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Bill Clinton Rallies OC Crowd

Thousands turn out to see the former president speak in Irvine on Tuesday evening. He predicts a big drop in gas prices, praises Obama and endorses several local candidates.

Five thousand people spilled into the Bren Events Center at UCI on Tuesday night to hear Bill Clinton endorse President Barack Obama and several Southern California congressional candidates.

Students and other Democratic supporters, many wearing Obama T-shirts and pins, cheered frantically as the silver-haired ex-president strode onto the stage for one of his trademark campaign speeches, his first in traditionally conservative Orange County since 2010.

"These are real people here that are going to affect your lives," Clinton said of the candidates he came to support.

The room erupted in applause throughout his speech.

Clinton praised President Obama's first-term accomplishments, including the Affordable Health Care Act and Student Loan Reform Act, and told the 5,100-capacity arena that voting Democrats into the U.S. House of Representatives would bolster the president's ability to further similiar efforts in his second term.

It's unlikely those policies would stand under a Romney administration, he warned.

Clinton called California the "state of the future," noting that he visited the state 29 times during his own first term as president.

He urged support for Prop. 30, which would increase taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and boost the state sales tax by ¼ cent for four years to help dig California out of its budget mess, and opposition to Prop. 32, which would prohibit unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.

"Here's what I know," he said. "'We're all in this together' works a lot better than 'you're on your own.' "

As he listed statistics that he said show the economy improving, he turned on a bit of his well-known folksy charm.

"Shucks, even gas prices are going down," he said. Clinton predicted prices would drop 50 cents by the end of the year.

The former president spoke directly to students in the audience, promising Obama's continued support to keep education costs down.

Among the candidates Clinton cheered on were state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, who is running for a newly created congressional district covering Long Beach and West Orange County.

The former president also endorsed Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Ventura, San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters, Dr. Raul Ruiz of Palm Springs and Mark Takano of Riverside in their congressional bids.

Brownley, who was selected to introduce Clinton, called the moment the "greatest honor" of her life.

Clinton noted that Ruiz and Richard Carmona, a congressional candidate in Arizona, are both physicians.

"They know that people do die if they don't have health insurance," Clinton said, adding that although the Affordable Care Act isn't perfect, it should not be repealed by Congress.

Takano, a teacher and community college trustee, can lend his expertise to policies that would prepare students for jobs, Clinton said.

As the election draws near, Clinton has been traveling the country campaigning for Obama. His broad appeal has made him a hot commodity for the Democratic ticket, which has deployed him most recently in several swing states. 

Last week, for example, Clinton hit a number of towns in Ohio, including an appearance with Obama supporter Bruce Springsteen.

Mike Moodian, assistant professor of social science at Brandman University, called Clinton “probably the most popular leader in the Democratic Party right now."

As of Monday, the last day to register online in California for the Nov. 6 election, about 523,000 Orange County residents were registered as Democrats, roughly 688,000 as Republicans and nearly 375,000 unaffiliated.

Andromeda October 25, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Reagan didn't lie under sworn oath. Apparently you can't discern the difference or are just blind to it. The fact that a man with such poor judgment had the power to unleash nuclear warheads was cause for serious concern. And why anyone would respect him is beyond me or listen to what he says is beyond me.
met00 October 25, 2012 at 07:49 PM
LMAO. Lying under oath about consensual sex is worse than lying about stuff that kills people? Wow, that is a totally screwed up set of values.
Andromeda October 25, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Lying under sworn oath about anything is a very serious offense, especially if you happen to be the POTUS who took a sworn oath to uphold the Constitution and uphold the laws of our nation. Anarchists would probably think it's okay for a POTUS to lie under oath though.
Gabrielle Block October 26, 2012 at 03:21 AM
OK, hold on here. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman". "Sexual relations" means "sexual intercourse". Look it up in the dictionary. Bill and Monica did not have sexual intercourse, they had oral sex. Yes, it was a sleazy thing to do, and Bill Clinton did not tell the whole truth, but he was technically not lying, and he did not commit perjury.
Andromeda October 26, 2012 at 05:09 AM
I have no idea why anyone would make excuses for this bottomfeeder. Clinton repeatedly and willfully lied, deceived and feigned forgetfulness while testifying under sworn oath. This was proven beyond a doubt. He lied not only about his sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, he willfully lied about other material facts surrounding both Ms. Lewinsky and Paula Jones. You need to educate yourself by reading the facts of the case. Again, for a sitting President and licensed attorney who swore to uphold the laws of the land to willfully lie and obstruct justice through our American legal system and bring disgrace upon our nation in the eyes of the world was depicable.

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