Bill Clinton to Puerto Rico: ‘We Need You’

By Nitya

Apr 7, 2008 7:40am

ABC News’ Sarah Amos Reports: With so few states left in the Democratic primary, former President Bill Clinton headed off the continent and into more uncharted waters today, for his wife’s first official campaign event in Puerto Rico.

"I am glad to be back in Puerto Rico. I hope you are glad that your votes will count in the presidential election in the United States. We need you," Clinton told a small, but enthusiastic crowd at the Lloren Torres Housing project.

One of the largest housing projects in Puerto Rico, the neighborhood is clearly a destination for politics. Both San Juan mayoral candidates held large and raucous rallies directly next to the Clinton event.

The current incumbent mayor stuck around for Clinton’s speech, bringing many of his supporters and even more media into the event.

Brevity was the theme of the day, as the former President kept his remarks under 5 minutes. For those keeping score, even the warm-up signers were on stage for longer than Clinton.

Before beginning the rally, Clinton visited with a family who lived in Llorens Torres. He spoke, partially through a translator, to the mother of the house, her children and nearby friends.

By the time Clinton took the stage at the rally, the crowd was eager to see the man who was causing so much excitement outside. It was an energy Clinton did not let slip by.

"it has been a perhaps a long time since the votes of the people of Puerto Rico mattered so much to the future of the United States, but since you have given so much to the United States- in the military, in filling our cities, in doing our jobs, made our culture so much richer.  It is a good thing that your voice will be heard and will resound on June 4 all over the United States," Clinton said as he wrapped up his speech, "And I hope you will say, we want Hillary to be the next President."

Puerto Rico’s primary takes place on June 2.

After the rally Clinton headed to a industrial meeting, where he served as the key note speaker on the economic future of Thar state.

Despite the economic focus and more international locale, Clinton stayed far, far away from making mention of Mark Penn’s forced removal from his wife’s campaign. Instead, he stuck to the issues the people of Puerto Rico cared about, including relations with the continental United States and healthcare. 

"For all these reasons I ask you to support her and I pledge this – if you do she and I will always support you!" said Clinton, bringing his first event to a close.

Tomorrow the former president continues his campaign efforts in Puerto Rico, with events in Barceloneta, Salinas and Ponce.

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