Bill Clinton rallies Democrats at Elon Law

The former president made a campaign visit to Greensboro, North Carolina, on Monday as he stumped for his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is vying for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 race for the White House.

Former President Bill Clinton at Elon Law, March 7, 2016
Former President Bill Clinton made a campaign stop at Elon University School of Law on Monday afternoon to stump for his wife in her bid to represent the Democratic Party in the November presidential elections.

Hundreds of people filled the law library on the lower level of the law school in downtown Greensboro as Clinton rallied local Democrats with stories about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dedication to helping other people.

The March 7 visit comes just eight days before North Carolinians cast their votes in a presidential primary election. “This election is about you,” Bill Clinton told hundreds of Hillary supporters. “Who’s most likely to empower you? Who’s most likely to give you a chance to chart your own future?”

The nearly hourlong speech focused primarily on proposed policy differences between Hillary Clinton and her Democratic opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Bill Clinton emphasized his wife’s views on student loans and student debt, her ideas about further refining the Affordable Care Act, and proposals to grow the economy through investments in renewable energy, infrastructure improvements and small business support.

Student loans and college financing are one area where Hillary Clinton and her opponent differ the most, Bill Clinton said.

“A college debt is the only loan you cannot refinance. You know that? The only one!” Clinton said. “If we allowed people to refinance their loans tomorrow at current interest rates, 25 million of you would save $2,000 just by doing that.”

What Hillary Clinton wants to do is allow students and former students, no matter how big the debt, to consolidate it into a mortgage-like instrument, Bill Clinton added. Right now, that isn’t possible.

With a North Carolina flag serving as a backdrop, Clinton opened the rally by praising Elon Law and its leadership. “I’m delighted,” Clinton said. “This is an interesting, innovative law school.”

Welcoming attendees to a March 7 event at Elon Law featuring President Bill Clinton, Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman said Elon was proud to help facilitate the democratic process by providing space for an event related to the national presidential election.
Monday’s appearance was Bill Clinton’s third stop at Elon. He visited main campus in 1992 during his first presidential campaign, and in 2008, Clinton returned on behalf of his wife during her first Democratic primary bid.

“How great is it that our innovative law school and pioneering law students are at the center of the national debate about the future leadership of our country?” said Luke Bierman, dean of the Elon University School of Law. “We were certainly excited to welcome President Clinton to Elon Law, Greensboro’s hub of learning, lawyering and leadership.”

Elon Law students said they were inspired by a campaign visit from a former United States president. Hearing directly from a campaign, and not necessarily through media, helps voters choose for themselves which candidate to support, said Angelique Ryan, president of the Elon Law School Democrats.

“It’s important for students and the community to be engaged in these conversations so they can make educated decisions when heading to the polls,” she said. “I think we’re close to seeing our first female president, and it’s an exciting time in history.”

Clinton’s visit helped raise the visibility of Elon Law to national audiences following the campaign, students said.

It also complements the dialogue taking place on campus.

“The election is something people here are talking about,” said Nate Cook, a second-year student and Leadership Fellow at Elon Law. “This adds to the conversation. Hopefully it’s not the last time this election cycle where Elon can host a candidate.”

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan introduced Clinton at the rally and reminded the crowd to make their voices heard in the ballot box.

“If you don’t vote, you are part of the problem,” Vaughan said. “So make sure you get out and vote. Research who is on the ballot – and bring a friend.”