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Clinton Asks Western Massachusetts Voters For Support On Super Tuesday


        Hillary Clinton barnstormed into western Massachusetts today for a get-out-the-vote rally on the eve of the Massachusetts Democratic presidential primary on Super Tuesday.

Clinton began the 24-hour countdown to the polls and caucus sites opening in more than a dozen states with a Monday morning address to a crowd of about 400 people packed into the community room at the Museum of Springfield History, where she asked voters in western Massachusetts to support her tomorrow.

" All of you know here in Springfield you are a city on the way back up and I am going to be a president and partner to help you keep going as far as you can," she told the cheering crowd.

Wins tomorrow in Massachusetts and several other big states could set Clinton on an almost unstoppable track toward the Democratic nomination and she said she’ll be ready to turn her full attention to whoever the Republicans nominate.

"One advantage I have is they have been after me for 25 years and I am still standing," Clinton said.

Massachusetts has historically been friendly political territory for Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Polls in recent days have her with a single-digit lead over Senator Bernie Sanders of neighboring Vermont.

" Here's what I am asking you to do.  Tomorrow is Super Tuesday and Massachusetts is right in the middle of it. I need your help.  I need your help to go vote tomorrow and bring people to vote with you," she told the crowd.

Clinton did not aggressively attack Sanders Monday.  She noted his opposition to gun control legislation in the Senate — an issue that has been raised often in recent days by Clinton campaign surrogates in western Massachusetts.   She also highlighted their differences on healthcare and college affordability issues.

Clinton saved most of her fire for the Republicans, saying they are “selling the same old snake oil” on the economy, and faulting their positions on everything from climate change to raising the minimum wage to support for Planned Parenthood.  She said the “name-calling and finger-pointing” in the Republican nomination contest was hurtful to the nation.

" I don't think America has ever stopped being great. What we need to do now is make America whole," she said.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, who endorsed Clinton over the weekend, introduced her at the rally.  He praised Clinton for her compassion.

" It is the first time I have had the honor and privilege of meeting her. She is very very personable and genuine.  You can see it in her eyes that she really cares," said Sarno.

Congressman Richard Neal, who stood on stage with Clinton for her 30-minute speech, said she has a lot of momentum going into Super Tuesday because of her huge win Saturday in South Carolina. He predicted she would do “very well” Tuesday.

People came from near and far to hear Clinton speak. Kim Thibault drove more than 50 miles from Medway. She said she supports Clinton’s calls for tougher gun control.

" I am sick of seeing people get killed by mass murderers," she said.

Douglas Johnson lives just down the street from the history museum. He said he wanted to see Clinton in person and believes her experience makes her the best candidate.

" I think she has the best chance of getting a lot of Democrats elected to the House and Senate to enable her to do the things she wants to do," Johnson said.

Sheila McElwaine of Springfield came to the rally for a chance to shake hands with the woman who could make history in November.

" I'm 75-years-old and I thought I would never live to see a woman President and this woman has a real crack at it, so I gotta do my share and show up," she said.

Clinton also spoke at a rally in Boston Monday. The Sanders campaign scheduled a rally Monday in Milton.    

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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