'The Best Change Maker': Bill Clinton Addresses Evanston Crowd at Hillary for Illinois Event | NBC Chicago
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'The Best Change Maker': Bill Clinton Addresses Evanston Crowd at Hillary for Illinois Event

The former president touched on a variety pressing issues during an Evanston stump speech supporting his wife's candidacy for president

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    With Illinois’ Democratic Presidential primary a week away, President Bill Clinton addressed a sizable crowd Tuesday at an Evanston synagogue in an effort to get-out-the-vote for, his wife, Hillary Clinton’s campaign. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Tuesday, March 8, 2016)

    With Illinois’ Democratic Presidential primary a week away, former President Bill Clinton addressed a sizable crowd Tuesday at an Evanston synagogue in an effort to get-out-the-vote for wife Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

    Clinton addressed a variety of issues in his speech, including the debate over the Supreme Court vacancy left by recently-deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.

    “The president absolutely should make this appointment to the United States Supreme Court,” he said.

    Republican lawmakers, led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, have pledged to stonewall President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court appointment.

    Clinton also spoke out against "demonizing Muslims" and called for inclusiveness and changes in the country’s immigration policy. Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has called for a cessation to Muslim immigration to the country.

    “We need to quit scaring the living daylights out of dreamers and their parents and pass immigration reform,” he said.

    In a personal moment during the appearance, Clinton recalled the first time he met his wife, Hillary, 45 years ago this month.

    "I was just blown away," Clinton said. "I had never seen anybody who seemed to have a better sense of where we were at the time. What we were trying to do and how to get stuff done."

    Clinton lauded his wife’s bipartisan experience in Washington. Prior to being appointed Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton served in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2009.

    “She didn’t do anything in Washington that didn’t have some Republican support,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

    He called his wife, “the best change maker I have ever known.”

    The former president championed Hillary Clinton's plan for higher education over Sanders' plan to grant free tuition to all students at public colleges and universities, saying Hillary's idea is better "for one simple reason."

    "If all we do is subsidize tuition, it will just lead to an inflation in tuition costs," he said. 

    Clinton also praised his spouse's plan to improve Obamacare, but did not reference Sanders' plan to create a universal system of Medicare during his speech.

    A recently released NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Hillary Clinton holds a nine-point national lead over Sanders. She received the support of 53 percent of Democratic voters, while the Vermont senator had 44, according to the poll. 

    Clinton and Sanders will face off in Illinois’ March 15 Democratic presidential primary.