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. MP

    Hillary, stay in this race!! You are an inspiration and beautiful woman, don't ever let this disgraceful media bring you down! And as for Carter–who really cares what he has to say! I was young when he was President, but from what I have read and what both my parents, grandparents and others have said, he was one of the WORST Presidents ever! They try to slander you because you have said things that the media has twisted, but at least we KNOW you don't have a RADICAL relative, friend, pastor or what-have-you around every corner! Keep going, you are the REAL VOICE OF HOPE, LOVE AND UNITY for a Country and a Planet starved for guidance and much healing!

    May 25, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  2. yappy

    she makes me sick. WHEN will she go away !

    May 25, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  3. c of c

    earlier this evening on cnn, Bill said something about Hillary winning the electoral race. The goal post moves again.

    HE sounded like a petulant little brat, too!!!

    May 25, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. JJ in NY

    hillary should stay in PR, or go back to Arkansas .

    May 25, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  5. Florida Dem

    She can run, but she cannot hide from the disgusting reference she made Friday. Clinton supporters are starting to worry me. You folks sound a bit crazy. Just read some of their comments and you'll see what I mean.

    May 25, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. Susan

    Go Hillary!

    Thanks Peurto Rico for welcoming and supporting Hillary Clinton.

    She is experienced, for all the people, and a fighter.

    Vote for her!

    Hillary 08:)

    May 25, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  7. Ron

    Please go home

    May 25, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  8. Bridgette - PA

    She can be upbeat all she wants. This will be over in 10 days!

    OBAMA / ME


    May 25, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  9. Jadyn

    We are all frustrated with the continuation of efforts to win the nomination. The people have spoken. If the nomination is stolen by Hilliary, most voters, particularly those supporting Obama, will likely vote for McCain.

    May 25, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  10. K.L. Sullivan

    The next Democrat primary should be simply, just get Carter, Kerry, Pelosi and Chris Matthews together in a room and they can pick that one too. We don't count fellow Democrats, not one bit, just like Florida in 2000 OUR votes don't count , just the "big boys" No more party politics for me.........

    May 25, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. Joe

    History will show that Hillary put herself above the health of the Democratic party. Insighting women to feel as if they are all victims of injustice to there feminist movement. Who will with hold there votes in protest.

    May 25, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. kurt

    don't pay attention to the media nonsense. Hillary is our next president.
    the only one who thinks obama has won is the media and obama supporters. the other 90% of the country doesn't think that.
    go hillary 08!

    May 25, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  13. Edgar

    her comments sparked the LIBERAL/OBAMA a/k/a CNN media furor! Nuff said!

    May 25, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  14. David, Paducah, Kentucky

    I'm glad she is having such a good time there with the Puerto Ricans treating her like royalty. I'm sure she is eating it up. Hopefully she will stay there because she isn't going to get that treatment back in the States.

    May 25, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  15. Ash

    Mrs. Clinton, why don't you extend your vacation in Puerto Rico indefinitely?

    May 25, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  16. Chris

    She looks good!!!

    May 25, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  17. Nava-Canada

    Hillary Clinton will not give up the fight until last day for two reasons

    1. She must have got wind of the Demcratic caucus's thinking not to
    offer the VP position to her as she will flex her musles and will try
    to undermine Obama in the hope that she gets the 2012 party

    2. She is 'bitter' about the turn coats among the super delegates who
    is inching away from her and getting ready to vote for Obama and
    before she gets into seculded life, she wants to teach the party
    stalwarts a one time lesson. She might even contest as an Inde-
    pendant to spike the party and the voters, who she thinks,let her
    down as the campaign progressed.

    May 25, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  18. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    I do not like Karl Rove but when he said that America is a center to right country, he is correct. That is why since 1968 only 2 Democrats have won the White House. Carter because of the scandal ridden Nixon, and Clinton because he ran in the center.
    Unfortunately for Democrats Obama is from the "Left", the losing side in Presidential elections.
    Any improvement in the econpmy between now and November, it will be, bye bye Obama and "Hillary in 2012"

    May 25, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  19. Elizabeth

    That tropical cheery jacket is not covering the darkness of your soul. We got an X-ray image of that dark soul the other day when you accidentally gave us a snap shot the evilness in you. I am sure your network, (Clinton News Network) will not publish this but I am sending it anyway just so I can tell people around me that CNN did exactly what they were expected to do.

    May 25, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  20. Chris

    A note to Puerto Rico- Consider the Clintons' actions, not their empty promises. Clinton lied to Puerto Rico when he agreed to comply with the wishes of Puerto Ricans and cease US Navy bombing on Vieques Island, yet days later he started bombing the populated island again. The Clintons are masterful liars; they will promise you the moon with a cheshire cat grin, but will lob a bomb at you the next day. How quickly Billary forgot that you were American citizens then, but suddenly around the time they're looking for votes, they conveniently remember that you vote in primaries. Don't trust the Clintons again, Puerto Rico.

    May 25, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  21. Truth

    Hillary all the way !

    Hillary 08

    May 25, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  22. Clinton Supporter

    Hillary certainly earned the warm welcome she received. She's done a great deal for Puerto Ricans, both on the mainland and the island. But then, when you're experienced and sensitive, that happens.

    Too bad Barack can't think fast. I was hoping for another debate, but I know he's not up to it. Oh, well.

    A couple of days of sun for a person who has so much stamina and commitment and loyalty to each one of us, even jerks because jerks are American, too, after all, is well deserved, and I'm sure, very much appreciated. She can steel herself for the next fight.

    We love you, Hill!

    May 25, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  23. Rob

    Hillary is my choice for president! Throughout all the hype, the "controversies", and Obama-mania, She has been a role model for all Americans by never giving up. She will take this to convention and those who don't think so are dumb. This is a history-making primary! She will win and then what will all the naysayers...umm... say (haha!)


    May 25, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  24. robk

    Why did this story have any mention of wardrobe changes? This seems completely irrelevant to the issues discussed, and frankly, makes cnn look for like E! and the rest of the celebrity gossip-fest.

    As for Sen. Clinton's "challenge" to a debate, I think we all know by now that it is a rather rediculous idea. There have been over 20 debates, she's about 200 delegates behind, and Univision has already sponsored at least one debate (TX). Still, the phrasing of her quote was interesting: much less fire & fervor than in past weeks/months. It seems more like an obligatory statement than a challenge. I guess this is what it sounds like when a campaign is winding down. In some ways, it reminds me of some of the statements & gestures made by Gov. Huckabee as he was finishing up.

    Hope you enjoyed the sun & the beach, Senator. I don't know how much opportunity you will have for it in the coming months. Certainly, your party will want you to help shine light on Sen McCain's spotty record and policy ideas. I look forward to proving some of your more harsh critics (including myself, at times) wrong by fighting the good fight for the donkeys after Sen. Obama accepts the nomination.

    May 25, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  25. Gregory W

    You GO, Hillary! You are the only one with the correct answers. You are the only one with the swing-state vote. You are the one with the most votes cast (whether some claim they count or not). You are the only one to beat McCain. You are the correct choice for the U.S. Thank you for your extraordinary fight!

    May 25, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
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