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. Jobama supporter=arkansas

    she needs the rest
    she will cam[aign for obama soon
    bless you hillary

    May 25, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. H


    May 25, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. Ron L

    June 3rd could not come soon enough!!! Hillary once had the respect of many Democrats, INCLUDING MINE. Her actions and words in the last 6 weeks has cost her a lot of that respect, INCLUDING MINE.




    May 25, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  4. Alison, FL

    I don't like Hillary but she looks nice in the pink and white garb. She is from Puerto Rico too so she should fit in well with the natives!

    May 25, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. Lemuel

    I think Hillary Clinton has still the chance to win she just need to hang on and as we can see from all this campaign. And this situation actually gave us the oppurtunity how resilient and strong woman she is. People are more interested in her campaign on every stop and even the media can't stop getting coverage of her although most of the media has been often critical of her for these past few weeks. However at this moment i think the tide is turning to her side as she gets more sympathy from voters esp. from Michigan and Florida and in Puerto Rico were she seems to connect more with voters. And if this will continue up to Montana this will like persuade superdelegates to her side as former Pres. Bill Clinton said superdelagates can flipside Keep fighting Hillary we love you!!!!!!!!

    May 25, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. BJG

    heard there were no more than 100 people – Adios, Hillary!

    May 25, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  7. mel

    Please get out the race after june 1st okay. You are hurting the party
    by trying votes to count that had know objection when you thought you
    were the front-runner.

    May 25, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. Helen

    Sen. Hillary – God Luck in Puerto – I know the Puerto Ricans will understand that YOU are the Person that take America and Americans out its present as President will provide for their needs – and You as President will definitely turn the Clock to a positive and fruitful future.

    Good Luck Sen Clinton

    May 25, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. Jeremy

    She is doing great! I hope she keeps fighting. We need Hillary Clinton as our next President!!!

    May 25, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  10. Pepou

    Give it up, Lady Macbeth !!! You have done enough damage in this campaign.

    May 25, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. New Day

    Thats nice. Despite being pro-Obama, I am not anti-Hillary. I really hope she does well, I can really see her replacing that nit-wit, Pelosi in the senate. She could set the agenda for all those reforms she talked about in her campaign. Go USA '08

    May 25, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  12. Tom, Boston MA

    which is it hillary, stupidity or freudian slip?

    May 25, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. Cam

    Hillary has the power. Her supporters will determine her fate. If Obama slights her in the least, less than one in a hundred of us have to vote for McCain. Live it up girl! We will always be there for you

    May 25, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |

    Go Hillary Go,We need you we wan,t you.....And what about Jimmie Carter? shame o him,what a poor job he did for usa..I thank he should keep his mouth closed and take care of his peanut farm

    May 25, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. Hillary quit now

    Hillary, you are wasting everybody's time.
    And your RFK comment shows your true colors.
    I hope you don't have a contract on Obama.
    CNN, I dare you to post this !

    May 25, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  16. Proud American

    Look at this woman's face pretending like she really cares about these people. I can't understand how anyone who would support that woman. She lies, deceives, cheats, manipulates, i really doubt that's the kind of woman that all women have been praying one day to see one day in the white house. There's nothing memorable or to be proud about her.

    May 25, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  17. The O

    Hillary only has gotten this far becuase of her husban's name, not her so called experience, or her so called toughness, or so called electability. Obama is self made he has got here through Intellect, hard work, leadership, Honesty, Integrity, and a Vision that everyone can see....


    BARACK THE VOTE!!!!!!!!

    May 25, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  18. Michael

    She has to be kidding, she is wanting another debate, haven’t we had enough of those? If people do not know where her and Obama stand on the issues by now then I guess they should have paid more attention to the last twenty some odd debates.

    May 25, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  19. DemocracyNow2008

    Its over and Hillary knows it even if she is campaigning in P.R. .
    The writing is on the wall.
    Senator after June 3rd its time to take a long vacation after you pay back all your campaign vendors that you own money to.
    Its been a good race and you lost and Obama is now the persumptive nominee with only 52 delegates to go before he gets the Nomination.

    Obama all the way to Washington after November and President of the United States of America

    May 25, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. Chicago for HILLARY !!!

    Go!!!!! HILLARY !!!!! GO !!!!! WE NEED YOU IN THE WHITE HOUSE !!!!!

    PUERTO RICO !!!!! VOTE !!!!!! FOR !!!! HILLARY !!!!!!!!

    May 25, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  21. Terry

    Oh give it up already.

    Now she's appealing to everyone's religious side.

    This is enough. She has got to get out.

    Obama/Olbermann. O8

    May 25, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. Katherine

    Stop asking for debates. Enough is enough. Everyone knows its over.

    Catch a clue!

    May 25, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  23. Terry

    Now she's trying to appeal to everyone's religious side.

    Give it up.

    Obama/Olbermann 08

    May 25, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  24. Maureen

    Maybe we'll all get Lucky and Hillary Clinton will stay in Puerto Rico. Anywhere far, far away would be good.

    May 25, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  25. Extinct

    Is Puerto Rico a state? Oh, that's right. According to Hillary, Puerto Rico must be the 51st state. It's only important for her primary, nobody elses.

    May 25, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
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