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Live Blog: Bill Clinton stumps for Obama in Las Vegas

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Steve Marcus

Former President Bill Clinton speaks on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama during a Las Vegas rally Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008, at Chaparral High School.

Updated Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008 | 6:43 p.m.

Bill Clinton stumps for Obama

Former President Bill Clinton speaks on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama during a rally at Chaparral High School Sunday Oct. 19, 2008. Launch slideshow »

6:40 p.m.

Bill Clinton finished working the audience at Chaparral High School not long ago after speaking for about 30 minutes to a crowd the Obama campaign estimated at 2,500 people.

He joked that, with a little more than two weeks left before Election Day, he and Reid had to be careful they didn’t say or do anything to reduce Obama’s lead over Sen. John McCain. “The other side is making some Hail Mary passes,” Clinton said.

Clinton’s remarks were largely of the nuts-and-bolts variety though, as he devoted much time to the economic crisis and the country’s health care system.

He defined the next president’s job like this: “We are picking someone to restore the fundamentals of the credit and banking industry in America, to bring back the American dream, to fix a broken health care system, to bring our troops home from Iraq, and to restore American’s standing in the world.”

“If that’s the job, I don’t think it’s close on who we ought to hire.”

Clinton noted his respect for McCain, as he has throughout the campaign, but said Obama “is talking about getting the show on the road again.” He said Obama had passed his first two presidential tests: one, by picking Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, and two, by his reaction to and understanding of the financial crisis.

“In fairness, both candidates did the right thing. They wanted to try and make it right,” Clinton said. “But you saw the last two debates. Who understood it better?”

“Sen. Obama, the first thing he wanted to do was to make sure he understood what was happening. You want a president who wants to understand and who can understand.”

On health care, he said Obama’s plan would lead to more people being covered, enable affordable access to the congressional health plan, and include tax credits for small businesses. McCain’s plan, he said, would “drive more people into buying their own health insurance,” which he said was grossly inefficient and would ultimately lead to “millions more who won’t have health care.”

“Our plan is better,” Clinton said. “On this issue alone, for economic, health care and moral reasons, Barack Obama should be the next president.”

He implored the crowd to speak to everyone they knew. “All you have to do, to have an enormous victory on Election Day, is remind people,” Clinton said. “You can’t lose this election unless people forget what it’s about. … You keep putting it out there and we’ll have a great victory.”

Clinton arrived from California and will be campaigning in Reno and Elko tomorrow. From there, it’s on to Missouri.

* * *

5:43 p.m.

Bill Clinton has arrived. He ascended the stage with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, took off his jacket, bit his lip and basked in a warm welcome.

"We love you, Bill," someone shouted.

In making his introduction, Reid called Clinton "a tremendously great" president, saying he "put this country on a road to economic recovery and prosperity that it has never seen before."

* * *

5:26 p.m.

Hundreds of Barack Obama supporters have gathered in the atrium of Chaparral High School, awaiting the arrival of former President Bill Clinton, who’s visiting Nevada today and tomorrow to stump for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Rep. Shelley Berkley kicked off a string of speakers, firing up the crowd with the news that former Secretary of State Colin Powell has endorsed Obama. She also noted the record turnout on the first day of early voting. More than 25,000 Clark County voters cast ballots yesterday, with Democrats outpacing Republicans by a 3-to-1 margin. Berkley implored the crowd to vote and remain active in the campaign.

“Do not take this election for granted until every vote is counted the night of Nov. 4,” she said. “Politics is not a spectator sport.”

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