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Columbia Missourian

Chelsea Clinton speaks at MU on behalf of her mother

January 28, 2008 | 9:10 p.m. CST
Chelsea Clinton heads toward the stage set up for her meeting with MU students in Memorial Union building on Monday morning.

COLUMBIA — Chelsea Clinton spoke at a packed student lounge Monday morning at MU’s Memorial Union about her mother’s bid for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Chelsea Clinton, 27, answered questions about Hillary Clinton’s stance on a variety of issues with just more than a week before Missouri’s Feb. 5 primaries.


Democratic candidate John Edwards will hold a campaign event at noon Tuesday at the Fraternal Order of the Eagle Banquet Hall, 1411 Missouri Blvd., in Jefferson City. Republican candidate Mike Huckabee has canceled a news conference with legislative supporters Wednesday because of a scheduling conflict.

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When asked about her mother’s potential to be elected, Chelsea Clinton said voters should look at her record.

“She’s the only person running in the Democratic race who’s actually been re-elected to the Senate,” she said.

Although some attendees were supporters of Hillary Clinton, many arrived still unsure of who they will vote for. Some even said they were leaning toward another candidate.

“It’s still pretty up in the air,” said Fran Reynolds, an MU instructor in English as a Second Language. “I’m hoping to get clarification to help me make a decision.”

The following were some of the issues Chelsea Clinton touched on:

n Iraq exit plan: Chelsea Clinton said that her mother would end the war immediately upon assuming office if it could be done safely and securely. However, Chelsea Clinton continued, Hillary Clinton would formulate a plan within her first 60 days in office and begin pulling troops out at the rate of one to two combat brigades per month.

n Immigration: Chelsea Clinton said Hillary Clinton wants undocumented workers to “come out of the shadows.” She explained a plan to allow undocumented immigrants to become citizens by paying a fine and paying back taxes as a percentage of their income over a period of time. Clinton also said that her mother encourages people to learn English, though she does not support mandating English as the national language.

n School funding: Chelsea Clinton said her mother would “end the unfunded mandate” of No Child Left Behind and liberate teachers to teach children as individuals instead of teaching toward a test.

n Health care: Clinton’s Congressional Health Plan would work like auto insurance: Everyone would have to have it if they live in the United States. It has 250 options and those who apply wouldn’t be turned away for a pre-existing condition. The costs would depend on one’s income, and those who couldn’t afford it would be eligible for Medicaid, Chelsea Clinton said.

n College tuition costs: Chelsea Clinton said that college and graduate school affordability are priorities for Hillary Clinton. She mentioned that her mother paid 2 percent interest on her own law school loan. This low interest rate allowed Hillary Clinton to work for the Children’s Defense Fund instead of being forced to find a more lucrative job at a law firm to pay back her loans. She wishes to bring rates down for today’s youth.

n Gay rights: Chelsea Clinton said that Hillary Clinton wants to extend benefits to the gay partners of the 9 million federal employees of the United States. Chelsea Clinton also took the opportunity to broaden the scope of the conversation to include the rights of those with disabilities, minorities and women.

Chelsea Clinton has been speaking to college students across the country this month. Earlier, she gave similar talks at the University of Utah, Arkansas State University and Winthrop University in South Carolina.

Nick Guillory, a 21-year-old journalism student, asked Clinton about college tuition and said he still remains undecided.

“It was a pretty generic answer but the only way we can judge it is to see what the person elected will do when they’re in office,” he said.

Randy Humbird, a 23-year-old MU student who volunteers for Clinton’s campaign, is hopeful students will turn out to vote.

“We’ve been complacent for a long time, but I think we’re getting less complacent now and getting more involved,” he said.

Missourian Greg Wasserman, Rose Raymond, Allison Bennett, Rachel Heaton and Carolina Escalera contributed to this report.