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Local Clinton organizer speaks to Dems
Independent candidate Don Sproles makes Commission 5-C platform known

With a little prodding from a Knox County politician, former President Bill Clinton has laid out key challenges for the United States and world in the 21st Century.

And his wife, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), is the person best suited to lead America through those challenges as president beginning in January 2009.

That was the basic message of Bill Owen, Whip of the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign Tennessee Steering Committee and former Tennessee state senator. Owen was featured speaker addressing 5th District Democrats gathered at Cedar Bluff Branch Library Tuesday evening, Dec. 18.

Saying he received a personal reply from Bill Clinton to a question he posed the former president concerning major problems the world is facing in the 21st century, Owen said, “It’s a hand-written note, two sides of a card, from Bill Clinton saying, ‘I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. But the three great challenges of the 21st Century … include income inequality, climate change and identity conflicts [among rival cultures, religions and nations],’ and he went on to elaborate how we address some of these issues.

“I think Hillary Clinton is the person who can best deal with these issues,” Owens added. “That’s why I’m supporting Hillary Clinton, that’s why I think she is the best person at this particular time to be President of the United States. She has the experience, she has the knowledge, she has the desire, she has the


“She has fought these battles, and she knows how to win the battles, and she knows what to do when she wins.”

One audience member spoke up and said Hillary Clinton has “proven she can win, she went into New York, and they said, ‘you’re not a true New Yorker,’ and she beat every one of them. And ole [Rudolph] Giuliani [former New York City mayor and current Republican presidential candidate], wouldn’t run against her ’cause he knew what was going to


About Owen’s candidate, “I’ve known Hillary Clinton since 1991, I met her in Dover, N.H., when she was campaigning for her husband, Bill, who was at that time governor of Arkansas,” he said. “I was up there going house-to-house, like I’ve done all my life, in the snows of New Hampshire, handing out videos of Bill Clinton talking about the economy.”

Though Hillary Clinton leads in most national polls among Democratic candidates, Owen said, “You can’t always go by what these polls say. You have to go by what people do, and it’s the hard work that Democrats like each of you do, and get out and work and put up signs and make telephone calls and talk to your neighbors and do the things that it takes to get elected.”

Owen painted a picture of Republican bumbling dating back to President Ronald Reagan’s administration (1981-1989).

Reminding the audience of the “huge stock market crash” of 1987, Owen added, “Shortly thereafter we into a recession. And then we started climbing out of that recession, and the savings and loan debacle hit, and then we went back into a


Owen, also a member of the Democratic National Commit-tee, extended the recession recollection into President George H.W. Bush’s administration (1989-93) and said Bush “was totally disconnected from real people’s problems.”

Owen recalled Bush not knowing how a supermarket scanner worked, “and he was trying to relate to the everyday person, this multi-, multi-millionaire family.”

Owen then recalled how George H.W. Bush’s great-great uncle started a company in the Middle East in the 1920s called “Dresser Industries, to be in the oil business. If you follow the matriculation, according to [author] Kevin Phillips … where it has bought and sold and bought and sold and bought and sold different companies. Guess what the name of that company is now?

“Halliburton — what a


Moving on to current President George W. Bush, “This president that we have right now is unelected, took office by virtue of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Owen said.

Concerning the controversial Florida results ultimately deciding the 2000 presidential election, Owen said about 15,000 Al Gore votes were thrown out because Gore’s name was unnecessarily hand-written below the punched ballot marked for Gore, labeling it an “over-vote.” Owen said Bush had only about 6,000 such votes thrown out.

“If the Supreme Court of Florida, if their ruling to count all of the votes, had been left to stand by the Supreme Court of the United States, Al Gore would be president of the United States today, assuming he would have been reelected in 2004,” Owen added.


Don Sproles, Independent candidate for Knox County Commission (5-C), briefly addressed 5th District Democrats.

Sproles cited three reasons for his candidacy: “I’m comfortable as an Independent; secondly, I believe local elections should be non-partisan, like the City [of Knoxville] is. Knox County One Question recommends that, and I agree with it, and I’ll try to get that put into place if we can.

“And then thirdly, what some might think is the major party in this district has a lot of faction going on right now, and I don’t want to be beholden to either faction,” Sproles added. “I don’t want people to say, ‘Well, Sproles is a [County Mayor Michael] Ragsdale man’ or a “Sheriff’s man.’ I’m not, I’m Don Sproles.”

Without a Democratic candidate running for the 5-C position, Sproles said, “I would love to have all the folks in the Democratic Party, I’d love to have your support. I would love to have some Republican support, too, if I’m going to get elected in seat 5-C.”


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