Clinton Talks Education, Jobs During Winston-Salem Event
Posted April 18, 2008 6:03 a.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2008 10:28 p.m. EDT
Winston-Salem, N.C. — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton set the tone for her campaign event in Winston-Salem by announcing that she and poet Maya Angelou would be having a "conversation."
"If you came for a political speech, I hope you aren’t disappointed," Clinton said.
The event was relaxed; the two sat in front of the audience at Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University. Angelou tossed Clinton questions on topics, including racism and education.
Clinton also touted her comprehensive plan to create 5 million clean renewable energy jobs in the next 10 years. The jobs would be funded by taking subsidies from oil companies, she said.
Clinton praised the state's education system, specifically its strides for early childhood education. She discussed the need for making college education, including community colleges, more affordable.
"Community colleges should be viewed as the 13th and 14th years of public education," Clinton said.
Clinton also mentioned rising gas prices, saying that as president she would launch an investigation to figure out if any price gouging is going on.
North Carolina's May 6 primary will apportion 115 delegates between the candidates.
Angelou was vocal about her support of Clinton.
“I said 20 years ago, 'I this woman ever runs for anything, I’ll put my hand behind her back,'” Angelou said Friday.
Clinton described Angelou as one of her "heroes." Angelou read a poem at Bill Clinton's first inauguration in 1993.
Angelou recalled watching Clinton through her husband's presidency.
“I watched her show what it was like to be a woman in stress, in difficulty. I watched her as she was on the front pages of every journal. And I watched her stand," Angelou said.
Supporters began lining up just before noon on the campus of Wake Forest for the event, which seemed to be aimed at young voters.
“A lot of decisions are based on us,” said student Morgan Harrington.
Clinton said the battle between herself and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has broken down “one of those invisible barriers.”
Clinton’s visit came one day after Obama rallied thousands of his supports in the Triangle.
The state's May 6 primary will apportion 115 delegates between the candidates.
Despite some reports that have Clinton trailing Obama in the state, supporters on Friday said she should not quit the race.
“It’s still too close to call,” said local resident Ann Hester.
“I know that Sen. Clinton is a long-distance runner and however the odds may go and the polls may show, from day to night to tomorrow morning, I know she is in it for the long run," Angelou said. "I am with her for the long run."
Angelou ended the visit with some words of encouragement for her friend.
“If you help her rise, we will all rise together,” she said.