May 25th, 2008
05:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton upbeat on Puerto Rico campaign swing


PENUELAS, Puerto Rico (CNN) - Campaigning in Puerto Rico on Sunday, Hillary Clinton was a great distance from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the scene of her comment about Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination that sparked a media furor.

Her swing through sunny Puerto Rico was a vacation from the many political distractions on the mainland - questions not only about the assassination remark but also her dwindling chances to secure the Democratic nomination. Morning talk shows discussed the fallout from Friday's controversy and pored over a New York Daily News op-ed written by Clinton outlining her reasons for staying the race, but the candidate was far away, soaking up sunlight and adoration from hundreds of supporters in towns on the western part of the island.

In Puerto Rico, her speeches have been abbreviated but cheery, devoid of political sniping. Clinton herself has been upbeat.

At an evangelical church in the town of Hormigueros, Clinton took her place Sunday morning among the congregation and gently swayed to music as dancers waved ribbons in the air. It was the beginning of a marathon day featuring five separate campaign stops.

“It is in the spirit of our Lord and Savior that I come today to thank you for letting me spend this time with you,” she told the church-goers. “To feel the spirit in this beautiful church. And to see a worship service that includes the whole person, making joyful noises and dancing in praise. I feel blessed.”

Her speech at the church was tailored purely to Puerto Rican issues, as she pledged to clean up former Navy testing ranges in Vieques and promised to resolve the question of the island’s “status” by the end of her first term.

She then changed into a pink floral-patterned shirt and traveled southward to the immaculate seaside in the town of Boqueron, jammed with beach-going families who swarmed the senator as she walked along the beach, camera crews trailing. There were handshakes and embraces for shirtless men and bikini-clad women alike.

After that, it was on to the small town of Penuelas, where Clinton ate a leisurely lunch of rice and beans in the shade at Boquamar Restaurant, perched on a breezy blue bay. Clinton dined with staffers and New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who had accompanied the campaign to Puerto Rico.

She gave remarks after lunch (still in the floral shirt) to a small crowd gathered in a dirt road outside the restaurant, using a translator throughout. Though she has avoided doing so during this trip, Clinton ventured gingerly into horserace politics, challenging Barack Obama to a debate sponsored by Univision.

“I accept that invitation, anytime, anywhere,” she declared. “That is the best way for the people of Puerto Rico to have their questions asked and answered and for the rest of the United States to learn more about Puerto Rico.”

Clinton soon departed and her motorcade headed east through the mountains in the direction of greater San Juan, where she had two more events planned for Sunday evening. She will also spend Memorial Day in Puerto Rico with three campaign stops, before returning to the mainland on Monday night.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, she makes return visits to Montana and South Dakota.

(Photo credit: Peter Hamby/CNN)

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (202 Responses)
  1. Asa For Hillary

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOBAMA

    May 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. R


    I will support you no matter what. The superdelegates have no rights to tell you to get out of the race if they haven't decided themselves who to vote for.

    I'm voting for HILLARY or nobody in November

    May 25, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. carlos from canada

    I just heard on cnn that Bill is now claiming victory in the electoral college. The rules change again!!

    May 25, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  4. Jason, Texas

    she's delusional

    May 25, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Dee, St.Louis

    So what; it is over for Ms. Clinton. Stay for a long vacation.

    May 25, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. Sandy from Ohio

    Whats the big deal about puerto rico they don't in the general election so knock your self out billary Obama is the nomonee of the Democrates

    OBAMA FOR CHANGE 2008 and 2012

    May 25, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. No McSame

    Hillary please stay there. You may be able to do some good there. We don't need or want you back. Obama has got this thing covered. Just tell Bill to meet you and you can keep an eye on him and you both can sit back on the beach and see who can tell the best lies. The sniper fire one was a good one by the way.

    May 25, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. unite the dems

    oh drop out already. you have done enough damage to the party.

    May 25, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Shane


    May 25, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. fafa

    Challenge to a debate. Yes when you are the senate majority leader

    I appreciate your resilence but cai I trust you

    May 25, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  11. Theresa

    Good for you Hillary. You have had no down time since this process began (unlike your opponents).
    I am still hoping and praying that the Super Delegates open their eyes before Obama gets the nod. I reallllly do not want another 4 years of Bush type leadership and thats what will happen because Obama doesn't have the experience and the fine people of America will not vote for for somebody who is not qualified. We need you Hillary
    Enjoy the sun.

    May 25, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  12. karen bourland

    Let's not forget why Puerto Ricans love her. Her wonderful husband pardoned the Flaners who were Puerto Rican terrosits. Why would he pardon people who blew up a coffee house and killed a New York policeman and many others? Because there are one and a half million Puerto Ricans in New York and he wanted dear old HRC to win the Senate so she could run for president. The head of the CIA at the time said that this foolish act by Clinton was a threat to our national security. Oh well, what do we care, they get away with everything anyway. Go away Clinton's before you do any more harm than you already have.

    May 25, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Reality


    May 25, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Mary

    I think we can officially say that Hillary IS the BIGGEST SORE LOSER EVER!!!

    May 25, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. Ed

    What a GOOF! Someone tell this elitist clown it is over!!!

    May 25, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. Travis (in the real world)

    Hillary you look like you're enjoying yourself....are they looking for a Governor there? should apply, because you're finished on the Mainland.

    May 25, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. patrick

    It would very disappointing if Puerto Rico gives Hilary a BIG win. I dont really see her giving much attention the island other than for political clout. What could she really have in common with PR??

    May 25, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. DAN

    Great picture of the next prez.

    May 25, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. Marc PDX

    “It is in the spirit of our Lord and Savior that I come today to thank you for letting me spend this time with you,”

    When did Hillary become religious? Did she claim to have had Puerto Rican ancestry (as she has done in every other state she's visited)? Shameless.

    May 25, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. Susan

    She sways alright, like on everthing she says she will do like an ammendment change to give Puerto Rico voting rights in the GE. She is shameless.

    May 25, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. M Philllips

    Perhaps in Puerto Rico she will get a chance to make her infamous comment a third time. She never misses an opportunity.

    May 25, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. Helen Ferrara

    Dream on Hillary,

    I am a Senio Citizen, voting for you nah. Your Lies you misspoken.

    what happens when you start another war, what do you say I MISSPOKEN. That's all we need.

    You don't have my vote, don't you dare hurt Obama.
    My finger will point you out.

    Helen Ferrara

    May 25, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |

    We love you Hill. We are proud of you and we support you. Don't ever give up on the United States of America. Our daughters and sons are watching you in awe. Fight the good fight, keep the faith and keep your eyes on the prize. No one can beat you on the issues. No one!


    May 25, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. marianna

    Go girl, for a landslide!

    May 25, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  25. IHH

    Stay there sicko. The rest will do us good. Don't call us, we won't call you.

    May 25, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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