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Hillary Clinton tries to rally state support


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told hundreds of supporters Saturday that she’s not sure that she can win over politically conservative Oklahoma in the 2008 election.

“I don’t know whether we can carry Oklahoma or not, but we’re going to give it a try,” she said at a fundraiser at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame housed in the old Tulsa Union Depot.

“After today, I’m on the way,” she said.

Clinton praised a program launched this year by Tulsa Community College that gives high school graduates in Tulsa County free tuition if they enroll directly after high school graduation. Clinton said she would like to expand the concept nationally.

“When it comes to education, I want to make college affordable,” she said. “But I want parents to give their children the right values and discipline so the children will do well in school.”

Clinton, whose flight from Houston was more than an hour late, spoke for about 30 minutes but hung around afterward to sign autographs and talk with people. She then rushed off to fly to Los Angeles for another fundraiser.

“I’m going to fight for a health-care system that provides total quality access,” she said. “I’ll work for a new energy plan that tries to accelerate home-grown energy and look for ways to take the carbon out of fossil fuels.”

More Americans should become energy conscious, just like her late father was, who turned the lights off when people left a room and turned the heat off at nights even during cold Chicago winters, she said.

“I’m acting more and more like him all the time,” Clinton said.

Clinton said she is thrilled to be running as a woman for president.

“But I’m not running because I’m a woman,” she said. “I’m running because I think I’m the better qualified and experienced” candidate.

Mike Turpen, Oklahoma finance chairman for her presidential bid, said Clinton’s two Oklahoma fundraisers show she has “committed, enthusiastic supporters.”

“I’m personally gratified with all of the support that she has in Oklahoma,” Turpen said.

The New York senator raised about $100,000 at the Tulsa event, Turpen said.

Clinton raised about $300,000 during a fundraiser in June at Oklahoma City, giving her a total amount of $400,000 generated by Oklahomans, he said. That puts her at or near the top among money raised in Oklahoma by any presidential candidate, he said.

– Associated Press

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