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story.lead_photo.caption Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a crowd at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville’s Independence Hall. - Photo by Staff Photographer / Thomas Hudson

— Instead of a stump, former President Bill Clinton stepped onto the stage at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville’s Independence Hall on Wednesday. Batesville was a campaign stop for 1st Congressional District Democratic nominee Chad Causey, who had Clinton in tow.

Causey is opposed by Republican nominee Rick Crawford and Green Party nominee Ken Adler for U.S. Rep. Marion Berry’s seat. Berry, D-Ark., announced his retirement earlier this year.

Prior to Clinton’s late arrival, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh stepped up to the microphone.

“Sorry for the delay, but I was told we are on Clinton time,” Elumbaugh said in an attempt to stall to make up for Clinton’s late arrival, which was his 74th event stumping for Causey and other Democrats, such as Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., who is running for re-election, and state Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, who is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Two days in a row, the stage at Independence Hall had legendary feet upon it. Tuesday night, Willie Nelson performed on the same stage where Clinton addressed a crowd the next day.

Also speaking, state Rep. James McLean, D-Batesville, recited two quotes to the audience.

“All politics is local” is a quote McLean attributed to the late Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; and “I never voted for anybody; I always voted against,” which McLean attributed to comedian W.C. Fields.

Working from within the community by choosing the best candidates was the theme throughout each of the speeches.

As Causey and Clinton entered together, stage right, the audience jumped to its feet.

After Causey briefly spoke, he welcomed Clinton to Batesville.

“I’m old enough to say this — and I hate that, but I am — when you make a decision when you’re mad, most of the time you make a mistake,” Clinton said. “I’m not running for anything, so I can be straight with you.”

Referring to voters who vote based on anger and disappointment with incumbents rather than facts, Clinton continued, “When you really care about something, like football, we know all the facts,” Clinton said.

Comparing the voting process to football, Clinton suggested voters “watch the game film” and look at the history and the facts.

Continuing to talk in what he said was a “nontraditional political speech” about childhood obesity, the economy and education, Clinton said he takes an hour out of each day to study the economy and its effects on the American people.

As Clinton concluded his speech, he stepped off the stage and began shaking hands with members of the audience, taking time to visit and answer questions.

Print Headline: Former president stumps for U.S. rep candidate

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