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. John

    All these people who want Hillary to step down, should just back off and forget the whole lopsided reactions by mostly democrats.What would they say,if Obama lost to McCain?Leave alone the scenario where Hillary wins the nomination and defeats McCain,as polled by others.It is very interesting that Obama grabbed the subbing for Sen. Kennedy! It is nothing but political grandstanding,on the presidential contender Obama. I would have preffered a Kennedy kin or other relative to take over while the Senator recuperates. Hillary has the right to stay as long as it takes! If it has to go all the way to the convention,why not.Second laughter are usually the best.Democrats are watching very keenly what DNC will do.It would be a slap on the face , if the present Florida Gorvenor gets the VP slot,nominated by McCain! While DNC has been on the side watching all along!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 25, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Vig

    When Obama courts the voters it always feels like an act of ingratiation and arrogance. When Clinton does, it always feels down to earth and real.

    May 25, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Ken in Western NY

    There she goes again...making promises to the folks in Puerto Rico that she knows she has no intentions of keeping. Just ask New Yorkers about those promises!!

    We're still waiting for the hundreds of thousands of jobs for Upstate New York she promised when campaigning for the Senate. There have already been over 30,000 jobs lost since she took her senate seat. (And now an American Axle plant in Tonawanda (a Buffalo suburb) is going to be closing – does NAFTA ring any bells? It must be the new "Hillary Math" at work!!

    Good job, Hillary. You've done all New Yorkers a disservice with your work in the Senate. Why don't you please go back to Arkansas, and take your big mouth husband with you!

    May 25, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. dwho

    Hillary is a news maker. Keep making news.

    May 25, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Theogracias

    As a young girl growing up in Puerto Rico, her parents told her never ever quit!!! But be a liar that's the ticket.l!!!

    May 25, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Hillary is a winner

    Carter telling Hillary to give it up is like a young person telling him to go to leave the earth.

    Yes, he has a right to speak, but he is such a turkey who wants to listen. Isn't he the one who botched rescuing our POW's in Iran and let Ron Reagan do that. He is such a quitter that maybe he thinks everyone should be a quitter.

    By the way, why are all the anti Hillary people so angry and hateful.

    Why not gather around the mother hen and let he choose the inexperienced one term US Senator as a VP. That is all he is qualified to be from my point of view.

    May 25, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |

    Hillary can take this to the convention. She will do whatever it takes to destroy the Democratic Party. Her ego and thirst for power is what is driving her, not the well-being of our great nation. It's ashame she isn't a Liberaterian. They finished their process. They know there is just 163 days to win the election and the Democratic's can't finish the primaries. Barack Obama is going to be the nominee and we are wasting valuable time. Please Super Delegates cast your vote and put an end to this. Please.

    May 25, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Joseph Adewole

    Why can't 'this woman' start to campaign for Barack now?
    She is a loser already; BO will at least appreciate it and reward her accordingly. Does she want to be a junior senator for life?

    May 25, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. puking as i comment

    *gag*...*gag*...*gag*.... *pukes all over my laptop* thank you hillary for doing what you do best! make me sick.

    May 25, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. What if?

    Be ever so cautions my Puerto Rico bothers and sisters, there’s a reason for talking about how important you are and how much you mean, she’s desperately NEEDS your votes, get, got, gone.

    For those who keep bringing up the Rev. Wright, McCain might not have been a member to either of their churches, but whose to say he didn't visit them as if he were.

    May 25, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. should've been named HILLARI-OUS

    hillary continues to dig herself into a deeper hole. what in the world will she say now?

    May 25, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. jujub

    A debate? She should not be allowed within a mile of Barack Obama. Shameful woman.

    May 25, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. tuycan

    This is what bothers me when two weeks ago a woman from the democratic party called me and asked me to support senator Obama ; my answer was I did not like him and I thought he was not electable . The woman responded that he was . I don't know who is right . I closely follow the results of almost all the primaries and I found that black voters voted for Obama and white voters voted for Clinton and , to me , that is not good for the democratic party and the country ! I am not against Obama but , to me , Obama does not seem to have a workable resume to be the next president ; on the other hand , as for Clinton , I am not sure if people agree to a female president . I prefer to wait and see if the DNC will come up with a viable solution to this problem to have a candidate who can defeat Mc Cain . I 'd like to see an end to the republican big mess that is the origin of so many problems in our country for so many years . Our country deserves to be the richest and most powerful country and american people shoud be the proudest people on this planet !

    May 25, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. she is shameless

    After her stupid and insensitive remarks on Friday, she needs to just go away. I would be considered part of her base as a white woman, but I wouldn't vote for her.

    May 25, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Sam

    Too bad the democrats are allowing their party to be shredded. Sen Clinton is by far the most qualified and able candidate, but blind idol-worship (Black Messiah) will destroy the democrat party. Even if Obama should win the presidency, he cannot be successful, no matter what his over-inflated ego leads him to believe now.

    May 25, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. 1926

    Senator Clinton, please stay in the race, We need you. Dont let them run you off. Obama and his outfit are evil and will do this country real damage. . Praying for you.

    May 25, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |






    GO GET THEM HILLARY!!!!!!!!!


    May 25, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. lol

    you stay in the race hillary, you are winning the popular vote, and it's not the math, it's the map. you are ahead of mccain on the electoral map, and obama is behind mccain. you win the swing states, needed to win the whitehouse. take it to the convention!

    May 25, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. John

    Yes Hillary will just do fine in Puerto rico.The resilience and determination she has is unquesionable! She will win in Puerto rico,and has tons of supporters to see her through to the nomination battle,yes the nomination battle!! that is what it looks like right now!!

    May 25, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. Dr MC

    Even in Puerto Rico, HIllary Clinton can speak knowledgibly on the issues. This is why she is the most qualified person to be our president.

    May 25, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. tuycan

    I am proud to have been a consistent supporter of former president Clinton and I will vote for and support Hillary if she is nominated . I will never vote for a republican candidate , not because I don't him ! I want my party to win !!!

    May 25, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Hillary Upbeat, YES! Carter's Comments NO!

    Get real, folks. JIMMY CARTER was a one-time president. The most obvious factor was lack of previous experience in Washington.

    Like Obama, he ran on "leadership crisis" and skepticism about "Washington,” with confidence that his own PERSONAL qualities could end the crisis. His campaign in 1975 stressed Washington's defects and HIS OWN VIRTUES - NOT SPECIFIC ISSUES OR A CLEARLY DEFINED IDEOLOGY. He sensed a "yearning" for “change,” and tried to persuade the “disenchanted” that he had the personality and values the situation demanded.

    Many voters found Carter puzzling—even contradictory—and UNTESTED (same with Obama). Carter only squeaked through to victory, with a popular vote of 40.8 million to Ford's 39.1 million and an electoral vote of 297 to 240.

    What Carter failed at was to have a compelling vision AND POLITICAL SKILL.

    Not surprisingly, Carter was a one-term president and had to struggle to even obtain the re-nomination by his own party.

    May 25, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. David E. Nicklas

    Hillary Clinton is the only legal candidate. The U.S. Constitution reads, "No person except a natural born citizen shall hold the office of the President". Sen McCain was born in Panama and will not be eligible to hold the office. Sen. Obama, as researched by AP, was born in Machakos, Kenya; his fathers home province. He will not be eligible to hold the office. Serious Constitutional questions can be raised if someone not eligilbe under the Constitution were to be elected.

    May 25, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. TJ Johnson

    Sen Clinton, please don't stick with this crazy bunch of democrats. Leave that WHACKED-OUT party and run for president as Independent. PLEASE!!

    May 25, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. KE

    The media don't see this. More people are offended by the media than what Hillary said or did. What the media is doing to Hillary is doing it to us who supports her. Yes, it pains us.

    Some news magazine columnists are now using every word they can find to demean Sen. Clinton....I wish they can see themselves as we see them.

    Hillary Clinton better stay with her supporters and never mind the media till something changes.

    May 25, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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