Bill Clinton Stumps for Hillary in South Dakota

     SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (CN) — Bill Clinton’s Friday stop in South Dakota on Hillary Clinton’s behalf was shorter, less crowded and less raucous than Bernie Sanders’ visit the week before, but he bested both Sanders and President Barack Obama when he got the city’s name right.
     “Hello, Sioux Falls! Hello, South Dakota!” he announced boisterously after a somewhat late arrival.
     Both Sen. Sanders and President Obama — while campaigning in 2008 — mistakenly referred to Sioux Falls as Sioux City on their visits.
     Sioux City is 90 miles south of Sioux Falls, in Iowa.
     One of the last states in the nation to vote, South Dakota is often disregarded since many believe that the election has already been decided by the time its primary rolls around.
     Bill Clinton acknowledged this assumption upfront, referencing his previous visits to the state in his 1996 reelection campaign and his campaigns on behalf of other Democratic candidates.
     “All my pollsters said, ‘Why are you going to these places? Everybody says you’re going to win if you just go to the big states and get a big turnout, you’ll get a clear majority of the vote and you won’t have to put up with nearly as much grief,'” he said. “I said, ‘If I let two or three Democrats down, I’ll have a lot more grief.'”
     Although he did not spend as much time touting Native American issues as Sanders had the week before, he talked up the fact that he was the first president to visit an Indian Reservation — Pine Ridge in South Dakota in 1999 — since Franklin Roosevelt. This won the support of Tom Shortbull, president of the Olgala Lakota College, in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.
     “She’s got the best ideas to include everybody in inclusive economic growth,” he said of his wife, the Democratic front-runner, “where we raise incomes, increase mobility, decrease inequality, and make special investments in areas that have been left out and left behind — Indian Country, coal country, and all of rural America.”
     He also stressed the Clintons’ record of support for tribal sovereignty. “We think diversity is a great asset,” he said.
     The Clintons have not visited any of South Dakota’s reservations this election cycle, however. Sanders’ visit to Pine Ridge reservation, which is in the nation’s poorest county, drew a crowd of 800 last week, according to the Rapid City Journal.
     In his visit to the traditionally red state, Bill Clinton also emphasized Hillary’s ability to work with politicians on both sides of the aisle.
     “She’s got the best track record and ability to deal with political gridlock in Washington,” he said.
     “Everything Hillary has accomplished since I moved to Washington as president, from working with Congress to pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program after we lost healthcare to working with a House Republican leader who thought he disagreed with us on everything, Tom DeLay, to increasing adoptions out of foster care by 80 percent, was done in a bipartisan way.”
     He added, “We don’t live in a dictatorship. You deal with the Congress you’ve got, and you’ve gotta prove you can get something done.”
     He also cited her work with Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham to get adequate equipment for soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
     “I think it’s important to be able to do things with people who disagree with you,” he said. “Oh, I know they’ve been mean to her, but I always find that you should respect your adversaries. They do not spend their time attacking people they are not worried about.”
     The only reference Bill Clinton made to Sanders’ campaign was to note that Bernie Sanders and Hillary voted together 93 percent of the time.
     Hillary Clinton won South Dakota in the 2008 primary election, and Bill Clinton is hoping for the same result when the state votes on June 7.
     “South Dakota has been good to her, and to our family,” he said.

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