The city’s mayor, a former Pennsylvania governor and other area politicians had already explained to the full crowd at McGonigle Hall why Hillary Clinton should be the next president.
And then, minutes into her speech, Clinton illustrated the implications of election day this November.
“I can’t think of an election that is more important, certainly in my lifetime,” she said. “And it’s not so much that I’m on the ticket. It is because of the stark choice that is posed to America in this election.”
This moment was one of the peaks of Clinton’s visit to Main Campus Friday afternoon, a day after she formally accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for President.
An energized crowd of students, alumni and other Clinton supporters waved American flags and erupted in chants of “Hillary! Hillary!” several times while she was on stage with her husband and former president Bill Clinton, vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton.
Clinton’s speech focused on job creation, raising wages, and fighting economic inequality. She also compared her campaign to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Trump has campaigned on illustrating how America is in a state of decline, Clinton said.
“His speech, his whole convention seemed more about insulting me instead of helping the American people,” she said.
Other themes of Clinton’s speech included investing in clean energy, technology, and helping portions of the country that “have been left out.”
Michael Stahler, a sophomore theater major, used to be a Bernie Sanders supporter. After her speech Friday, he’s happy he has decided to vote for Clinton in November.
“This speech I think was really important to the campaign,” he said. “This really humanized her … It felt very warm, very personable, very determined and passionate.”
Sam Trilling, who will be a freshman political science major this fall, said Clinton’s vice presidential pick was a smart one.
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“She’s made her platform a lot more progressive than was anticipated earlier,” Trilling said. “I think she’s really done a good job, bringing Tim Kaine [and] looking to win Virginia.”
Kaine, who spoke before Clinton, illustrated her as a candidate with a strong work ethic and a proven track record.
“Don’t you want a president who gets things done and knows how to battle for regular people?” he asked the crowd.
During her speech, Clinton also emphasized the history of being the first female nominee for president from a major political party. Emma MacDonald, a dance graduate from the Boyer School of Music and Dance, said the former Secretary of State has battled controversy her whole life.
“My mother has been following Hillary since the beginning of her career,” she said. “ I’ve always grown up supporting Hillary even from all the slaps that she’s gotten from the media and from other politicians who are not serving the public.”
MacDonald added she’s shocked that she will be facing Donald Trump in this November’s election.
“I used to joke with my family when [Trump] started running, ‘Well, at least if he wins I’ll go move to Italy because I’m not staying here because that’s just a joke!’” she said. “He’s very egotistical and a scary person to be running and she is not.”
Steve Bohnel and Dominic Barone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TheTempleNews.