By Eric C. Deines
A crowd of Sen. Hillary Clinton supporters stood through a downpour of rain Monday afternoon for the opportunity to hear the presidential hopeful speak in Concord.
And in a moment of campaign luck, beams of sunshine broke through the clouds just as Clinton’s caravan arrived outside Troutman’s Bar-B-Que in downtown Concord.
“I can’t promise you I have some kind of magic wand,” Clinton told the cheering crowd. “What I can promise is that you’ll never have to doubt whose side your president is on.”
Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama have set their campaign sights on North Carolina and Indiana, as both states have primaries on May 6 that could sway the tight race for the Democratic nomination. Clinton called the nomination-seeking process the “longest job interview in history.”
“We’re going to have to clean up the damage we will inherit when we move back to the White House,” Clinton said. “It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush. It’s going to take a Clinton to clean up after the second Bush.”
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, visited Kannapolis in March as part of her campaign. Obama’s wife, Michelle, visited Harrisburg in early April on behalf of her husband’s campaign.
Hillary Clinton told the crowd she would work to bring manufacturing back to North Carolina.
“We may be manufacturing different things — the technology for clean, renewable energy,” Clinton said. “North Carolina could be an energy producer.”
Concord Mayor Scott Padgett sat at a booth in Troutman’s, waiting to greet Clinton, saying that it’s always good recognition for the city when it’s paid a visit by a presidential candidate.
Padgett was joined at the booth by Jill Nierenberg, whose downtown Concord building has been used as a Clinton campaign office.
“This shows how vital North Carolina is in the electoral process,” said Nierenberg, who called herself a “yellow-dog Democrat.”
Andrew Jones, 17, and Corey Conner, 18, both students at Hickory Grove Baptist Christian School in Charlotte, endured the rain to see Clinton speak.
It paid off — as both were able to obtain an autograph from Clinton.
“I wanted to learn more about Clinton’s campaign, because I’ve followed the Obama campaign,” said Jones, who will be old enough to cast his presidential vote in November. “And her husband did a good job in office with the economy. My dad, who is a die-hard conservative, even said Clinton did a good job.”
• Contact Eric C. Deines: 704-789-9141.