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Bill Clinton’s Raleigh Stump Speech Kicks Off Hillary's Campaign Week In North Carolina

Bill Clinton
Jorge Valencia
Bill Clinton, after giving a 45-minute speech in Raleigh's Market Square

Former President Bill Clinton gave speeches in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte on Monday, urging voters to support his wife Hillary and opening a week of heavy presidential campaigning in North Carolina.

Clinton compared the Republican presidential debates to a “grade-school playground fight” and offered an alternative to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ free college tuition proposal, which he said would drive up overall tuition costs.

“People who can afford to pay something should pay something and high income people should pay for their kids’ education,” Clinton said.

Clinton, in a 45-minute speech that seemed to appeal to voters in next week’s primary just as much voters in the the November general election, tackled a range of issues, including student loan debt, small business loans, solar energy, voting rights and Supreme Court appointments.

Clinton, as the campaign has done for several weeks, sought to liken Hillary Clinton’s mission to President Obama’s. While he said Obama deserves more credit for the country’s economic growth, he acknowledged many are disappointed with his record.

“Hillary is running for president to put every single American in the picture President Obama painted,” the former president said. “People are upset, frankly, they're disoriented because they don't see themselves in that picture.”

Clinton spoke in Raleigh as Republican hopeful Donald Trump prepared to speak in Concord. Trump is scheduled to speak in Fayetteville on Wednesday, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is scheduled to speak in Raleigh on Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead among Democratic voters in North Carolina, ahead of the primary. According to a High Point University poll, 55 percent of Democratic primary voters would vote for Clinton while 29 percent would vote for Sanders.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
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