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Bill Clinton Campaigns For Hillary At Fayetteville State University


In the final days of the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has an advantage. It's a list of big-name surrogates now being deployed to motivate core Democratic voters to turn out. That is President Obama's job in a series of campaign appearances, and it's also a job for that other president. NPR's Don Gonyea followed him to North Carolina.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Last night's stop for Bill Clinton was at the historically black college Fayetteville State University. The crowd gathered outside on a plaza. First, a prayer from Reverend Bryan Thompson.

BRYAN THOMPSON: Now, Lord, as we are in a turbulent season but we can see victory on the horizon...

GONYEA: That victory, he said, would be Hillary Clinton's election. Then, Mayor Pro Tem Mitch Colvin...


GONYEA: ...And a call to see the seriousness of the task at hand.

COLVIN: Don't you realize that your vote is your power? On the one hand, we've got a woman that builds bridges. On the other hand, we've got a maniac that's talking about building walls. Thank you.


GONYEA: The Fayetteville State University marching band then played Clinton onto the stage.

BILL CLINTON: Look, I arranged to be here on homecoming weekend just so I could kind of boogie in to that band.

GONYEA: Then, the pitch.

CLINTON: You are actually being called upon, especially the young people here, to define the terms of what it means to be an American in the 21st century.

GONYEA: On Donald Trump, whom he referred to only as his wife's opponent, Clinton said he knows what Trump means by make America great again. He said it's a false promise to bring back the economy and jobs of 50 years ago.

CLINTON: And then it means I'll give you the position on the social totem pole you had 50 years ago, which means I'll move somebody else down and you up. And that is a very bad idea. Look at this crowd. We are the most diverse, vibrant, big democracy in the world. It's better than it was 50 years ago. Fifty years ago wasn't so hot for African-Americans.

GONYEA: These Bill Clinton rallies aren't big blockbuster events, but he's speaking to Democrats in important corners of key states, hoping it has a ripple effect in each city, town or community he visits.

Don Gonyea, NPR News, Fayetteville. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
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