Former President Bill Clinton, stumping for gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter in Nashville, said encouraging voters to move beyond the country’s current state of anger, apathy and amnesia is the key to victory in November.
On his third campaign stop of the day in three states, Clinton headlined a rally for the McWherter scion on a drizzly evening in downtown's Hall of Fame Park.
McWherter, Clinton said, would be the next governor if the candidate’s supporters could convince other voters to move on and ask which party will lower the unemployment rate and increase investing from banks.
He said voters must ask, "What are we going to do now and who is most likely to do it?"
Clinton called the Republicans “ideologues [who are] impervious to evidence.”
“They only care about the budget when we’re in, and then they want to get rid of education and privatize Social Security and Medicare — this is their word not mine — and give people in my income group another tax cut,” Clinton said.
Before introducing Clinton, McWherter aligned himself with his father, former Gov. Ned McWherter, Clinton and Gov. Phil Bredesen as what he called fiscally responsible Democrats who each inherited “fiscal messes.”
“I know I’m in a tough race, and I know I need your help to be victorious,” McWherter said, adding that his opponent Bill Haslam had spent “millions of dollars covering up our airwaves, and yet he doesn’t tell you anything about his record as [Knoxville] mayor or tell you about the direction he wants to see Tennessee move in.”
McWherter accused Haslam of being out of touch with Tennessee voters and the Haslam family company, Pilot Oil Corp., of price-gouging customers and shirking responsibility.
Of McWherter’s supporters in the crowd, Mike W. Lane and his son, Mike A. Lane, traveled four-and-a-half hours from Carter County in northeast Tennessee to support McWherter and listen to Clinton speak.
Holding a sign reading “Carter Co. loves Bill and Mike,” the elder Lane said of the candidate, “He’s qualified for the job, and he’s what our state needs right now.”
Lane pointed to McWherter’s “excellent adviser” at his disposal in his father, the former governor, as the reason the Democrat is more appealing to him than Haslam.
For J.D. Moore of Old Hickory, it’s strictly a party issue in an election he said looked “grim” for Democrats.
“I don’t have a problem with Bill Haslam. I just can’t do anything Republican,” he said.