Hilary Albers, an intern with the organization.

''We make a habit of going," she said.

The five attendees were let into the building a little before 7:30 p.m. After a series of speakers, including reciting the pledge of allegiance and listening to a long prayer, Clinton finally stepped onto the stage of the packed gym at 8 p.m.

''I just came from Nevada," he told the crowd, his face glowing pink, his hair white as bone.

''We''re gonna win it again," he said, to the roaring applause of sign wavers and picture-takers.

Mixing charisma with wonky recitations of statistics, Clinton touched on everything from the financial crisis, to restoring respect in the world, to improving health care and education. He urged the crowd to talk to everyone they could about Obama until Nov. 4.

In a presidential campaign, Clinton said voters usually only get to see a candidate make one executive decision -- their pick for vice president. But Obama''s decision to talk to a wide variety of people before proposing plans (including Bill Clinton) impressed the former president.

''Before he opened his mouth he wanted to make sure he understood," Clinton said, without biting his lip.

This year, he said, voters are making a very important decision about the future.

''You''re the employer and you''re about to make a hire."

- Matt Kasper


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