Bill Clinton sticks to policy in Denver visit |

Bill Clinton sticks to policy in Denver visit

George Merritt
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
President Bill Clinton, front, and his daughter Chelsea, enter during a campaign stop at the University of Denver for the Democratic presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton in Denver on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER ” Former President Bill Clinton stuck to policy issues Wednesday night while campaigning for his wife in the same Denver arena where Barack Obama earlier in the day said Hillary Rodham Clinton’s election would be a return to the past.

Clinton laid out what he called his case for the New York senator, focusing on her differences with President Bush and her ability to restore the country’s standing in the world.

“We’ve got to restore America’s leadership,” he said. “(Hillary Clinton) will send the world a very different message about America. She will say, ‘We’re back.'”

Clinton, who also campaigned in Illinois and Oklahoma Wednesday, spoke to about 2,300 people who traveled through a snow storm to the University of Denver campus.

Illinois Sen. Obama, Hillary Clinton’s main competitor in the Democratic race for president, drew a crowd of more than 10,000 in the same spot earlier in the day. Adjacent rooms were used for overflow crowds.

During his speech, Obama criticized Clinton for siding with Republicans on such issues as fair trade and national security.

Bill Clinton has taken several swipes at Obama in recent campaign stops, spurring Obama to strike back at both Clintons. But Wednesday, Bill Clinton didn’t fire any new salvos. He said he liked all the Democratic presidential candidates and noted that with his wife and Obama left in the field, history will be made if a Democrat is elected president ” the country will have its first female or black president.

Former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina dropped out of the race earlier Wednesday.

But the former president did say that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to bring about change. Obama has cast himself as the candidate best equipped to make changes.

“It’s not experience vs. change,” Clinton said, “it is who’s got the experience to make a change for other people.”

Sen. Clinton “is the best change-maker I have ever known,” he added.

Hillary Clinton won Florida’s Democratic primary Tuesday, though none of the candidates campaigned there and no delegates were awarded.

Clinton’s speech was part of a “Solutions for America” tour he has been on this week, visiting college campuses in front of Tuesday’s caucuses in Colorado. The Centennial State is one of 22 holding nominating contests that day.

Both the Clinton and Obama campaigns have predicted wins in Colorado.

Marshall Kaiser, 29, who attended both rallies in Denver Wednesday, said he was impressed with the former president, including the way Clinton eloquently, but forcefully, dispatched a heckler claiming the attacks of Sept. 11 were a government conspiracy.

While the former president won over Kaiser, he said “Nothing he said really convinced me to vote for (Clinton.)”

“The tough thing about tonight is we are not voting for Bill,” Kaiser said.

He added that he is leaning toward voting for Obama because he felt he had a better grasp of the candidate after seeing him in person.

Bill Clinton planned to visit Albuquerque, N.M., Thursday.

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