Updated: 6:23 p.m. Friday, March 21, 2008 | Posted: 4:41 p.m. Friday, March 21, 2008
Bill Clinton Tells N.C. Veterans Hillary Will Provide Better Health Care
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Former President Bill Clinton urged North Carolina veterans Friday to support his wife's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying she can provide better health care for veterans and reduce the number of troops in Iraq.
Clinton spoke at an invitation-only event at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Central Avenue in Charlotte as part of a daylong campaign swing through North Carolina, where Hillary Rodham Clinton will compete with Barack Obama, who spoke to a rowdy Charlotte on Wednesday, in the state's May 6 primary.
"She would be best for veterans, the best commander in chief, the best for the economy and the most electable," Clinton said.
Clinton said soldiers injured in Iraq have largely suffered from head injuries and post traumatic stress -- injuries he suggested the U.S. ignored during the Vietnam War. Had troops from Vietnam been provided better treatment for such injuries, Clinton said, the nation's number of homeless veterans would be lower than the current 200,000.
"We must never do again what we did after Vietnam," he said.
Clinton was scheduled to make another campaign stop to speak with seniors in Cary, outside Raleigh, later Friday.
The fight for delegates between Clinton and Obama has made North Carolina's primary a crucial stop in the 2008 presidential campaign. Indiana also has its primary on May 6, two weeks after Pennsylvania.
Obama leads Clinton by only 121 delegates, according to an Associated Press tally Friday. In North Carolina, 115 delegates are at stake.
After listening to Clinton's speech, Jim Campbell, a Vietnam War veteran, said he believed Hillary Clinton was the best candidate but admitted Republicans may have an advantage in winning veteran support.
"Sometimes, veterans are forgotten in campaigns. And the fact that she wants to help -- especially returning soldiers with severe head injuries and emotional problems -- is very encouraging," said Campbell, 56.
"I know (Republican John) McCain has a lot of support among vets, especially Vietnam vets," Campbell said. "She can say what she wants, but vets know McCain's been there. He's been in battle. He's the only one in the campaign with any combat experience. And for some vets, that means a lot."
Leigh Ann Young, a 39-year-old interior designer, also said she supported Clinton's fight for better health care. Still, she said Democrats have a tough choice.
"I'm really torn between Clinton and Obama," she said.