Former President Bill Clinton was a crowd-stopper as he marched in Detroit’s Labor Day Parade on behalf of his wife’s presidential campaign. The parade was often delayed as Clinton was stopped for selfies.
He would stop to chat, show off a Detroit-made Shinola watch he was sporting on his wrist, and pose with clusters of fans as aides tried to keep the president’s group on the move.
Union carpenter Tim Zamecki got in a few words with the former president, and was clearly emotional about it.
“I told him the best years of my life as a carpenter was when he was in office,” he said.
“And he said that there’s $100 million worth of infrastructure coming back to save Michigan,” continued Zamecki, “and there’s going to be thousands of union jobs.”
Clinton didn’t speak at the parade, but he addressed a crowd of a couple hundred UAW members at the union’s Solidarity House on the Detroit River. He stood in the bed of a GMC pickup.
He reminded union members of the balanced federal budget, booming economy, income improvement, and jobs-creating spree that occurred while he was president in the 1990s, and said, under the right conditions, the nation could be on the cusp of another surge.
“Labor can be well-paid,” said Clinton. “We can still compete because now, as all of you know, manufacturing depends, in its cost, more on the cost of power, transportation, and material than labor. We can make everything in America!”
Clinton also said Republican nominee Donald Trump is anti-labor and was opposed to the bailout that rescued the auto industry. (Trump has actually expressed a range of opinions on the rescue, including that it could have been accomplished with or without government help.)
Clinton’s Labor Day visit came two days after Trump stopped by an African-American church in Detroit.
He was asked if he was concerned about Trump’s efforts to reach out to African-American and blue-collar voters. He said “no.”
“If we have to do something else to counter it, you’re assuming the entire African American community is suffering from amnesia after what Hillary did for Flint, the work I did with Detroit.”
Hillary Clinton was the first presidential candidate to visit Flint to address the city’s drinking water crisis in February. Trump says he also plans to go to to Flint before the election season is over, but his campaign has not said if or when that visit might happen.
There was no evidence of protesters like the ones that greeted Trump on his visits to Detroit. But Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel released this statement:
“The Clinton Campaign is proving that Michigan is in play this election. Bill Clinton’s campaign trip is a desperate effort to rebuild trust in Hillary. However, he can’t hide the fact that her plans will fail to rebuild our national economy the same way President Obama’s are failing now. Her campaign can offer no solutions, only continued pandering. She has proven time and time again that she isn’t prepared or fit to serve as Commander-in-Chief, and her husband’s stop does nothing to change that.”