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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 5:56 p.m., Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Clinton campaigns for state Democrats

By Jan TenBruggencate and Timothy Hurley
Advertiser Staff Writers

LIHU'E, Kaua'i — Former President Bill Clinton, dressed entirely in black, rallied a mostly Democratic crowd today at a session billed as a memorial for late Congresswoman Patsy Mink, but which played as a campaign rally for Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono.

Former President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker at a tribute to late Congresswoman Patsy Mink at the Neal Blaisdell Arena tonight. Clinton is on a whirlwind tour of the state on behalf of his fellow Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Mazie Hirono.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser
"I'm basically here 'cause I think Mazie ought to be the governor of Hawai'i," Clinton told a crowd that stood and cheered when he arrived. He spoke at noon the Kaua'i Veterans Center after an all-night flight from Minnesota, where he attended late Sen. Paul Wellstone's memorial.

Clinton accepted several lei, then took all but one off before beginning to speak. He casually put down a heckler who yelled out, "Liar!" with a line about attacks he faced as president.

"Newt Gingrich once told me, 'I'm sorry we have to be so mean to you, but if we fought fairly, we'd lose every time,'" Clinton said.

Clinton was flanked by stalwarts of the Hawai'i Democratic Party, including Sen. Daniel Inouye, Hawaii Government Employees Association president Russell Okata, and the Democratic governor-lieutenant governor team, Hirono and Matt Matsunaga.

He talked about Democratic values and Democratic issues.

"We Democrats believe in some very simple things," he said. One is the power of working together, he said. He urged Democrats to go to the polls on election day.

Clinton salutes the crowd of about 1,000 people at Kaua'i Veterans Center today. Kaua'i was the first stop on Clinton's tour of the state today.

Associated Press
"If you show up, we'll win... You ought to be there next Tuesday, and you ought to drag everybody you can to go with you," he said.

"The more difficult the times, the more important to have someone who shares your values," he said.

Of Hirono, he said: "She knows you can grow the economy and preserve the environment – one of the central lessons America must learn."

He lauded Hirono for sticking with the campaign despite having been far behind in the polls, and noted that polls now have Republican Linda Lingle and Hirono quite close.

"I was declared dead a dozen times when I ran for president in 1992, and a dozen times after. I like people who don't give up," Clinton said.

Clinton said he will have spoken on behalf of Democratic candidates are more than 100 events by Tuesday's election. Many of those races are extremely close, and Democrats are often outspent, he said.

Clinton stopped to eat a frozen treat at the Tasaka Guri Guri shop in Kahului on Maui, then paused to take a picture with Longs Drugs employees.
Timothy Hurley • The Honolulu Advertiser
"They have more money. We have better issues," he said of Republicans.

Clinton next hopped a plane to speak at Baldwin High School Auditorium before a standing-room-only crowd of 1,182. Hundreds more couldn't get into the auditorium, with most of them staying outside and listening to the speeches on a loudspeaker.

Inside, it was a Democratic lovefest. There were standing ovations, lengthy applause and loud cheers as the politicians heaped praise on Mink's career and implored the audience to work hard on behalf of Democrats to carry on her legacy.

The loudest applause was reserved for Clinton.

"Mr. President, it is clear. Maui loves you,'' said Mazie Hirono.

At one point, Maui Mayor James "Kimo" Apana had trouble finishing a sentence. Flustered, he gave up and said: "You know I'm really nervous. The president is right there.''

Many stayed afterward in an attempt to shake the former president's hand.

Mary Sue Gannon left work early from her job in Lahaina to attend the rally.

"I felt it was important enough to create the space to be here. I wouldn't have missed it.''

Clinton is on a one-day tour of the state that also takes him to O'ahu and the Big Island before flying out tonight.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808)245-3074. Reach Timothy Hurley at thurley@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 244-4880.