DAVIS (CBS13) – A visit from former President Bill Clinton attracted thousands to UC Davis on Tuesday morning.
Clinton was in town to promote four Democrats in hotly contested congressional races.
People started showing up at 7 a.m. and by 11 the quad was packed.
“The 42nd president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton” prompted a roar from the crowd.
“I love this campus, I love it every time I come,” he told crowd.
The former president walked on the stage like a rock star and knew exactly how to fire this crowd up.
“This one thing can change the future of America,” he said.
It was the third visit to UC Davis for Clinton, this time to endorse the four congressional candidates.
“We need a road map to a brighter future and these guys will give it to you,” he told the crowd. “I want you to vote for all of them.”
But the former president spent a good chunk of his 30-minute speech making his case to re-elect President Barack Obama.
“For the first time in virtually four years, the unemployment rate finally dropped below 8 percent,” Clinton said.
Clinton certainly tailored his stump speech to his audience. He turned his attention to education and the stark differences he said Democrats have with Republicans.
“We have fallen from second in the world in the last 10 years to 16 in the percentage of people graduating college,” he said. “We’ve got to get back in the future business, and this means more people going in and getting out of college.”
And, no surprise, the former president said the best way to get more people through college was to re-elect President Obama and the four Democratic congressional candidates joining him on stage.
“They’re going to repeal President Obama’s student loan reform, cost the taxpayers $60 billion more,” he said of Republicans.
Congressman Dan Lundgren’s campaign responded to the Clinton’s claims, saying the real problem facing students today is the fact that they can’t get a job when they graduate and that Congressman Lungren is working hard to bring common sense solutions to Washington.
But the message of more affordable education seemed to resonate with the crowd.
“He really touched up on student finances, which is applicable to everyone here on campus,” student Calvin Wang said.
Students waited hours for a chance to see and hear the former president.
“He was just as great in person as he was on TV, actually better,” one said.
“It just motivates students to get out and vote more,” said another.
After the speech, Clinton spent close to an hour shaking hands.
“It was really motivating,” Yesenia Navarro said. “It was really good. It got everybody really excited.”