An energetic crowd of Temple students welcomed former President Bill Clinton and Democratic senatorial candidate Joe Sestak at the Bell Tower Thursday evening as a final push to get out the vote for Tuesday’s mid-term elections.
“This is a university. You owe it to yourself, to your future and everybody you can contact between now and Tuesday to vote for your future,” Clinton said.
Clinton, who said that Temple was his 115th campaign stop since the mid-term election cycle began, gave a sweeping endorsement of Congressman Sestak. The latest Reuters poll shows the two candidates in a dead heat leading up to Nov. 2, showing each candidate with 46% of support of likely voters in Pennsylvania. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9%.
Clinton spent much of his speech addressing healthcare reform, lagging class mobility, the national deficit and student loan reform. The former president further pleaded students to get involved, and to vocalize their concerns through new mediums like Facebook and Twitter.
“The truth is, when you believe that we’re all in it together, you act like we’re all in it together, everybody has a role to play, and everybody has a chance to live their dream, we do better,” Clinton said. “This is not about good people and bad people, this is about different, competing ideas.”
Sestak, who followed Clinton, also asked the audience, and youth in particular, to take an active role in the electoral process.
“Every generation has changed America to work for itself, but if you’re not electing the representatives to help the change happen the way it needs to, then we’re not doing our duty,” Sestak said. “Your vote counts.”
Temple students, who appeared in great numbers, showed much enthusiasm as the rally came to a close.
“I almost wet my pants when I found out that [President Clinton] was coming,” said Dashiell Sears, a sophomore political science major. Sears also expressed having been won over by Sestak’s ‘independent’ qualities, as described by Clinton earlier in the evening.
“We need people who are going to agree to work for a better cause – we don’t need people who are going to say ‘no’ all the time,” Sears said.
“It was very exciting,” said Frank Erkes, a senior chemistry major. “It was a good event for the university. We finally got some exposure.”
April Melody, communications advisor for Sestak’s campaign, was also happy with the rally.
“It went great, the crowd was very enthusiastic,” Melody said. “It was impressive.”
Thursday’s event will be followed-up by a canvassing-kickoff rally Saturday morning featuring President Barack Obama. The rally will take place at the student Pavilion, and is expected to begin at 10 a.m.
Brandon Baker can be reached at Brandon.firstname.lastname@example.org.