San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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PHOTO by COURTNEY STRANGE

by BRAD ROLLINS
Managing Editor

Former President Bill Clinton made a surprise stop in San Marcos on Tuesday as voters statewide were deciding the next turn in a rollicking election season.

Campaigning for his wife in today’s Democratic Party primary, Clinton milled around the third floor of the LBJ Student Center at Texas State University, several people who saw him said. As the surrounding crowd grew, Clinton left after about 25 minutes at the insistence of his Secret Service detail, said Courtney Strange, the Texas State Democrats president.

“He said he had been in 31 places in Texas in the last two weeks not to mention 30-something in Ohio. He said he was real tired but that it is an exciting time in our country’s history,” Strange said. “And he said he couldn’t wait for tonight to be over.”

That’s when he’ll know if his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, is still in the running against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, whose come-from-behind campaign has pit experience against eloquence. In Hays County, more than twice as many people voted in early voting through last Friday as voted in total in 2004 and 2006 combined.

With its large young and Latino populations — two major battle ground constituencies — San Marcos has been a center of excitement. Last week, Obama spoke to a crowd estimated at 18,000 to 20,000. A few days earlier, Chelsea Clinton stopped in at the Hays County Courthouse in an event attended by many of the county’s Democratic Party establishment including County Judge Elizabeth Sumter and Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe. Two weeks ago, Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy rallied students for Obama.

Clinton was en route from San Antonio to Austin when he decided to stop here, Strange said. Wearing a Burnt Orange tie — the University of Texas’ school colors — Clinton said “he had wanted to go to the courthouse but they were running behind,” Strange said.

Many of the College Democrats who greeted Clinton said they actually support Obama. “We took off our Barack shirts before we went to see him,” said Mathew Golding, the Texas State Democrats treasurer.

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21 thoughts on “Bill Clinton stops in San Marcos during last-minute campaign swing

  1. Great picture Courtney!! Thanks for your contribution to news coverage in San Marcos. It is great to have everyone help cover events that make San Marcos unique.

  2. Classic Mathew Golding. Dang Matt, be a man and stand for something ! Why take your barack shirt off if that is what you believe in ! (rolling eyes). Still following the crowd instead of leading it

  3. It was cool I got off of the bus at 230 from Austin. I was not happy to find all the fuss until I found out who was in LBJ. He was nice enough gladhanding everyone and talking to the students. UPD must have sh– a brick when they found out he was coming here.

    Good job UPD and great picture Courtney.

    I’m not a clinton supporter and I hope that Obama will be president. I will be voting. My son just happened to be with me and thought it was cool.

  4. I thought that it was very classy and respectful for Mathew to take his Obama shirt off. How many times do you get to meet a former United States President? Especially one that so successfully led our country during his two terms. It would have been disrespectful and rude to wear an Obama shirt when meeting him. Respect. I’m proud of you Mathew!

  5. Pandering to politicians and bureaucrats based on presence is the sign of a weak moral and political philosophy. Some of these young democrats, as mentioned in the article, are seen to have flexible values or beliefs on issues. It only makes matters worse when the upcoming County Chair praises this behavior. I feel bereaved to call my self a Hays Democrat today.
    -Janice

  6. I just absolutely do not see how taking off a shirt advertising Clinton’s opponent is some moral failing. I also do not think it would have been a moral failing if he had NOT taken off the shirt. This whole discussion is just silly. To attack your party chair for doing the role of a party chair –unify and encourage — is lame. And to do it under the guise of purity and consistency is sanctimonious and self-righteous (which I guess we should expect from these quarters by now). I for one am glad Gloria Whitehead will be spending more time in Woodcreek and less time obstructing the advancement of a party with great potential in this county.

  7. By the way, E. Duran, one feature of our system is that if you register at the link to the right and are logged in when you make your comment, you should be enabled to edit your comments as well. Brad

  8. Good Grief.

    When did good manners and civility become something evil? Although I would be considered something on the far, far side of a “Young Democrat,” I am glad to know that someone taught this young man how to behave in public. It’s sad that so many Democrats have bought into the Rovian way of politics. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can practice politics with grace and intelligence.

    If Ms. Baker feels “bereaved” to call herself a Democrat because a young man practiced good manners, I could suggest another party for her to join that would probably welcome her preferred boorish behavior with open arms.

  9. No thanks. As someone who votes Republican more often than not (although I voted for Obama this time and will in the general election too), I can do without any more boorish behavior over here.

    Thanks, though.

    I have to say that I’m with Brad. I see no real issue with wearing the shirt or not wearing it. It’s not like it said F Hillary or something.

    I will agree with you that we have had enough Carvillian politics. That’s for sure.

  10. I apologize to you Ted, and to all Republicans who show the same kind of grace and civility of which I was speaking. I should not have put all of you in the same box. That was wrong.

    I’m sorry.

    We really need to stop hating each other and get on with the work at hand. I actually know a number of Republicans that I admire and with whom I can work. We need to put the people first, the politics second – or even better, last.

  11. No need to apologize. I was just giving you a hard time.

    As for the shirt, wearing it would have given Clinton an opportunity to try to convert the opposition. I know that in my daily life I benefit greatly from hearing what unhappy customers have to say. I don’t want them pretending to be happy when I call, just to be polite.

    At the same time, I can’t really object to someone trying to be civil and considerate in changing their shirt in this case.

  12. Of course, what do I know? I’m voting against a lot of my political beliefs because I think having a president who wants to get us all working together again is more important than anything else right now.

    I must have a really weak moral and political philosophy.

    😉

  13. Right on Ted! If you have a weak moral and political philosophy, then I guess I’m standing right next to you.

    And welcome to our side of the fence for Obama. Proud to stand by people of your caliber.

  14. For an article about Clinton’s visit, there seem to be an awful lot of comments about a t-shirt. Is this election about the candidates, or is it about who can point fingers? Obama’s campaign is all about unity, change, hope, and repair — all things Mathew’s group exemplified by choosing to remove the (finely-designed) t-shirts. His action portrays these important values and respect for an outstanding former President, while still being strong and well-spoken in his (and the Texas State Democrats’) preference for who they feel is the better candidate. If the past eight years have shown us anything, isn’t it time to bring respect back into politics? I commend the Texas State Democrats for their profound maturity and understanding.

    Also, while we’re arguing about the removal of t-shirts, has anyone mentioned whether or not some type of shirt was put back on? While a topless greeting may have been apropos, it certainly does add another dimension to the story…

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