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. Clinton Supporter

    Just read about the unhappy blacks in New York. Bill Clinton should move his office out of Harlem. He put Harlem back on the map, not because it was attractive real estate at the time, but, rather, due to his lifetime commitment to racial justice.

    He probably doesn't want to be there now any more than they want him. Oh, and Al Sharpton scolding Hillary to "watch her words." Look who's talking! Remember Tawana Brawley? I do. And Jesse Jackson, another pillar of "the community."

    So, Bill, you can now look for a more attractive neighborhood without guilt. Just say you've outgrown your space or the lease won't be renewed, whatever. Free at last!

    May 25, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. Michigan Voter !!!

    Hillary You Look Great !! Enjoy The Mini Vacation . The people Love you There ! . Keep On Fighting , We Are Behind You All The Way To The Convention !!!!!! .

    President Hillary Clinton 2008 – 2016

    May 25, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. Marlie:

    Who cares.

    May 25, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  4. Drew, Central FL

    You can't help but feel upbeat in a latino paradise.

    I guess after her comments about working, hard working, hard working white americans, she wants to see what brown can do for her.

    Si se puede!

    Obama '08

    May 25, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  5. Lynn

    The problem with Hillary promising Puerto Rico a Vieques cleanup is that it was her husband that caused part of the problem of bombs and ordnance all over the island! How desperate and deceptive she has become.

    May 25, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  6. Lex, Tampa FL

    Um, what can brown do for you?

    Si se puede!

    Obama '08

    May 25, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. Audrey in SF

    i do like that necklace.

    nice to have a free vacation on the dollar of all those donors. heck, i'd stay in the race too!

    May 25, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. EC

    Whaaaa Whaaaaa Whaaaaaa

    Whaaaa Whaaaaa Whaaaaaa

    Sen. Clinton is nothing but a broken record. Enough already.

    Mucho Loco!

    May 25, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  9. Alice

    yes, we need a debate so the good people of Puerto Rico (who do not get to vote in November) can have their questions asked and answered

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

    Go Hillary!!!! Don"t give up the fight . You are the stronger candidate. Obama talks about change........change what? He is too inexperienced to run a country. Maybe he can run again in 8 years.
    Hillary08and12

    May 25, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. Nia

    She looks rested, so now she doesn't have an excuse for the ridiculous things she says, or lies about....

    May 25, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  12. Nia

    ...and maybe the math will be clearer for her to see that sh may not be able to get the nmination or the VP spot

    May 25, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  13. Concerned Canadian

    Invitation for a debate ? Of course Barack Hussein Obama won't accept the invitation. He's hasn't beat Hillary Clinton to date at any face to face debate. He's scared. Doesn't care about reaching to people now.

    He's busy bribing , I'm mean bustling support to get more superdelegates to support him. Sneaky guy.

    May 25, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  14. allie

    Clinton, I used to love you but now, I just want you out of the race You need to exit gracefully and not be kicked out by the votes. Leave before Obama gets the votes and please do not take it to the convention. Think of the party not yourself..

    May 25, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  15. Josh

    GO HILLARY!!! WE LATINOS ARE INTELLIGENT AND WILL ONLY VOTE FOR THE RIGHT CANDIDATE...YOU!!! We will NEVER vote for a deceitful candidate such as Obama...he has not done one thing to help us Hispanics!!! Please keep on fighting for us and for America...YOU ARE OUR ONLY HOPE!!! I will not vote for Obama if he is the nominee...MARK MY WORDS...!

    HILLARY 08!

    IF NOT HILLARY THEN MCCAIN!

    May 25, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. alex123

    I hope the hotel asked for cash up front

    May 25, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. JIMMIE W BECK

    HILLARY IS THE NEW MARGRET THACHER. HILLARY IS THE WOMAN OF STEEL..OBAMA WITH ALL OBAMAS BILLIONIARES SUPPORTERS, MSNBC, PBS, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, MOVEON.ORG AND LOTS MORE DOING OBAMA BIDDING THE WOMAN OF STEEL IS STANDING. OBAMA IS A IVY LEAGUE SLIP AND SLIDDING LAWYER WHO ISN'T IN THE SAME LEAGUE AS HILLARY. IF YOU DON'T SEE IT THEN YOU NEED A REALITY CHECK. I'VE BEEN WATCHING THIS PRIMARY SEASON AND I HAVE NEVER SEEN OR HEARD ANYTHING LIKE THE MEDIA TRYING TO STUFF OBAMA DOWN THE PUBLIC THROAT. VOTERS WE DO NOT WANT THIS THE MOST LIBERAL LEFT WINGGER IN THE SENATE. SINCERELY, JIMMIE W BECK

    May 25, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. MA from La

    No matter the results Hillary made me proud to be an American! I appreciate all that she and President Clinton do and have done for this country! This may be a good time either for the Democratic party to split and/or create another one more closely aligned to the moderate voter who does not want to become a Replublican. If Hillary decided to run as a moderate democrat I for me would certainly follow her and vote for her.

    May 25, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  19. Belle-Seattle

    I think she looks nice in that shirt, but I am wondering why it was even mentioned? Do they mention the male candidates wardrobes?

    I'd love to see Obama agree to debate her. I've only seen a few one on one debates with them and I'd like to see how well he holds up without stammering. Although, they are big on the Sinclair story there so maybe Obama won't want to open himself up to those questions.

    May 25, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  20. Agnostic Democrat

    Well, good, it looks like the medication is FINALLY working ... for now!

    May 25, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  21. Noemi in Los Angeles, CA

    Democrats 08.

    May 25, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. Jim

    Yeah, I suppose I'd be upbeat too, if I were just as completely delusional and was able to take what amounts to a free vacation thanks to my clueless donors.

    May 25, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. Eric in New York

    A couple of weeks ago I switched my support to Obama in hopes that he will at least choose Hillary as his runningmate. But deep down I am still hoping for her to stage a comeback. Puerto Rico may be her chance if she scores a wide-margin of victory.

    May 25, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  24. Sam, SD

    The only reason That Hillary is in the race is hoping that something bad happen to your competition. Well if that's the Clinton's version of "Hope" count me out!

    May 25, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  25. Cooper

    I really respect Hillary Clinton as a woman, and I can understand her not conceeding until Obama reaches the required amount. I just don't understand her – blaming Obama for inflaming the RK comment when I never heard anything inflamatory come from him or his camp about it. Blaming Obama for the mess with FL and MI. Citizens of those states should blame their officials. They were the ones who broke the rules foolishly. How is that Obama's fault? I'm also concerned about her ability to run the country based on how her capaign has been run. Obama's campaign has been positive and fiscally responsible. That is what this country needs. I have no doubt that Obama beat McCain. He looks tired and old and only has war and defense to focus on. I know angry Democrats are saying they will, but when it comes time who on earth is going to push the button for that guy? Do you really want to look at him on your wide-screen high-def tv for 4 years?

    May 25, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
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