Crowd greets Bill Clinton on visit to Warren, Youngstown

WARREN – Former President Bill Clinton elated supporters Wednesday who welcomed him to Warren with shouts of “First Man” as he campaigned for his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

About 100 people crowded into Hillary Clinton’s Trumbull County headquarters, 4013 E. Market St., to listen to Bill Clinton deliver a 15-minute speech as part of a multi-county bus tour in Ohio this week.

“America can have a 21st century version of the middle class. I think we can get people good jobs where their incomes go up and we can give poor people a chance to work their way up to the middle class like we did when I was president,” Clinton said. “We do not have to put up with one long nightmare after another. But we can create that nightmare if we shoot ourselves in the foot by deciding to go back to trickle down economics on steroids.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced Clinton, praising him for balancing the budget while he was in the White House and criticizing Republican Donald Trump for using out-of-country manufacturers in China, Europe and Asia to produce suits, tableware, glassware, furniture and steel for his brand.

“Hypocrisy is what (Trump) is all about,” Brown said. “You contrast that with, no offense Mr. President, with Hillary Clinton, who is the most qualified person ever to run for president, again no disrespect to this gentleman, who was a pretty good president.”

Clinton said the country gained manufacturing jobs while he was at the helm and said progress was stymied when a Republican president took the reins after him.

Electing someone with the wrong priorities and focusing on the negative will derail the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession that President Barack Obama inherited in 2008, Clinton said.

The only thing that will hold the country back from a better “modern day version of the 1990s” is gridlock in Washington, D.C., and “trouble around the world,” Clinton said.

And despite the harsh tone of the election, Hillary Clinton was known for working across the aisle when she served as the U.S. senator from New York, and many Republicans had complimentary things to say about her before, “It was a different kettle of fish,” Bill Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton is the right person to deal with “episodic terror” in Europe and at home, and capable of bringing security to the world by bolstering American infrastructure and technology in a way that “democratizes job placement,” Clinton said.

Many of those in attendance were volunteers for the campaign, and Clinton asked them to stay positive as they promote his wife, to knock on as many doors as a possible and register as many voters as possible.

The voters in Ohio must be energized on Nov. 8, Clinton said, because not voting is a like a vote for the other party.

Gale Johnson of Warren admits she was originally a Bernie Sanders supporter, but said Hillary Clinton is the next best thing. She is making calls for the campaign and said she supported Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Johnson and other supporters said a vote against Hillary Clinton is a vote that will put a stranglehold on progress.

Mike Lipski said as a veteran and gay man, he doesn’t trust Trump to keep the country moving forward, citing the strides made in support of social issues and the reduction of threats to service men and women by using troops more cautiously.

It bothers him, Lipski said, that Trump doesn’t pay taxes to support the Department of Veterans Affairs, but is quick to criticize.

The former president also met with local Democrats for lunch at Vernon’s Cafe in Niles, where he dined with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, and reminded people to register to vote before the Tuesday deadline and begin voting as soon as possible, on Wednesday.

In Youngstown, Clinton stopped at Starting Lineup Barbershop and Joe Maxx Coffee, promoting the former First Lady’s economic and manufacturing plan.

rfox@tribtoday.com