John Hollenhorst Reporting A former president comes to Utah, campaigning for his wife, hoping to help her become the next president of the United States.
It was a double-barreled fundraising visit by former president Bill Clinton. He spoke at a high-priced private event in Park City. At the University of Utah he spoke to a lower-priced but very enthusiastic crowd of Hillary Clinton supporters.
Mr. Clinton turned on all of his famous charm and political skills Sunday, and he revved up a crowd that's longing for a Democratic revival in Utah. His wife Hillary needs the help; even among Utah Democrats, polls show her in third place behind Edwards and Obama.
Clinton fans lined up by the hundreds hours ahead of time.
Cathy Hill said, "I'm a real fan of Bill Clinton. I wish he were still the president."
Sharon Jameson said, "I'm so glad to see all these people in Utah that are Democrats."
There was at least one non-Democrat there, though. Mike Winder said, "I'm a Republican, but I'm an American first. And here's a unique opportunity to hear the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton."
Once inside, those in attendance picked up Hillary Clinton bumper stickers and buttons and listened to speeches from lower-ranking Democrats.
The ex-President arrived more than an hour late, but still to thunderous applause. He claimed to be out of practice at campaign speeches. "I'm sort of like an old horse in the stable, and they trot me out to see if I can run a few laps," he said.
At times, he sounded every bit the husband who just celebrated his 32nd anniversary. "I honestly believe that in my 40 years of voting, Hillary is the best qualified, best-suited non-incumbent I've ever had the chance to support for President of the United States, ever."
At other times he sounded like that old race horse, ready to go again against Republicans. "They used to denigrate me as a liberal. They increased spending at more than twice the rate I did. I was the conservative on fiscal matters compared to them."
But mainly he promised Hillary Clinton would undo seven years of damage. "We have alienated the world because of Iraq, because of walking away from climate change, walking away from nuclear non-proliferation, walking away from international criminal courts, walking away for the first time ever from the Geneva conventions on torture and the rule of law. We walked away from all of that."
He promised a return to diplomacy and international cooperation.
Gerry Esplin said, "This is the first time in a long time that I started feeling good about America."
Terri Hrechkosy said, "Loved it! So glad I came. Best $50 I ever spent. Would have spent twice as much."
They paid a lot more in Park City: It was $500 for a private fundraiser and $2,300 for a VIP reception. The rock-star of Democrats pulled in more than $300,000 for his wife's campaign, a pretty good day for a Democrat in a very red state. Mitt Romney has pulled in more than $5 million so far.