Clinton speech focuses on economy and jobs

Tribune Staff Report

MISHAWAKA ­ Presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton brought her campaign to a packed Mishawaka High School gymnasium late this morning.

Clinton, who is battling Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, focused on the nation’s economy during her 35-minute speech, stressing that it is time to “unleash the genius of America.”

Former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan, introduced Clinton around 11:30 a.m. About 4,000 people in the gym, at least half of them students, cheered loudly as Clinton took the microphone and paced the makeshift stage.

“Wow,” Clinton said. “It’s great to be in Mishawaka with all of you.”

Clinton said that Indiana has the potential to shake off its rust and become a 21st Century manufacturing belt and there are jobs to be created here.

For the most part Clinton stuck to her plan for the economy and only once mentioned her current opponent in the primary election and potential foe, Republican Sen. John McCain, in the general election.

“This isn’t about the next election,” Clinton told the assembly. “This is about the next generation.”

Afterward, Clinton took questions from the audience for about 15 minutes.

One person asked Clinton what she would do with the No Child Left Behind Act should she be elected.

“I’m going to end No Child Left Behind,” Clinton vowed, triggering a surge of applause.

Another person asked Clinton what she would do with the military troops currently in fighting in Iraq.

Without hesitation, Clinton responded, “bring them home.”

From here Clinton will continue her tour of Indiana with campaign stops in Hammond, Fort Wayne and then Muncie. On Saturday she will be in Indianapolis and New Albany.