Elon community reacts to Clinton’s visit

Elon students, faculty and staff began gathering early Wednesday afternoon to await the arrival of former President Bill Clinton. While some wore stickers supporting Hillary Clinton and others carried signs for Barack Obama, many said they were looking forward to gathering more information before deciding how to cast their vote.

“I’m not sure who to support, so this speech could make a difference in my opinion,” said junior Kristin Cunningham, who plans to drive home to Durham, N.C., to cast a vote in the state’s primary. “I was frustrated that I wasn’t old enough to vote in the last election, so I want to make my vote count this time.”

More than an hour before Clinton was scheduled to arrive, sophomores Chase Tucker and Mark Olsen staked their spot in front of Fonville Fountain. Tucker said he couldn’t pass up the chance to hear the former president.

“I’m undecided about who I’m going to vote for, and I think this will help me gain more information,” Tucker said. “Both (Democratic) candidates seem like a breath of fresh air because they’re different from who’s usually elected president. They bring a different perspective into it.”

Olsen said he hoped to hear Clinton speak about his wife’s position on improving the economy and ending the war in Iraq.

“A lot of people are worried about those issues,” Olsen said. “I’m interested to see what he says.”

Senior Breanna Detwiler has been a fan of Bill Clinton since the age of 5, when her mother brought her into the voting booth as she cast a ballot for Clinton. She fulfilled a lifelong dream when she was chosen to meet the former president before his speech Wednesday.

“He’s one of my heroes,” she said. “I’m very interested in working in the public sector and environmental justice, and the work he and Hillary have done with the environment is just exceptional.”

Although Detwiler was excited to see her hero, she said she still wasn’t sure how to vote.

“This is the first time we’ve gotten to choose between good and good,” she said. “I’m on the fence between Hillary and Obama.”

Junior Hannah McConaghy was also undecided about her favorite candidate. She said she was excited to hear Bill Clinton’s perspective on the campaign.

“Everyone is getting caught up in Obama because of his charisma, but I wanted to hear this side, too,” she said. “I think there are definitely places on both sides that I can relate to.”

Sociology professor Tom Arcaro has already decided to vote for Obama, but he said he was pleased Clinton chose to speak at Elon.

“It’s a great experience for students and the community,” he said. “It’s a chance to see the political process in our front yard.”