Whistle Stop Clinton

By Ed O'Keefe

Mar 28, 2008 4:36pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf Reports: When former President Clinton arrived at the train station in Salisbury, North Carolina, it was reminiscent of a whistle-stop campaign rally of yore.

Mr. Clinton arrived in latter day whistle stop fashion, with a train of  SUVs and a police escort. He spoke outside in the sun in front of the station with an American flag behind him.

The train station is the perfect spot for a campaign rally, restored, as it is, to its 1920s glory with gray brick and a red tile roof.

It’s featured extensively in the upcoming George Clooney period football movie "Leatherheads" and anchors the downtown here.

But for its architectural beauty, the train station is still located next to the train tracks. And Mr. Clinton, famously late, cannot be counted on, like trains, to run on schedule.

He was an hour late for the event and an hour into his speech, segueing from an indictment of the way President Bush handled the Hurricane Katrina disaster to an impassioned plea with the several hundred Salisburians gathered about why his wife is the right candidate for president when the train whistles started in the distance.

But the train, unlike automobile traffic in small towns when the former President comes to town, did not stop. The din of the locomotive drowned out the former President out for a minute as it passed by thirty feet from his podium, though he barely budged from his speech.

He could, however, be heard to say, "Must be a Republican train."

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