Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 | 9:30 p.m.
Former President Bill Clinton attempted to sway some of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ millennial supporters while stumping for his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Las Vegas at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters International Training Center this evening.
Speaking to a crowd of several hundred, Clinton suggested that some millennials had been “carried away by her opponent’s message,” though not directly mentioning Sanders by name. He suggested that their support for Sanders stemmed from their anger with the status quo — and sympathized with those feelings.
“I get it — a lot of people are mad,” Clinton said. “When you’ve lived long enough and you’ve got more yesterdays than tomorrows … what you want is for every single American to be able to walk into a future where you can make your own choices, dream your own dreams and live the future you want.”
Sanders won the millennial vote at the Iowa caucuses — voters under 30 — by a 70 point margin.
Throughout the speech Clinton sought to paint his wife as the candidate who could make progress in Washington, D.C., calling her “the best single change-maker you’ve ever known.”
He urged the crowd that nominating her for the presidency was particularly important given that the next president is projected to appoint one to three justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, as the sitting justices retire. That would help in reversing the Citizens United decision and protecting voting rights, he said.
In an oblique attack on Sanders’ single-payer health care plan, Clinton suggested that it would be nearly impossible to muscle through a new health care plan without Democrats winning back control of Congress.
“We don’t have time to waste our energy trying to pass a bill that will have nowhere near 60 votes in the Senate,” Clinton said, referring to the 60 votes in the Senate needed to overcome a Republican filibuster, adding that health care reform wasn’t passed during his presidency because they didn’t have the Democratic votes.
He said the one thing that Democrats could work with Republicans on is the prescription drug and heroin problem in the country.
“You know why? It’s an equal opportunity killer,” Clinton said, adding that three children of close friends have died in the last five years from such drug use.
Clinton also touched on the most recent developments in the ongoing controversy over his wife’s use of a private email server, which has dogged her campaign for months. This week the State Department announced it had discovered a dozen emails containing classified information that were sent to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, during their time as President George W. Bush’s secretaries of state.
“Did anybody think Condi Rice, Colin Powell or Hillary would knowingly endanger the security of America?” Clinton said. “This is a woman who negotiated the Iran sanctions, who negotiated the nuclear treaty with Russia.”
As evidence of his wife's trustworthiness, Clinton shared an anecdote about when President Barack Obama called him to tell him that they had killed Osama bin Laden. Though the president had told the secretary of state she couldn’t share the information, he still seemed incredulous that she had not told her husband, Clinton said.
“We got bin Laden, and I said, ‘Thank God, congratulations,’” Clinton said.
Touting his wife’s foreign policy experience, Clinton said that the country needs strong diplomacy coupled with its strong defense.
“This horrible thing in San Bernardino had nothing to do with somebody going to ISIS land and getting converted. They got converted over the Internet,” Clinton said. “This is a battle going on in a billion brains."
This was Clinton’s second visit in two weeks, as his wife continues to campaign in New Hampshire ahead of their Tuesday primary. Clinton will rally supporters Saturday morning at Manse Elementary School in Pahrump.