Rocky Mount, N.C. — With two weeks until Election Day, former President Bill Clinton barnstormed through eastern North Carolina on Tuesday, urging people to vote for his wife in the presidential election and to reach out to supporters of her rival.
Clinton is on a two-day bus tour of North Carolina on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, stopping Tuesday in Rocky Mount, Goldsboro and Greenville. On Wednesday, the bus will roll through Wilmington, Pembroke and Fayetteville.
The election is giving voters "the chance to define who we are as Americans," Bill Clinton said, noting that many ardent supports of his wife and Republican candidate Donald Trump face the same daily challenges.
"They just are drawn to a different approach to dealing with it," he said. "She offers answers; he offers anger. He offers resentment; she offers empowerment. He offers conflict – I'll give you somebody else to blame and look down on; she says the only thing that's going to get us out of this mess is cooperation."
Ticking off some of Hillary Clinton's campaign themes, the former president detailed why her approach to job creation, college affordability and health care reform are better for rural America than Trump's policies.
"I'm a white Southerner. I know what 'make America great again' means," he said. "It means, first, I'll give you the economy you had 50 years ago, and second, I'll give you the society you had 50 years ago. I'll move you up and somebody else down."
Turning back the clock won't work, he said, adding that the country works better when everyone is succeeding.
Hillary Clinton supporters need to empathize with Trump supporters and recognize the struggles many have faced while telling them why he would be the wrong choice for the country's future, Bill Clinton said.
"Do not greet them with the anger they often display toward us. Love them to death. Look at them and say, 'We need you,'" he said.
Olasha Pittman went to the Rocky Mount rally to hear the former president speak, and she said she thinks he will make an excellent first gentleman.
"When he was in office, I think he did do a good job," Pittman said. "So, I feel like, with her having him, it brings a lot to the table already with her experience that she already has."
Bill Clinton isn't the only high-profile surrogate to visit North Carolina this week for Hillary Clinton's campaign. Liberal firebrand U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was set to speak Tuesday night at Meredith College in Raleigh, while first lady Michelle Obama will appear with Hillary Clinton at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem on Thursday.
On the Republican side, vice presidential candidate Mike Pence held a rally in Greensboro on Monday, while Trump has scheduled a Wednesday stop in Kinston.