South Tahoe couple among hundreds at Minden Clinton rally (w/video)
If there had been a way for them to hang from the rafters of Minden’s CVIC Hall, people would have done so to see former President Bill Clinton speak on Sunday night.
Seats were set up for 400, but almost that many people stood, sat on the CVIC stage and lined the balcony and stairs of the nearly 100-year-old hall to catch a glimpse of the President who was one hour late.
Fire officials turned away about 20 people because of the crowd. As some people left, others were admitted to take a quick picture of the president.
Rosemary and Jeff Babbitt drove from South Lake Tahoe to hear Clinton speak on his wife’s behalf.
“I loved it,” said Rosemary Babbit, a supporter of Hillary Clinton. “He was very articulate and covered a lot of things I was looking for.”
Her husband remained undecided, but agreed the opportunity to hear the president “was a once in a lifetime event.”
“The Clintons didn’t write off the smaller communities,” he said.
Clinton finally left at 10:15 p.m. in the chilly Minden fog after he spoke with individual audience members, shook hands and posed for dozens of pictures made with digital cameras and cellphones.
In all, he spent 2-1/2 hours in Minden, the first time anyone could remember a president gracing the CVIC Hall.
Audience members ranged from babies in arms to senior citizens.
Prior to President Clinton’s arrival, a bomb-sniffing dog searched the building.
Minden Town Board member Bob Hadfield said he was pleased the Clinton campaign selected the CVIC Hall for the speech.
According to numbers posted from other venues Sunday, the Minden speech outdrew earlier appearances in Reno and Fallon.
“I am very excited a person of such stature would come visit the CVIC Hall,” Hadfield said, “I really like it that I see a lot of young kids here to see a former president of the United States. Not many people get this close to a past president.”
Hadfield said in heavily Republican Douglas County, voter registration didn’t seem to make a difference in the turnout.
“That’s wonderful,” he said.
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