ABC News’ Sarah Amos Reports: Former president Bill Clinton became the first Clinton of the Democratic primary election to visit North Carolina Friday, speaking to about 80 veterans and their families at a VFW hall in Charlotte, NC.
Clinton was nearly an hour late for the invite-only, stopping at a restaurant across the street to have a garden burger and talk with patrons. Seeming a bit more tired than usual, Clinton gave a short speech focused heavily on veteran’s rights and the economy.
Clinton made the argument that come November, his wife is not only more electable, but that a general election race between soon-to-be Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., would not get caught up in the "other stuff" that takes over elections.
"I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country and people could actually asks themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics," Clinton said.
Clinton also continued to play up Hillary’s chance to win the popular vote come June.
"She would be the best for veterans, the best commander and chief the best for the economy and is the most electable. If North Carolina votes for her, she will end up this process with more popular votes and I believe she will be the nominee of the party and the next president. It is all up to you," said Clinton.
When asked about the "other stuff" Clinton was referring to, Bill Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna told ABC News: "President Clinton was talking about the need to talk about issues, rather than falsely questioning any candidate’s patriotism." He was lamenting that these kind of distractions "always seems to intrude" on political campaigns. This, McKenna said, is consistent with his criticism of the "politics of personal destruction," which dates back 16 years.
Clinton made no mention today of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Obama today, who said that despite his long friendship with the Clinton’s he believed Obama’s candidacy was historic, and touted his 2002 opposition to the Iraq war, and said it’s time Democrats stop fighting amongst themselves and join together to fight McCain. Richardson served as Secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration.