Former President Clinton’s Montgomery County Visit Attracts Hundreds
Addressing an audience of more than 500 people, Bill Clinton discusses his endorsement of state attorney general candidate Kathleen Kane.
By approximately 5:15 p.m., yesterday afternoon, Dr. Warren Rosen and his wife Carol had been patiently waiting in line for a little over a half-an-hour.
Standing in the Upper Moreland High School parking lot, the Rosens marked the halfway point in a line easily hundreds of people thick – and quickly growing by the minute.
The couple, who travelled from Rydal, were waiting to attend a “Get Out the Vote” rally in support of Democratic state attorney general candidate Kathleen Kane. Neither were shy in expressing their excitement over seeing the rally’s special guest speaker: former President Bill Clinton.
“He’s a great man, why wouldn’t we want to come see a great man?” Warren Rosen asked.
“He’s always entertaining, and it’s enjoyable listing to him give a talk,” added Carol.
According to rally organizers, people started gathering in line before 4:30 p.m. In all, according to Upper Moreland Fire Marshal Robert Drennen, over 500 people were in attendance. Rally organizers estimate the total closer to 1,000 people.
But, for most, the 42nd president’s potential appearance was enough to keep them waiting in the long line.
“They told me they were looking forward to meeting an ex-president,” Warminster resident Ingrid Daubert said of her elementary-school-aged twin daughters, Kira and Erika.
For a small minority, however, traveling to Upper Moreland was just for the sake of getting out the vote.
“We came up to support Kathleen Kane,” Chris Guest of Northeast Philadelphia said, jokingly adding, “Maybe, I’ll shake Bill Clinton’s hands.”
Potentially the First Elected Woman and Democrat
Although the public was admitted into the high school’s gymnasium at 6 p.m., where the rally took place, the event didn’t get underway for another hour when Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia took the platform to introduce Kathleen Kane.
In her introduction, Ellis-Marseglia, a Democrat, pointed out that should Kane win her party’s nomination at the April 24 primary over fellow Democratic candidate Patrick Murphy, Kane would have the opportunity to discontinue an over-30-year run of Republicans holding the office of state attorney general.
In the November general election, the Democratic candidate would then face off with the unopposed Republican state attorney general candidate David Reed.
Ellis-Marseglia also pointed out that Kane would be the state’s first elected female attorney general, as the current attorney general, Linda L. Kelly, was nominated to the office.
‘A Prosecutor not a Politician’
“It is not just time for a new generation of leadership,” Kane said at the opening of her speech. “It is time for a new gender of leadership.”
Throughout her speech, Kane, an assistant district attorney in Lackawanna County, spoke heavily on her experience with thousands of criminal cases that she handled as a prosecutor.
After her working-class upbringing and subsequent graduation from Temple University Law, Kane went on to become what she described as, “a defender of the weak and a voice of the voiceless.”
She said her career had focused on protecting children from sexual abuse, protecting family rights; taking on elder abuse cases, as well as corruption cases, the latter of which she made allusions to state government in Harrisburg.
She especially made it a point to bring up the Jerry Sandusky case, saying that reports from the scandal “sickened” her, and encouraged voters to elect someone who has prosecuted hundreds of child-sexual assault cases.
“Those are the issues facing Pennsylvanians today,” Kane said. “That is why we need to elect an independent prosecutor to serve as the chief law-enforcement officer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and not a politician.”
After working extensively in election campaigns for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kane said that she was honored to have her husband endorsing her own candidacy. She also admitted to being a little nervous giving a speech, “in front of one of the great orators in our history,” she said of Clinton.
“And, being a former attorney general himself,” Kane added, “He knows this job, he knows what it takes, and he knows the kind of person who can do the job.”
Why a Rally in Upper Moreland?
Former President Clinton, who was the last to speak, also had the longest speech of the evening.
He revealed several strong ties to Eastern Montgomery County, particularly to Upper Moreland Township.
According to Clinton, his first visit to Upper Moreland was during his presidency, when he awarded the Middle School a National Blue Ribbon Award. He also said that the member of his staff responsible for booking his national and international trips is an Upper Moreland graduate, and proud of it.
Furthermore, Clinton credits an Upper Dublin student, whose mother is an administrator in the school district there, for making it possible to write three books he published after his presidency.
“Actually, I should be paying property taxes at one of these school districts,” Clinton humorously remarked.
In speaking about his endorsement of Kane’s run for state attorney general, Clinton took on a more serious tone.
He said that Kane is an advocate for mental health promotion, as well as noted her participation in an insurance fraud task force.
He said that he admired and related with Kane’s working class home, recalling that he held down several jobs during his law school days.
He also emphasized that the role of an attorney general requires knowledge of the law to make tough decisions. Clinton explained that the office of attorney general is there to help make life better by addressing the crimes that make life worse.
“The numbers are huge for the lives of the people affected in this commonwealth by the choice that is made,” Clinton said.
Citing Kane’s list of the types of various criminal cases she’s prosecuted, Clinton said the choice is simple.
“Who’s more likely to help Pennsylvanians in this job?” Clinton asked. “I think the answer is Kathleen Kane.”
[Editor's Note]: A third and final report on the April 12 Kathleen Kane rally, featuring President Clinton’s visit, will appear on Patch later today. In that report, Patch will explore what it takes to prepare a presidential visit and further reactions from event attendees, including the points of view from local politicians.
If you haven’t had the chance, check out a great photo gallery from the event by clicking here.