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Clinton wows locals

The former president brings wife's campaign message to Oregon City High School
by:  JOHN LARIVIERE, Former President Bill Clinton speaks to an excited crowd at Oregon City High School. Clinton was campaigning for his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Former President Bill Clinton, stumping for his wife's campaign, treated audience members from all over Clackamas County to a 30-minute, in-depth rundown of Hillary Clinton's policies, full of his renowned charm and amusing anecdotes, at Oregon City High School Saturday.

Bill Clinton gave brief but substantive overviews of his wife's policies on health care, creating jobs and fixing the economy, withdrawing troops from Iraq and improving education; all while throwing in a little humor and some hometown love.

Upon taking the stage in the gym, he said he was glad to be at the 'home of the greatest girls basketball team' in the state, explaining that he's a big basketball fan but believed so much in Hilary Clinton's presidency that he gave up watching the men's and women's NCAA championships to campaign for her.

'I believe she is the single best candidate for president I have supported for decades,' Clinton said.

Some of those in attendance had already decided they're supporting Hillary Clinton but wanted to hear more about her Oregon-specific policies.

Sydney Van Haute, a 16-year-old Rex Putnam High Schools student, said she saw Hilary speak a few weeks ago in Hillsboro, but since then Clinton has unveiled her 'Oregon Compact.'

'Before she had plans for certain things, but now she as the whole list of things for the Oregon Compact and I want to hear (Bill Clinton) talk about specifics,' Van Haute said.

Van Haute believes in Clinton so much that she's manipulated a vote for herself.

'I pick who my mom votes for because she doesn't care, so I get my own vote in my own way,' she said, adding that she's convinced her grandparents and uncle to vote, too.

Van Haute said she likes Clinton's healthcare plan and other national policies, but she also thinks Clinton's local policies trump those of the other candidates.

'As far as Obama, he doesn't have as specific plans for us and he voted for the McCain energy bill with the liquid gas pipeline and I don't think that was very considerate for us,' she said. 'McCain, I don't think he's as globally conscious.'

For others who've decided to go with Clinton, they said it's about her leadership, her experience and her health care plan.

'I think she's very solid in her ideas, she's very solid in her policies,' said Angela Dreher, 69, of West Linn. 'She does have a mind of her own; she's not walking in her husband's shadow. I think she's very sincere, I think she's done a lot of research, I have a lot of confidence in her.'

Dreher said her ideas on education and her health plan are impressive.

'I'm certainly someone who believes high education should be available to everyone,' Dreher said. 'I think (Clinton's health care plan) is more complete, I think it's more thorough, I think she's addressed all of the issues.'

She even said Clinton's imperfections appeal to her.

'I love it when she makes mistakes, because she's up front about them,' Dreher said. 'When Obama makes one, there's four people there to make excuses for him. I'm tired of excuses.'

Others cited Clinton's political experience as reasons for supporting her.

'I'd have to say her experience' sets her above the other, said Anne Talbott, 63, from Lake Oswego. 'And I know it's kind of cliché - her experience, her detailed knowledge, her policies, her work ethic, her commitment, and, I'm not supporting her because she's a woman, but I think it'd be terrific to see a woman in the White House.'

Joanne Seeger, 67, of Sandy, agrees.

'I think she has plans, she gets things done,' Seeger said. 'I've seen her in the Senate. Even in the Senate she caught the attention of the Republicans - they saw her understanding of issues … I really see Obama and she agreeing on most policies … The health policy is what sets them apart. His policy is not mandated. I love that he thinks everyone would do it because it's such a good plan,' but she doesn't see that happening.

And many said that if Hilary Clinton makes it to office, her husband would be a great asset.

'Well, he's brilliant, so sure he will be,' said Anne Talbott, 63, from Lake Oswego. 'It never hurts to have someone with that kind of experience and intelligence to bounce your ideas off of. I don't think he's going to be the one running things, but it's always useful to have someone who's that well-informed.'