Chelsea Clinton visited Pitt to support Hillary, encourage voting


Chelsea Clinton campaigned for her mother in the O'Hara Student Center Friday afternoon. Jeff Ahearn | Senior Staff Photographer

By Rachel Glasser / Staff Writer

After she walked into the O’Hara ballroom, backdropped by her mother’s campaign theme, “Fight Song,” Chelsea Clinton spoke about Donald Trump’s campaign, Hillary Clinton’s vision for the country and the importance of voting.

Approximately 100 people attended Clinton’s speech — one of two scheduled campaign events on Friday in the Pittsburgh area — held in the O’Hara Student Center Ballroom. Several speakers preceded Clinton, including Congressman Mike Doyle, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pitt student Ben Brownfield, a junior who has worked to register voters.

The speakers, including Clinton, touched briefly on issues that ranged from student debt and the affordability of college to gun control, the environment and paid family and medical leave.

Clinton stood eye-to-eye with the audience, rather than on the ballroom stage, and spoke freely for fewer than 10 minutes, explaining to the audience why this presidential election is the most consequential in her lifetime.

“This election is so personal to me,” Clinton said. “More because I now have children whose future will be affected by whomever we elect to succeed President Obama, even more than my mom running.”

Clinton said she never thought she would see in her lifetime an effort to normalize hate speech like she has seen from Donald Trump and the Republican Party. She said the misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant rhetoric and homophobia is unacceptable.

“None of that has a place in our country,” Clinton said. “And we cannot allow it to go unchecked.”

Trump has lost ground in the most recent polls after the Washington Post released a recording of Trump bragging about his ability to take advantage of women because of his celebrity status. According to the latest New York Times election model based on national and state polls, Clinton has a 91 percent chance of winning the election.

Sami Melachuri, a junior neuroscience major at Pitt, said the most recent recordings should reveal Trump’s true character to others.

“I really hope that Republicans or Independents can see that these recordings are what Trump is, and [they] can make an informed decision,” Melachuri said. “Because it’s staring them in the face right now.”

After speaking for a short time about Trump, her mother and her mother’s vision for the country — such as becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century — Clinton gave the audience an opportunity with the microphone.

Some questions directed toward Chelsea during the latter half of the event were lighthearted, such as one asked by 8-year-old Ayan Amin about whether she plans to get a bunny — she doesn’t. Other questions included whether she plans to run for public office — for right now, she doesn’t plan to — and what Bill Clinton’s role would be in the White House should Secretary Clinton be elected.

Clinton said her mother would look to former president Bill Clinton for two things: advice on areas of the world where he did a lot of work as president, and help on getting incomes to rise along with job creation.

Patricia Faloon, 87, of Beechview, said she was motivated to attend the event by a “total fear of Donald Trump.” She makes phones calls for the Clinton campaign for about three hours per week.

During the Q&A session, Faloon said the direction of our country isn’t just about the presidential election.

“[The Senate hasn’t] allowed Obama to do almost anything” Faloon said. “I hope the young people realize we got to get that Senate on our side.”

Because voter registration is now closed, Clinton said the focus for this election has shifted to ensuring people know where to vote on Nov. 8 and that they exercise that right.

She said she hopes people will do whatever it takes –– “encourage, cajole, charm [or] guilt-trip” –– to ensure that their friends vote Nov. 8.

“You don’t want to wake up on Nov. 9 with regrets,” Clinton said.

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