Clinton: Now is Texas' chance to make up for Bush

McClatchy NewspapersMarch 1, 2008 

FORT WORTH — Addressing a roaring crowd of thousands at the Historic Stockyards, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Saturday that Texans have a chance to make up for giving America George W. Bush.

"Everyone has a right to come home, but we're just going to be happy when the moving van pulls away from the White House," Clinton said. "We need a president at Day One who can go into the Oval Office and start repairing the damage."

The crowd trickled in all morning past the metal detectors, but when Clinton approached the stage, many people were still stuck far away behind the barricades.

"I know all of you can't see me, and there are all these people we couldn't get in, but I see you," Clinton called out.

Those getting close to the stage area were wearing "Hillary for President" T-shirts and carrying signs with phrases such as "Give 'em Hill" and "The eyes of Texas are on Hillary."

"I used to say I never wanted a woman to be president, but that's one tough lady," said Genevieve Ruelas of Fort Worth, who said she was leaning toward voting for Clinton on Tuesday.

Both candidates have poured millions of dollars into campaigning across Texas, with TV and radio ads, phone banks and a slew of public appearances.

Supporters who addressed the crowd before Clinton urged those in the crowd who had not voted early to vote Tuesday morning, and then return back to their polling location Tuesday night for the precinct convention.

At one point, Clinton's campaign told the crowd there were 10,000 people in line.

The rally was a rain check on Clinton's part. She abruptly canceled a Feb. 22 rally in downtown Fort Worth after a Dallas police officer in her motorcade was in a fatal accident that morning. Clinton attended the officer's funeral Friday.

Several in attendance said they approved of how Clinton handled the officer's death.

"It gave her more of a heart that we haven't seen from her," said Christy Strelow of Cleburne, an undecided voter. "Her campaign has been very harsh."

Jo Ann Guzman of Fort Worth was one of the first people in line Saturday morning, having shown up at 6 a.m. When asked why she was supporting Clinton over Obama, she simply held up a dog tag around her neck with a photo of her son, Justin Gomez, who is stationed in Baghdad.

"I want a woman this time in there," she said. "I think she will do a better job."

The delegate count for both candidates is close, although Obama has won more than 10 consecutive victories.

Everyone in the crowd went through metal detectors, a stark difference from the procedures at Clinton's rally last week, when few if any of the attendees appeared to go through security.

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