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Bill Clinton stumps for Hillary at Leisure World

Bill Clinton stumps for Hillary at Leisure World
Former President Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife Hillary at Leisure World. (Jeff Barker)

Reflecting the relevance of Maryland this year — and of Leisure World in statewide elections — former President Bill Clinton stopped at the large, Montgomery County retirement community and delivered a 30-minute speech to an overflow crowd on behalf of his wife.

"Look, you live in the highest-voting precinct in the entire state of Maryland," Clinton told a receptive audience of about 300 seniors at a Leisure World auditorium in Silver Spring. "The first thing I want to ask you to do is not to break your record down, but break it up. Advanced voting starts tomorrow."

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The Clintons have personal history with Leisure World.

In the 1990s, Ruth Love, a Leisure World resident, "organized the very first Hillary fan club in America" Clinton said. "This is the first time I've had the chance to be here since Ruth Love passed away."

Love and her husband were invited to the White House during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Leisure World, which has 8,500 residents, is a regular stop for statewide candidates because its densely population and has a voter turnout that usually far exceeds other parts of the state. The community was given a third precinct in 2014.

"Leisure World is a powerhouse," former state secretary of aging Gloria Lawlah told the audience before Clinton spoke.

"It's amazing," agreed state Del. Maricé Morales, a Democrat who represents the area. "We have a whole bus structure and you can actually vote right in Leisure World."

Morales said Bernie Sanders had attracted the intereest of millenials in Montgomery, the state's most populous county.

"You do have millenials kind of feeling the Bern," he said. "But I am a millenial as well, and I am actually with [Hillary Clinton]. I believe she is most qualified candidate," Morales said.

Bill Clinton wore a dark blue suit and sported a campaign button with a multi-colored "H" on his lapel.

"I agree she's the best prepared but the real reason you should be for her is she is the best change-maker," Clinton said. He spoke of his wife's plans to help alleviate college debt, make child care more affordable and help close the gender wage gap.

"I met her 45 years ago last month," he said. "She is the best change maker I've ever known."

Clinton did not mention any other candidates in his speech but called it "kind of a crazy election" and said "I think we [Democrats] can win the Senate back this year."

Appearing with him were several elected Democrats, including U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.

Clinton remained for 30 minutes after his speech to shake hands and pose for pictures.

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"I told him I'm an independent but that he almost changed my mind," said Leisure World resident Jessie Fitzpatrick.

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