LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton made a campaign stop in Kentucky on Saturday, stressing job creation and vowing to stay in the tightly contested race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Clinton spoke to a packed high school gym in Louisville, where she was greeted by a cheerleading squad leading the crowd in chants of "Hil-la-ry!" "Clin-ton!" The walls were covered in homemade posters, with slogans such as "Hooah Hillary 08," "Hillary Rocks
my Socks" and "Kentucky Counts."
"I've been in a lot of high schools, and I think this high school has the best signs," the former first lady said.
"It's exciting because Kentucky is going to help pick a president in a few weeks," Clinton said. "I'm glad Kentucky is going to be voting and you'll be choosing, because it's so important."
Kentucky's primary is set for May 20. The state's late primary date has typically made it an afterthought among the candidates because the nomination is usually locked up well in advance. Not this year as Clinton and counterpart U.S. Sen. Barack Obama are engaged in a hotly contested race that appears to be far from over.
"I'm going to keep fighting through this primary and asking for
your votes," she said.
Clinton's visit was the second visit by a member of her family to Kentucky in less than a week. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, made stops in central and northeastern parts of the state on Tuesday. President Clinton carried the commonwealth in both the
1992 and 1996 presidential elections.
On Saturday, Hillary Clinton stressed job creation, saying she would help manufacturers transition to new industries like clean energy. She also wants to end tax breaks for American companies that outsource jobs overseas, saying she would "get rid of every
single benefit for companies that export jobs from Kentucky and every other state."
Clinton spent the early part of the day campaigning in Indiana, including a stop in New Albany, just across the river from Louisville. About 100 people waited outside the Southside Inn restaurant hoping for a spot in the room where the New York senator
was speaking about the economy.
Claire Volpert of New Albany arrived several hours before Clinton's event in that city.
"I really thought this was a great opportunity to personally see her, hear her and show her our support," Volpert said. "i'm ready for a change and I want someone who will work for the common people. I think she's the one who can do it."
Clinton headed to the Ruby Laffoon Dinner in Madisonville in western Kentucky following the Louisville event.
Tickets for the Democratic function - which usually draws a few hundred people - were a hot item earlier this week. Madisonville Mayor Will Cox said he expected a crowd of up to 3,500 to attend.
Also Saturday, Obama, of Illinois, opened his first campaign office in Louisville. Obama wasn't at the event, but U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville was the scheduled keynote speaker. The Obama campaign plans to open offices throughout the state in the run-up
to the primary.
"Kentucky is definitely in play for the senator," said Obama's Kentucky campaign director Carolyn Tandy.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)