Former President Bill Clinton came to Pittsburgh Monday for some last-minute campaigning on behalf of a fellow Democrat, President Barack Obama.
Mr. Clinton’s campaign stop at downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square came as Pennsylvania is suddenly flooded with political ads for both the president and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
The former president held back no criticism of Romney, even impersonating him toward the end of his twenty-minute speech. President Clinton also criticized the Republican for persisting with recent ads on the Ohio auto industry, even after they were “rebuked” by carmakers.
“When I was a kid, when I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar, I sort of shrugged my shoulders and took my hand out of the cookie jar,” said Mr. Clinton, pantomiming as he spoke. “When this guy gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he thinks, ‘What the heck, I got Karl Rove and the Koch brothers and all this secret money.’ He just digs down deeper in the cookie jar for more cookies.”
Mr. Clinton also slammed Romney’s plan to cut Medicaid funding.
“Medicaid funds health insurance for families, many of them with solid, middle-class incomes who have children with disabilities, children with autistic conditions, children with cerebral palsy, children with developmental disabilities,” said Mr. Clinton. “Do you think it is right to cut their healthcare and throw their parents into bankruptcy to give another tax cut?”
President Clinton said he prefers Mr. Obama's policies, both at home and abroad, to those of Romney.
"I want the candidate who's been a good commander-in-chief," said Mr. Clinton, "who ended the war in Iraq, is bringing the troops home from Afghanistan, who fought terrorism, who advanced diplomacy, who tries to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies, and who has a very good Secretary of State." The former president of course referred to his wife, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Clinton repeatedly called Romney's fiscal policies "trickle-down" economics, in which he said Romney would cut spending for key programs in order to afford a tax cut to the nation's wealthiest residents.
Meanwhile, the former commander-in-chief praised Mr. Obama's healthcare overhaul, his reform of student debt regulations, and his attempts to diversify the economy by providing subsidy to alternative energy companies in Pennsylvania, primarily windfarms.
The Pittsburgh Public Works Department estimated 5,800 people in attendance at the rally, packing Market Square to the seams on a chilly November morning.
Other candidates also spoke at the rally, both for themselves and the president. Congressmen Mark Critz (D-PA-12) and Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) made brief pitches, as well as US Senator Bob Casey (D-PA).
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard also gave speeches for the Obama campaign.