And he reminded us of what's really at stake in this election.
Former President Bill Clinton, in Las Vegas Tuesday night to stump for Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, knew he was “preaching to the saved,” as he called the partisan crowd.
The more than 1,000 people gathered at Valley High School couldn’t have been friendlier. They cheered when Clinton touted Reid’s accomplishments, booed when he mentioned Republican challenger Sharron Angle and drowned the auditorium with applause when the federal stimulus bill and health care reform were mentioned.
“I assume you’re all going to show up and vote,” Clinton said. “What really matters is the people who aren’t here.”
Clinton urged the crowd to spread the word about Reid — his influence as “the most powerful senator in America,” his success at creating jobs, his commitment to clean energy and his support of small business.
In any other year, Clinton said, Reid would be leading the Senate race by 25 percentage points.
“The only reason this is a tough race is because this is a tough time. When people are mad, it’s hard to think,” he said.
How very true. And Clinton reminded us what we see happening thanks to Harry Reid. We have a new LED manufacturing plant that will be bringing 1,000 new clean, green jobs to my community here in Henderson. We have another 1,000 new clean, green jobs coming online soon to North Las Vegas with the wind turbine manufacturing plant on the way. And we have plenty more progress being made on green collar jobs for a new 21st century economy here in Nevada thanks to Harry Reid and his forward-thinking energy policies.
These are real people. These are real jobs. This is a real possibility, and a real opportunity that Nevada must pursue to for a more sustainable future, both environmentally and economically!
And what's the alternative? Awfully scary, and makes absolutely no sense...
"He's been treated to this unbelievable abuse," Clinton said of Reid. But he cautioned Silver State voters not to cast their ballots in anger.
"I am old enough to tell you, if you forget about politics, any time in your life you make an important decision when you're mad, there's an 80 percent chance you're going to make a mistake," Clinton said. "I don't want people to abandon their anger. I want them to channel it so they can think clearly."
With less than three weeks to go before midterm elections, Clinton is barnstorming the country to rally the Democratic faithful as states begin early voting. Polls open in Nevada on Saturday.
Tuesday's crowd of several thousand booed and hissed as Clinton portrayed a scorched-earth Republican fiscal agenda of tax breaks for the wealthy and deep spending reductions to vital government programs, including "massive cuts for air traffic controllers. Who gets to decide which airports are unsafe? Maybe Sharron Angle will volunteer Vegas."
He ticked off food safety, college aid and teacher jobs as similarly vulnerable. "It would be unbelievably negligent to say, 'I know you're right, but I'm just too mad. I've got to vote for this woman - this woman who doesn't want women to have mammograms in their health insurance policies. Who thinks autism is sort of a flaky, made-up deal,' " Clinton said.
Angle has said she is opposed to government-imposed mandates for health coverage, whether for cancer screenings or brain disorders. "A lot of people you know are going to vote that way unless you tell them this," Clinton warned the crowd.
As President Clinton kept reminding us last night, we have a very clear choice. We can keep moving forward, or we can go back to the failed Bush policies of the past.
We can keep moving forward with true leaders, like Harry Reid and Dina Titus, making smart choices and listening to what we have to say here in Nevada...
Or we can go back to the same old failed George Bush policies that Sharron Angle and Joe Heck like so much.
We hear plenty of slogans from both of them, but no real solutions... And not even any interest in providing any! While both Titus and Reid have worked so hard on solutions on creating green jobs, stopping home foreclosures, helping more students graduate from college, and so much more, Heck and Angle offer...
OK, I guess that's stretching it. They are offering something. I think it looks something like this.
They never want to talk about how we fell into this mess in the first place, and when they talk about "taking our country back" it certainly looks like they want to "take it back" to what got us into this mess in the first place.
This is what's at stake in this election. And that's what President Bill Clinton was explaining last night. We have real choices to make. And it's up to us to move past blind anger, realize what's at stake, and do what's best for our state and our country. It seems we're coming along and may be making the right choice, but now we need to make sure all of us actually do it.