Bill Clinton rallies voters in Aliquippa for Hillary Clinton |
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Tom Fontaine
Bill Clinton greets supporters outside the Franklin Center in Aliquippa after a rally, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016.

Bill Clinton brought a presidential tone to a rally Friday morning in Aliquippa.

As the nation’s 42nd president told about 200 supporters in the city’s Franklin Center how Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used illegally imported steel in some of his buildings, someone shouted, “Lock him up.”

The phrase “Lock her up,” referring to Clinton’s wife and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, has become a signature chant at Trump’s campaign rallies.

“Don’t do that. That’s the kind of stuff they say,” Bill Clinton replied as he looked in the direction of the supporter.

“I don’t want you to lock him up. I want you to lock him out of the White House,” Clinton said to loud cheers.

At another point, Bill Clinton — who appeared in Aliquippa before news broke that the FBI is investigating new emails related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State — urged his wife’s supporters to “not respond in kind … if (Trump’s supporters) say something mean to you” in the closing days of the heated campaign.

“I just want you to smile and say, ‘That’s the difference in my campaign and yours. We actually care about you. We want you to be part of our America.”

Pennsylvania GOP spokeswoman Megan Sweeney said that President Clinton “lost the right to lecture anybody how our government should work when he joined his wife in using the Clinton Foundation to enrich themselves.”

Sweeney added: “Hillary Clinton used her government, her foundation and her husband to engage in shady political activities that put our country at risk. Voters deserve better than a president who’s obviously comfortable with pay-to-play activities at the expense of our safety.”

Bill Clinton acknowledged during his 37-minute speech that there has been “so much poison” in the race.

“A lot of people are so mad they can’t think,” he said, noting that his wife “believes answers are better than anger and empowering people to control their own future is better than feeding their resentment,” the latter of which he accused Trump of doing.

“It’s just not true that all is lost. We just have to make sure that everyone is included,” Bill Clinton said.

The former president painted stark policy differences between his wife and Trump. He said Hillary Clinton wants to build upon recent economic successes, including 79 consecutive months of job growth, and build the economy “from the middle out and the bottom up,” while Trump wants to “go back to the past” of so-called trickle-down economic policies that cut taxes on the rich as a means to spur them to invest more in the economy.

“It just doesn’t work,” Bill Clinton said, noting that an independent analysis of the candidates’ economic policy proposals by former GOP candidate John McCain’s economic adviser suggests that Hillary Clinton’s plan would create 10.5 million jobs in four years while Trump’s would cost 3.5 million jobs.

Aliquippa Mayor Dwan Walker presented Bill Clinton with a city flag after introducing the former president in spirited fashion.

Although Aliquippa has been a financially distressed city since the collapse of local steel manufacturing, Walker took exception to Trump’s portrayal of life in inner cities, noting that he and other college-educated officials are working to turn the city around.

“We stayed here for a reason. You can’t fix the world if you can’t fix where you rest your head at,” Walker said.

Bill Clinton dazzled the crowd, some of whom, like Jane Mills, 66, of Aliquippa, said they remember when President John F. Kennedy visited the city in the early 1960s. “I love President Clinton,” Mills said. When asked about the prospect of his wife becoming president, Mills said, “I think that’s better than the best thing I ever heard.”

Aliquippa resident Terry Swanson, 56, added : “People have a special affection for Bill Clinton here. People remember how good it was when he was president. They hold him in high regard. They hold (Hillary Clinton) in high regard, too, but I don’t think as high as him. He’s beloved.”

The election is Nov. 8.

Trump appeared last Friday in Johnstown. Since then he has been campaigning at events in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

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