ABC’s Sarah Amos reports: While Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are both taking the day off from campaigning, Hillary’s number one surrogate and husband, Bill Clinton, is spending the day in Mississippi, and hinting that perhaps the best ticket for the Democratic party is one with BOTH candidates on it.
At a small town hall meeting in Pass Christian, Miss. this morning, the former president took questions from the crowd, something he hasn’t really done since the days of South Carolina. While a large portion of the questions focused on Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Pass Christian community, one resident asked if Hillary would pick Obama as her Vice President. It is a question that Clinton is very familiar with, having been asked it nearly once a day back in the days of Iowa and New Hampshire. Usually, President Clinton shies away from answering, explaining that his family is VERY superstitious when it comes to politics and they never go thinking they’ve won before they really have.
Today, however, the President seemed especially tickled by the answer, and chose to share with his personal thoughts on picking Obama as a VP.
"She said yesterday and she said the day after her big wins in Texas and Ohio and Rhode Island that she was very open to that and I think she answered explicitly yes yesterday," Clinton began, referring to Hillary’s own answers on the topic in recent days.
"I know that she has always been open to it, because she believes that if you can unite the energy and the new people that he’s brought in and the people in these vast swaths of small town and rural America that she’s carried overwhelmingly, if you had those two things together she thinks it’d be hard to beat. I mean you look at the, you look at the, you look at the map of Texas and the map in Ohio. And the map in Missouri or — well Arkansas’s not a good case because they know her and she won every place there. But you look at most of these places, he would win the urban areas and the upscale voters, and she wins the traditional rural areas that we lost when President Reagan was president. If you put those two things together, you’d have an almost unstoppable force," Clinton went on to say.
But the focus of the day was not the Senator from Illinois, and President Clinton made that quite clear as he spent nearly an hour and half discussing Hillary’s policy plans with the intimate crowd of 200 or so voters. Many of the questions Clinton fielded dealt in some way or another with Hurricane Katrina, an issue Clinton feels very strongly about. In fact, Clinton began his talk by talking about the work he, and more importantly Hillary have done to help the people effected by Hurricane Katrina.
"After Katrina hit for example, our family tried to do what we could. You know former President Bush and I raised a bunch of money, we gave over $30 million here to Mississippi and we worked hard to do that. In Pass Christian — and I think there were over 350 houses of worship in this city that got money to help take care of people. And we did things for the colleges that were damaged and other things. But Hillary was complimented by a man who had been one of here severest critics, Sen. Trent Lott, for being one of the most aggressive people outside Mississippi trying to help solve the problems. Move the money down here, get rid of the backlogs, get things solved. And she has worked very hard to reform the flood insurance. Just this week she wrote a letter to the chairman of the Senate committee asking that your congressman, Gene Taylor’s, amendment be adopted that allows people to buy –- allows people to buy wind insurance along with flood insurance," Clinton told the applauding crowd.
Clinton received a warm welcome in Pass Christian, but the crowd was smaller than Clinton usually gets with an election just a few days away. The crowd at his second event in Biloxi, Miss. was similar in size and spirit.
As the President began his speech in a high school gym in Biloxi, a 9/11 heckler (almost a staple at a Bill Clinton event nowadays) tried to interrupt him. As the President calmly gave the heckler his usual retort a woman in the audience decided to come to Clinton’s rescue as well. She quickly moved her sign directly in front of the heckler’s sign, telling him, "Why don’t you just go away?"