Clinton Takes His Message Beyond The Beltway
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AllPolitics, Jan. 28) -- One day after his well-received State of the Union speech, President Bill Clinton strayed beyond the Beltway, touting his initiatives in Illinois and Wisconsin and seeking to extend the upward bounce in public opinion he's getting from the speech.
It's an annual journey for Clinton, who likes to take his message straight to the people immediately after he delivers it to the Washington crowd. This year, Clinton picked Champaign, Ill., and La Crosse, Wis.
In Champaign, at the University of Illinois, Clinton repeated many of the themes that he addressed in his State of the Union: the importance of education, the need to shore up Social Security, the need to increase medical and scientific funding.
The president also took up one of Vice President Al Gore's top issues -- the need to address global climate change. "Listen," he told the students, "this is your future. This is your life. This is the world your children and your grandchildren will have to live in in the 21st century. This is crazy for us not to do this. We do not have to take the economy down. We will lift the economy up and you have to take the lead in helping us to meet this challenge."
An unusually animated Gore introduced Clinton in Illinois, with a sort of modified fiery-Southern-preacher style of oratory. Gore first tried the style on for size in Atlanta last week at ceremonies marking the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.
Clinton took note of Gore's energy, quipping, "I thought to myself first it will become slightly obvious to this audience that he and I come from a little further south in the United States. And then I was thinking when he really got going that I wish I had people walking the aisles passing the plate."
Clinton and Gore will return to Washington Wednesday night.