WELLESLEY, Mass. – Hillary Clinton launched a nationwide network of student supporters Thursday at her all-girls alma mater in Massachusetts, playing proudly to the enthusiastic crowd as she talked about how Wellesley College prepared her "to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics."
The Democratic frontrunner kept the large crowd waiting for nearly an hour before she took the stage, but nobody seemed to mind. The students erupted when she took the stage, leading Clinton to quip, "Now I know how we'll solve the energy crisis!"
Clinton stayed on message as she launched the Students for Hillary effort, using her floor time to celebrate student activism and talk up Wellesley. She did not discuss her debate performance two nights ago, when her Democratic opponents took jabs at her for giving an unclear answer regarding her position on a New York state plan to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses.
Clinton talked instead about how much has changed since her days on campus when boys were only allowed in dorm rooms on Sunday afternoons and they had to observe the "two foot" rule — meaning that two of the four feet in the room had to be on the floor at all times. Clinton joked that she got nostalgic for the rule when her daughter Chelsea was at school.
Then she brought the focus back to the Bush administration, saying when she was student government president at Wellesley, she protested an unjust war in Vietnam and an untrustworthy government.
"Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it?" she asked.
That analogy drew another historical comparison from Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, who likened Clinton's platform of ending the Iraq war to that of Eugene McCarthy's platform of ending the war in Vietnam.
"I believe the first priority of any candidate for president should be to keep this country safe," he said. "When Senator Clinton and other candidates make a campaign promise of conceding defeat in Iraq, when we are at last making progress there, and ignore all the terrible consequences defeat would entail, they are making America's security subordinate to their ambitions."