Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told college Democrats on Saturday she would create a national academy to train public servants.
“I’m going to be asking a new generation to serve,” she said. “I think just like our military academies, we need to give a totally all-paid education to young men and women who will serve their country in a public service position.”
An older woman carrying a sign that said “She doesn’t care, all she wants is the power” yelled at Clinton while the New York senator was speaking in a ballroom on the University of South Carolina campus. Students attending the College Democrats of America convention shouted down the woman down and pushed her from the room.
“One of the things I love about politics, you never know what the day will bring,” Clinton said.
Several people at the convention said they were inspired by Clinton’s speech and her experience in public service after law school.
Clinton was an intern with the Children’s Defense Fund, which advocates for minority, poor and disabled children.
“I loved her personal stories. … It wasn’t her generic speech,” said Katelyn Porter, president of the College Democrats chapter at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.
Porter, who is from Boston and works for a nonprofit organization that helps low-income families, said she has not decided which Democratic candidate she will support. “But Hillary is definitely at the top of the list,” she said.
Clinton spoke about her conversion during college from a born-and-raised Republican to a Democrat.
“I woke up in my dorm one day and I thought, ‘Well, I’m not sure I am a Republican,’” she said to enthusiastic cheers. “I was at the time, embarrassingly enough, the president of the Wellesley College young Republicans.”
Later, in Beaufort, she told supporters she was running for president “because I think we can set big goals again. There is still so much to be done.”
She mentioned universal health care, ending dependence on foreign oil, expanding early childhood education and safely withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Helen Gilbert, a retired government worker originally from Virginia, said she believes women especially older women may be Clinton’s biggest hurdle.
“We’re brought up to believe the men know it all,” said Gilbert, 75. But Clinton’s track record is what has earned Gilbert’s support.
“She knows so much and she’s done so much and she’s been involved so much,” Gilbert said. “She’s going to be the president. I think it’s about time, don’t you?”
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