Alaina Shearer was driving her four kids to school when she heard on the radio that former President Bill Clinton would be speaking in Delaware Friday morning.
Shearer, who recently moved back to her hometown, quickly changed her plans. She and her children joined the line at the Merchants Building of the Delaware County fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Ave., on a mildly cool day.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Shearer said. “… This is a living, breathing political science lesson that (her children) will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Clinton came onto the stage at about 11:40 a.m. to a crowd of about 500 people, to campaign for his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The former president outlined the differences between his wife’s campaign and that of Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, who was in Columbus Thursday.
“We’re getting down to the end of this election and sometimes I don’t know whether I’m in the real world or an alternate universe,” he said.
Within minutes after Clinton started speaking, a man started shouting.
“Bill Clinton is a rapist,” he said repeatedly before he was escorted from the building. A campaign aide for Hillary cited an Infowars contest to offer $5,000 for people to carry out similar protests.
Delaware police Capt. Adam Moore said the man was from a Columbus suburb and had calmed down once taken outside of the building. The protester complied with law enforcement requests to leave the fairgrounds, Moore said, but provided no statement.
Clinton defended President Barack Obama’s management of the economy and said people will give him better marks ten years from now. He also touched on several topics including the economy, healthcare and energy and criticized the bleak picture painted by the Trump campaign.
“In the end this is a campaign about anger or answers,” Clinton said.
Early voting in Ohio began Wednesday with 1,286 people who voted in Delaware County as of Friday afternoon, according to Karla Herron, director of the county’s Board of Elections.
“It got a little busy,” after the Clinton rally, she said.
Delaware County Democratic Party Chairman Ed Helvey called it a great day for the area.
“[Clinton] fully outlined the differences in this election,” he said.
Trump holds a one-point advantage over Clinton among likely voters in Ohio, 42 percent to 41 percent, while Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is at 9 percent and Jill Stein at 4 percent, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Thursday.
The poll was conducted after the second debate and a tape where Trump bragged about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women during a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone, according to a video obtained by The Washington Post.
“I wouldn’t trust him in the bathroom,” said former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste, who spoke before Clinton at the rally.
The Hillary Clinton campaign hope to snag votes in Delaware County, which traditionally votes Republican. Obama nearly won 38 percent of the vote in the 2012 election.
Shearer, who started a marketing firm in Columbus during the recession, said preventing someone associated with sexual assault from winning the White House is the No. 1 issue for her, followed by the economy and the selection of a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
“This election has affected the economy because of the uncertainty,” she said.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.
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