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Chelsea Clinton stumps for Hillary at Beloit College

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GINA R. HEINE
February 19, 2008
— When Chelsea Clinton took the floor in front of more than 300 people at Beloit College on Monday afternoon, she opened herself up to talk about any topic of her mother’s presidential campaign.

“I am here to talk about whatever it is that you would like to talk about,” she said to the crowd packed into the dining area of Pearsons Hall.


Clinton offered no prepared statement and took questions from the audience for about an hour. Students sought answers on everything from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s plans in Palestine and Israel to what she would do for people with autism.


Dressed in blue jeans, a black shirt and casual blazer, Clinton, 27, spoke comfortably and from the heart as she vied for voters to elect her mother president. Clinton’s answers included statistics, outlines of her mother’s proposed policies and lines that occasionally brought laughter to the crowd.


That breadth of knowledge impressed students.


“It was inspiring,” said senior Carrie Zethmayr, who said she was pretty set on voting for Barack Obama. “She was impressive—obviously a good speaker.”


While Zethmayr was like many other students who planned to attend Obama’s campaign rally on campus later that day, she said hearing Clinton speak gave her more to think about.


Clinton explained how her mother would make college more affordable, including increasing aid and getting rid of the long, complicated FAFSA form—a comment that brought applause from the nearly all-student audience.


A payment plan also is included in her mother’s college affordability proposal, Clinton said, which would include holding the estate tax at $7 million per couple rather than allowing it to be repealed. That would put the needed $8 billion back into the federal government system, she said.


“My mom tells you how she’ll pay for everything,” Clinton said. “(It’s) one of the really distinctive characteristics of my mom’s campaign is that she’s the only candidate running on either side of the aisle that tells you exactly how she’ll pay for everything.”


Freshman Hilary Dixon from Virginia said hearing Clinton speak further cemented her support for the campaign. It’s “fairly unpopular” to support Clinton on the Beloit campus because much of the student body backs Obama, she said.


“I really thought that she was genuine … and had actual plans, not just good rhetoric and popularity,” she said.


Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin opened the session, adding her support for Hillary Clinton’s campaign because she is the only candidate offering a universal health care plan, Baldwin said.


Sara Fertig, a senior from St. Paul, Minn., said listening to Clinton was very informative.


“I was more of a Barack supporter,” she said. “But it definitely had an impact on my opinion.”



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