For nearly a minute during a hurried West Side campaign stop, President Bill Clinton listened intently to a Chicago woman who had something she needed to say to him.
At MacArthur’s Restaurant in the Austin neighborhood, Cherita Logan looked into the former president’s eyes and told him boldly: She’s proud of his wife, Hillary Clinton, for standing by him, despite his affair.
“I thanked Hillary for keeping her [marital] vows. Marriage is for better or worse, good or bad, up or down, sickness or health, rich or poor. She kept her vows and that means more than anything,” Logan, a district director for U.S Rep. Danny Davis said. “We know what Trump is going to be saying, and we need to put that down.”
Both Clintons have had to address the former president’s past infidelity time and again, but for Logan, a Hillary Clinton supporter, it was something she wanted out in the open.
It was not an issue the former President Clinton chose to focus on publicly Tuesday as he made the case for his wife’s bid for the White House.
About an hour later, he told hundreds at a Hillary Clinton campaign stop in north suburban Evanston about an America full of instability where “the best change maker” he’s known — his wife – should become president.
“The most important reason to vote for her is that we cannot wait any longer. Finally, we can rise together,” former President Clinton told the crowd at the Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston. “President Obama did everything he could do, often with one hand tied behind his back to get him to this point. … We need to rise together. Therefore, clearly, we ought to vote for president for the best change maker I have ever known. Be there next week.”
The former president came out to Evanston to try to win votes in Hillary Clinton’s favor in a progressive suburb that’s garnered a lot of support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
For nearly 45 minutes, the former president spoke of a country full of uncertainty, on everything from climate change to racism, and one that needs to become more inclusive. He talked of a country that wants to fit into the rosy picture President Barack Obama painted in his last State of the Union address.
“This country will never have inclusive economic growth . . . and have inclusive politics if you have a Republican president, a Republican Congress and Republican Supreme Court,” President Clinton said, adding Obama must be able to appoint a Supreme Court nominee.
He spoke of the need to invest more money in modern infrastructure, to prevent tragedies, such as the one in Flint, Michigan.
“What would happen if we cleaned up all the pipes and gave all of our children a healthy future? And think about how many jobs it would create,” Clinton said.
Clinton said he met his wife 45 years ago this month.
“I was just blown away. I had never seen anybody who seemed to have a better sense of where we were at the time. What we were trying to do and how to get stuff done,” he said.
The former president spoke of his wife’s work with juvenile justice in South Carolina and in Alabama, where she helped target racist practices by posing as a racist housewife to confirm a school was segregating its students. He said her undercover operation led to the school losing its tax exemption.
He also gave his wife credit for helping persuade former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay to pass a bill that gives tax credits for people adopting children past infancy and with special needs.
After the event, former President Bill Clinton took photos with the crowd for nearly 10 minutes.
Earlier in the day, he surprised diners at the popular Austin eatery on his way to the Evanston event.
The Hillary Clinton campaign on Tuesday announced the opening of a West Side campaign office at 5811 W. Chicago Ave.
Clinton arrived about 9:30 a.m. at MacArthur’s with Davis and spent about 20 minutes taking pictures and signing autographs with diners, local pastors and the kitchen staff.
Austin neighborhood native Rodney Potts was among dozens who snapped a photo with the former president. He was shocked to see Clinton walk in as he ate breakfast.
“I have to go put this on Facebook because he’s my favorite president,” Potts, 26, said.