Unity over division, practical know-how over unproven ideology and inclusion over marginalization.
Those were the themes of former President Bill Clinton’s stump speech on behalf of wife Hillary Clinton in New Orleans on Friday, as he tried to rally her supporters a day ahead of Louisiana’s presidential primary.
Clinton’s remarks largely mirrored the speech he gave in Baton Rouge on Thursday, as he again spoke of his wife’s desire to “put every single person in this country in the picture” of prosperity, in part by making college affordable and investing in job-creating technologies like solar panels and domestic infrastructure.
“People are within driving distance of all these good jobs, and there’s a mismatch between what they know and what they need,” he said.
The former president also pointed to his wife’s commitment to reform policing and her desire to ensure that “police officers ... look like the people they are policing,” and he praised the mothers of children lost to street violence, some of whom were seated in the audience.
The women, part of a city-supported initiative aimed at community building and heading off street killings, “symbolize a very important part of America’s challenge and a very important part of Hillary’s campaign” — to ensure that all Americans feel safe and are respected, the former president said.
Bill Clinton’s speech at the Ashé Power House Theater in Central City came on the eve of Saturday’s Louisiana primary, which political experts predict will turn out well for Hillary Clinton, who will go head-to-head against Democratic rival U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders.
She has focused in recent days on galvanizing black voters, who make up a major bloc of the Democratic base in Louisiana and other Southern states.
Only registered Democrats will be able to cast votes Saturday for Clinton or Sanders, while only Republicans may choose from among a larger field of GOP candidates.
The Republican candidates were never far from Bill Clinton’s remarks, as he moved quickly to ridicule Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, in which U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz relentlessly attacked real estate mogul Donald Trump.
“I thought I was watching a sixth-grade recess fight,” Clinton quipped.
He also reprimanded Trump and other GOP candidates for their stances on immigration, as well as Trump’s call for a ban on allowing Muslims into the country. The vast majority of American Muslims “hate terror, hate violence and love this country,” Clinton said.
As for Trump’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, Clinton said undocumented Mexican immigration — which peaked more than a decade ago — is merely the Republicans’ convenient “whipping boy.”
Aside from targeting the GOP, Clinton also got in some subtle digs at Sanders.
“There’s a big debate in our primary about what’s the best way to make change,” he said. “Some people really believe that there will never be change until we just beat the other guys into submission and take over the Congress, and everything will be wonderful.”
“Now, I don’t think you can wait for that,” he said.
His wife, however — a former New York senator and secretary of state with a strong command of foreign policy issues — has a history of making friends, not enemies, the former president said. “And she’s the only person who does.”