Clinton addresses economy, student funding


Former president Bill Clinton speaks at the front lawn of UK campus on Monday, Oct. 11, 2010 to endorse Jack Conway. Photo by Britney McIntosh

When former President Bill Clinton spoke at UK Monday, he advised those in attendance to take a page out of UK football’s game plan against Auburn to get the economy back on track.

“They watched the game tape and knew Auburn,” he said. “When something is important, like football or the economy, you have to look at the game tape. We have to study the economy.”

Clinton’s advice came as part of his endorsement for fellow Democrat and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who is running for a Senate seat against Republican Rand Paul.

“They’re playing you, and you know it,” he said. “I say ‘no thank you very much.’”

Clinton said the country enjoyed budget surpluses during his time in office, but George W. Bush squandered what he left behind.

“They repealed arithmetic,” Clinton said.

He said President Barack Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion annual defecit from Bush, but now Republicans have an interest in balancing the budget.

“They never worry about the deficit except when there’s a Democrat in the White House,” Clinton said.

While Clinton spent portions of his speech debasing several of Paul’s “radical ideas” and addressing the problems past administrations have left behind, he geared part of his speech to students. He asked students to recognize the importance of the Nov. 2 election and encouraged them to vote.

“Every college student who doesn’t vote in this election should be ashamed,” Clinton said.  “Every student should have a vested interest in this. This is playing Russian roulette with our future.”

In his speech, Clinton said Paul would like to eliminate Pell Grants, and elimination of this funding would affect many students at UK. Pell Grants are post-secondary education Federal grants targeted toward students from low-income homes.

The Kernel contacted Paul’s office three times Monday afternoon and was told to contact Paul’s press secretary via email. As of 9 p.m. Monday, the  Kernel had not received a response.

Clinton said Conway would also work to lower the price of loans.

“Nobody can ever say ‘I can’t afford to go to college’ again,” Clinton said. “No one will have to drop out because they can’t afford college. We’re going to revolutionize America’s future.”

Affordable college education will boost America in the world’s higher education, Clinton said.

“We will not be ninth in the world any more,” Clinton said. “We will be first.”

To achieve this, Conway will make education a priority, but voters must be responsible to make the inititave work, Clinton said.

“We will help you get an education and balance the budget,” Clinton said. “We all have to take responsibility.”

Clinton’s speech impressed economics sophomore Chris Yared.

“I saw Rand Paul speak last year and he was just in persona when I tried to introduce myself,” Yared said. “After seeing this, I’m actually changing my vote to Conway. I enjoyed hearing Clinton speak. Everything he said was logical.”

Communications senior Michael Neel was just happy to be part of history.

“As a proud Republican, I was extremely excited to be here and witness this historical event on UK’s campus,” he said.