In the wake of Sunday night's debate, Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Clinton stepped off the subway at 52nd and Market streets yesterday morning to press the flesh with area residents. Clinton, smiling and signing autographs, walked up and down 52nd Street in West Philadelphia meeting some of the hundreds lined up along the sidewalks to greet him. Democratic Senatorial candidate Lynn Yeakel, Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.), and Rep. Lucien Blackwell (D-Pa.) joined the candidate. People in the crowd jockeyed for position to get an up-close look at the Arkansas Governor and were enthusiatic about Clinton and his visit to their neighborhood. "This is very exciting," said Stuart Burgh, a social worker. "I think he offers a lot of very positive choices for the next generation. He definitely has my vote." Clinton and his entourage made their second of three stops in Philadelphia at the Warwick Hotel in Center City, where the candidate was endorsed by a group of retired generals and admirals including Admiral William Crowe, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "In our view, a Commander in Chief needs sound judgement, a strong sense of purpose, a clear understanding of national defense and a vision for our country's future," said General Fred Woerner, reading from the group's prepared endorsement. "Bill Clinton has those qualifications to be Commander in Chief." Clinton's anti-war stance during the Vietnam War has come under attack in recent days, but Crowe defended Clinton, saying that President Bush's attacks have been "misguided." "I deeply deplore the implication that a single individual or a single political party has a monopoly on patriotism," he said. And Clinton, flanked by a number of the retired military personnel, thanked the group for their support. "I certainly believe that their endorsement will be helpful in convincing America that I can be Commander in Chief," Clinton said. Clinton, when asked about Sunday night's debate, expressed satisfaction with his performance saying he "feels good" about the polls, especially the ones which declared him the winner. "What those surveys all show is that two-thirds of the American people are dying for a change," the candidate said. "The only real alternative to four more years of what we've had is the campaign that I'm a part of." Across town, about 3,000 people gathered at the triangular intersection of 9th and Passyunk streets in South Philadelphia to greet Clinton who arrived at around 1:00 p.m. - about an hour an a half after he was scheduled to appear. The crowd was entertained by comedian Joey Bishop, a cowboy doing rope tricks and a host of local politicians from Mayor Edward Rendell to Wofford, who one by one ascended the old Ford pickup truck being used as a stage. "I love the signs in this crowd today," Clinton told the group. " 'Vietnam Vets,' 'Republicans for Clinton,' 'Catholics for Clinton/Gore,' . . . 'Hilary's my idol.' I like that one." Clinton talked about his economic plan, which includes investing in new jobs and reforming the health care system. "Under Bill Clinton and Al Gore you get a tax cut if you make money the old-fashioned way - by creating jobs for Americans," he said to applause. "I know our problems are not simple," he said. "We did not get into this mess overnight. We will not get out of it overnight. We have tried it their way for 12 years. It didn't work. It failed. We have got to have the courage to take a different course." Jon Woodward, a local resident who attended the rally, said he identified with a lot of what the Arkansas Governor had to say. "He hit the nail right on the head with everything," Woodward said.Comments powered by Disqus
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