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

Clinton upbeat on Puerto Rico campaign swing

ALT TEXT

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. RB

    PLEASE GO AWAY HILLARY! YOUR CROOKEDNESS CAUGHT UP TO YOU, FINALLY!!!

    May 25, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. Hillary Upbeat, YES! Carter's Comments NO!

    CNN, YOU NEED TO PROSECUTED!

    May 25, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  3. I love Obama!

    NOT!
    JIMMY CARTER was a one-time president. The most obvious factor was lack of previous experience in Washington. Like Obama, he ran on a "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. 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 even had to struggle to even obtain the re-nomination by his own party.

    May 25, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  4. Hillary FOR LIFE!!!

    Puerto is the next door-opener for Hillary Clinton. Puerto Rico will be a TRUE BELL WEATHER primary to watch!!!! Why isn't CNN reporting on Barack HUSEIN Obama and his corruptiong?!?!?!?! Hillary FOREEEEVVVVEEERRR!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH

    May 25, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. fred

    Go Hillary.....all the way to the convention!!!

    May 25, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. So Sick of Hillary

    I bet her speeches are free of sniping after Friday's bombshell. Hope she enjoys it because she won't have long left on the trail or of her entire political career.

    I think America has finally seen her for who and what she is.

    May 25, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  7. Republican in Training

    Her "won't give up" attitude makes the Republicans very happy.

    May 25, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Lisa

    Hillary its over please bow out gracefully... you are clearly ruining the dems chance of winning the white house....

    May 25, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. Bush was never elected

    It's a shame that she doesn't practice what she preaches. She'll never be a true leader.

    May 25, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Obama '08

    No matter what, I will never vote for a ticket with Hillary Clinton on it. I will write in anyone else. Never Clinton.

    May 25, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Frank smith

    whats the big deal with Puerto rico?
    they arent vote any way
    they are not Americans any way
    All they want are the benefit's anyway

    May 25, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. Reality Check!

    JIMMY CARTER was a one-time president. The most obvious factor was lack of previous experience in Washington. Like Obama, he ran on a "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. 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 even had to struggle to even obtain the re-nomination by his own party.

    May 25, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. all people for Obama

    clinton just get out

    May 25, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. JS

    I will be glad when Hillary ends her campaign!

    May 25, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Shanita Caldwell

    Hillary,
    you are a woman of steel, but now it is time for you to exit the campaign so that you will not damage the way for Barack Obama!

    May 25, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  16. Kathleen

    Hillary you look great! Keep right on fighting all the way to the convention!

    May 25, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. jlynne

    Take it to the convention, Hillary!!!! You've done too much for to many of us to stop now!

    May 25, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. garrick

    i will be glad when she finaly has to get out,such a sore loser,I hope she lose her senate set to

    May 25, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  19. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    I saw this posted by someone else, but it really hiot home... Faux News wouldn't post it no matter how many times I tried... there must be a banned phrase in it somewhere.

    These are the risks that American soldiers have faced everyday for over five years now, and under President McCain, they will face them for at least four more years.

    That's an incredible sacrifice to be made because some Clinton supporters decided to oppose Obama on issues wholly irrelevant to actual policy. That being the case, I just have to ask:

    If you refuse to vote for Obama, why are you asking others to sacrifice for your decision?

    If you're going to help McCain get elected, you need to take responsibility for your actions.

    This election is bigger than you. It's bigger than Barack Obama. It's bigger than Hillary Clinton. Lives will be saved or lost depending on who is elected in November, and if you're going to willfully help prolong the war, it's time to do the honorable thing and enlist.

    Locate a U.S. Army recruiter in your area:

    Don't worry, you'll still be able to get election results from Baghdad, and you'll still be able to "sit this one out" under the comfort of a mortar attack.

    And yes, I'm sure hearing about an Obama defeat will seem all the more sweet when you're laying in the choking aftermath of an IED explosion with a piece of half-melted plastic burning a hole into your intestines.

    I'm sure you'll be comforted by the knowledge that history had no place for President Obama when you're staring at the empty space where your leg used to be.

    And certainly, I'm sure the crippling terror of post-traumatic stress disorder will be nowhere as severe as the disingenuous "concern" you'll suffer over debunked Rezko conspiracy theories and the excited ramblings of a liberation theologian.

    Of course, those already serving will not get the same perverse comfort from their sacrifice, so there's no excuse for not taking on this burden yourself.

    If you truly believe that Obama should not be president, if you truly believe there is no greater pain than seeing a primary opponent win the general election, then this sacrifice can only be considered a modest price for your convictions.

    May 25, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Greg

    I was there. People had signs telling her to quit.

    May 25, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  21. Lydia

    I always chuckle that in many photos and at almost every rally, Clinton speaks before an audience that is overwhelmingly White and yet Hillary always has an African American in close juxtaposition to where she is standing or sitting. THAT is so funny to me.

    May 25, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. Desmond Sequeira

    The RFK reference, even if good-willed, was yet another sign of very poor judgment of context and circumstance for an individual who would be President, a job which calls for the ability to foresee ramifications.

    We have lost count of all the specious arguments, the twisting of facts, the downright low shots that have marked Mrs Clinton's campaign. She does have her loyalists, but her credibility with the rest of us is even lower than before she announced her candidacy.

    If not for racism and sexism, she would never have gotten this far. Thank God, most Americans are NOT sexist or racist.

    May 25, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. CHUKWUKA E.

    Hillary, why can't you ,your husband and daughter have some rest and give your support to Obama the man for the white? believe me,no matter how hard you try, nobody will come against God's annointed,and that BARACK OBAMA.

    May 25, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. StanLee

    I really like you Senator Clinton , but sometimes you have to know when to stop.
    She needs to understand that if she keeps being obstinated by having the "power", she will mess the democratic party up. Mc Caine is taking advantage of the situation. She really needs to stop now. She lost, things happen, everybody knows she is a fighter! but enough is enough. on't do it for you but for the American People, and for the sake of the party!!!!!!

    May 25, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. Steve McKenney

    Yaaawwnnn! Same ol' tired politics.

    If she can't win, she will steal it.

    If you argue that it's the popular vote, I suggest you go back to your Jr. High Civics teacher and ask them why we have Delegates electing the President instead of the popular vote. He/she will tell you that the reason for the delegate is so that smaller communities can stay in touch with the election process. Otherwise, Chicago, New York, L.A. and all the other large cities in America would elect the President and those that are located in rural areas really wouldn't have a say in who becomes the next POTUS.

    If you win 33 states to 17 elections and the votes are still as close as they are today, it goes to show that the smaller communities are really having an effect on this primary election. The will of the country is being served. I just can't imagine nominating a person who wins 17 of 50 (to date) elections when the opponent wins 33 of 50. It would show that the best interest of the country would be best served in the largest cities of the U.S.

    May 25, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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