Clinton visits Great Hall at Heinz Field


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned at Heinz Field on Friday. Stephen Caruso | Senior Staff Photographer

By Amina Doghri / Staff Writer

Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famers Mel Blount and Franco Harris showed support for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the Great Hall at Heinz Field on Friday.

With only four more days until the election, more than 2,500 people came to watch Clinton speak before heading to the polls on Tuesday. Even with some polls indicating that Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are currently neck and neck, some members of the crowd didn’t seem worried. One of those confident voices was Blount, the Steelers’ former defensive cornerback.

“I think she will do well [in the election],” Blount said. “I am 100 percent in her camp.”

Former Steelers offensive running back, Franco Harris, agreed with Blount, and said Clinton is the best candidate on the ballot.

“She has a lot of experience, but she is always learning and that experience and learning from experience will make her a good president,” Harris said.

Clinton came to Pittsburgh to talk about her economic vision, including aid to raise the national minimum wage, higher education affordability and equal pay of women for equal work. She contrasted this with Trump’s vision for an American economy which she said will only work for people like him –– the one percent.

“He wants an economy that works for him,” Clinton said. “If it turns out he’s as rich as he claims, [Trump’s economic vision] would be trickle down economics on steroids.”

Several high profile speakers joined Clinton, including Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto, United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate for Pennsylvania Katie McGinty to voice their support for Clinton and criticize Trump for his corrupt business history.

Andrew Tesoro, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate and an architect for Tesoro Architects, also spoke to the crowd. He said Trump conned him from 2004 to 2006.

A small business owner, Tesoro called out Trump in an August 2016 video saying Trump hired him to design a clubhouse at one of Trump’s golfcourses. However, when the time came to pay the bill, Trump only paid a fraction of the cost, Tesoro said.

According to Tesoro, Trump would compliment about how what a great architect Tesoro was and that he would make Tesoro famous. Tesoro said these were all false claims and that he is still paying for the promises that Trump made through credit lines and personal savings.

“[The experience] was extremely unfortunate and [financially] painful,” Tesoro said. “I didn’t sue because the relationship was based on assurances and promises from Trump.”

Mark Cuban, a Pittsburgh native and self-made billionaire and investor, spoke before Clinton. On stage, Cuban offered his own solution to those who are undecided by discussing his self-defining acronym T.R.U.S.T.: Talk, Rip off, Us, Science and Trust.

Harris also joined Cuban’s criticism of Trump’s character throughout the election, especially Trump’s egotistical prodding from his voters.

“What really bothers me about Trump is when he said that there should not ever have been an election: just make him president. And [after he said that] his followers cheered. And that to me is sickening that people cheered for that statement,” Harris said.

With the crowd’s full attention, Cuban introduced Clinton.  

“Are you ready to vote, Pittsburgh?” Clinton asked the crowd, which was followed by a loud cheer of approval.

Clinton began her speech by supporting McGinty’s run for Senate, telling the crowd that McGinty has “never been afraid to step up to Donald Trump.” 

This wasn’t the only time Clinton rebutted a Republican remark. Clinton addressed Trump’s remarks the entire rally where even at one point she asked the crowd, “Did any of you see any of the [presidential] debates?” The crowd cheered “Yes.”

“Well I spent four and half hours standing next to Donald Trump, proving conclusively I have the stamina to be the next President of the United States,” Clinton said.

On a somber note, Clinton dialed down her tone and told the crowd that this election was bigger than herself.

“We will get change. Change is inevitable,” Clinton said. “The question is, what kind of change? Are we gonna build a stronger, better America or fear each other? Think about the kind of country we want.”

For those who are still on the fence about who they are going to vote for, Clinton urged the crowd to “stage an intervention” for the undecided voters. If the undecided voters are indecisive because they are angry or frustrated, Clinton told the crowd to remind them that “anger is not a plan.”

This indecisiveness is something that Alex Davis,18, a first year business management major at Duquesne University, has been struggling with throughout the election cycle. Davis came to the rally to collect and sell autographs from the speakers.

“I voted for John Kasich in the primaries,” Davis said. I’m undecided but [this election is] history. I’ve been to all the [Democratic and Republican campaign] rallies.”

However, this indecisiveness, Harris says should drive people “to look at the character of [Clinton].”

“Our country is not a business,” Harris said. “Our country is about people and that is what [the election is]about.  So when Trump tries to say ‘I’m a businessman and I can run it that way;’ that doesn’t happen.”

Harris said the election is about simplifying politics down to the people and their connection to the candidate.

“We are not a business and it’s all about people and that’s why it’s about Hillary and [she] makes sure [to] put people first and that’s what people need to know,” Harris said.

As Clinton made her ending remarks, she reminded the crowd of the historical impact this election will have on the country.

“This is one of those make or break moments. I vote for a stronger, better, fairer America,” Clinton said. “Love trumps hate.”

Leave a comment.