The 42nd president was back on the campaign trail in South Dakota Friday – this time not for his own political race but for his wife. Former US President Bill Clinton spent time in Sioux Falls stumping for democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Pop music pumped through the speakers in Sioux Falls as people who waited in line excitedly filed into a space draped with stars and stripes, including massive flags. More than an hour and a half later, former president Bill Clinton took the stage.
Clinton spoke to 350 people about his wife Hillary Clinton, a democrat running for president of the United States.
"You need a president, A) with the right policies – only the president can do that, B) with the ability to get as many of them as possible through the Congress in the system that we have, and C) with the ability to keep us safe and give us the space we need to grow so we can lift the world instead of being dragged down by it," Clinton says. "There is no question that she is the only person that can meet all three of those tests."
Clinton says his wife’s accomplishments include feats such as negotiating sanctions on Iran and brokering an end to a violent clash in the Middle East.
"For 45 years, I have watched her do things I did not think anybody could do, almost all of that time as a private citizen. In the democratic primary, you’ve got two people that voted together 93 percent of the time. More than 90 percent of the people who served with both of them have endorsed Hillary," Clinton says. "If you believe that they did it just because they’re part of some corrupt political establishment and there’s no difference in Republicans and Democrats, you shouldn’t vote for her. But if you believe these are good people like Stephanie who tried to make a difference, then you should be for her."
Clinton refers to former US Congresswoman from South Dakota Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. She introduced the president.
The former Commander in Chief says his wife Hillary Clinton supports improving health care, enhancing education, and respecting tribal sovereignty.
"That’s my pitch. South Dakota has been very good to her and to our family. You know that we’re serious when we make these commitments. I was thrilled when Hillary said she wanted me, if she won, to work hard on the economic challenges facing the places that are most in trouble in this country. I believe, I believe we are very close to being able to all rise together, and I would be very happy to come back here and work on that."
Clinton argues she’s the only presidential hopeful who can build political consensus, especially on hot button issues including immigration.
Marilyn Teske from Fort Pierre says that matters to South Dakotans.
"I think immigration is one that I’m really interested in, when he said we cannot build walls, we need to build bridges instead," Teske says. "There are an amazing number of immigrants in South Dakota."
Teske’s sister Patty Johnson lives in Sioux Falls. Johnson says Clinton’s candidacy is more important given the likelihood that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president.
"I worry about the world if it isn’t Hillary there," Johnson says. "I mean, I can’t imagine how the world would look at us and support us if we had Trump there."
Johnson calls herself a "senior" senior citizen, but she says she supports Hillary Clinton because young people need her leadership.