Former president speaks in Portland
Former President Bill Clinton spoke in Portland Sunday, September 26 to support Libby Mitchell for governor.
Former President of the United States Bill Clinton spoke at a rally for Maine gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell Sunday, September 26 in Portland at Southern Maine Community College. The rally, which was organized in support of Maine's Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, also featured speeches from Governor John Baldacci, Maine Representative Mike Michaud, Maine Representative Chellie Pingree and Mitchell herself.
"I knew I had to go out in 2010 because Hillary couldn't go and I wanted to be able to honor those that had helped her," Clinton said at the beginning of his speech to a crowd of over 1,500 people. "But it was also something much more. I love this state, you voted for me twice and I appreciate it."
Clinton praised the work of Mitchell and the Maine Democrats as a whole, often citing the progress that has been made since President Barack Obama's election to reverse the damage done by Clinton's successor in the White House, Republican George W. Bush.
"Do what's best for the future. We have to restore the American dream all over again; that's why I ran for president," Clinton said.
"I believe that the purpose of politics is to create conditions to give people the tools to live their dreams, to chart their own courses, to work out their own future. Today, neither the conditions nor the tools are there for many Americans and I think when it's all said and done...there are only three things that matter: are people better off when you finished than when you started, do the children have a brighter future and are we coming together instead of being driven apart?"
Clinton, who presided over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in the history of the United States and established a budget surplus during the last year of his presidency, focused most of his speech on America's current economic situation. He referenced the Republican policies and trickle-down economics that led to the financial collapse of September 15, 2008, and sought to assure voters that "the last thing we need to do is return to policies that put us back in the hole."
Clinton further urged voters not to vote Republican because they are angry about the lack of results the country has seen thus far. He stressed that it takes longer than two years to fix eight years of Republican mistakes. He also urged Mainers to go out and vote and to get friends to vote for Mitchell so as to keep their state from retreating back to Republican policies.
Mitchell, who currently serves as the President of the Maine Senate, has promised Mainers that if she is elected as governor she will help create more jobs for the people so that they are not forced to move elsewhere for work. She has also said that she will promote Maine's natural resource based economy, revitalize Maine's educational system to increase Maine's high school graduation rate and support marriage equality in Maine.
Governor Baldacci also spoke in support of Mitchell at the rally. The "rich are getting richer and working families are struggling to get by, as a result of President Bush's two terms in office. He urged voters not to "make that mistake again in Washington or here in Maine."
"We don't talk about them as Democratic, Republican, Green or Independent values, but as Maine values," Baldacci said. "Maine is the Disney World of natural resources...we wouldn't have been able to do any of this work in Augusta without the leadership of Libby Mitchell."
Michaud built upon Baldacci's remarks, noting the consequences Mainers could suffer if a Republican governor is elected this fall. "Everything that we all have fought and worked for over the last year could be taken away on November 2."
"We have to remind people not to buy into the lies and fears of the other side," Michaud said. "We must reignite the fire that burned in 2008 or it could be extinguished on November 2."