Just two days before his daughter's much-ballyhooed wedding in upstate New York, former president Bill Clinton headlined a fund-raiser and rally for US Representative Stephen F. Lynch today at a South Boston union hall.
Clinton, speaking at the boisterous gathering at the Ironworkers Local 7 union hall in South Boston, touched on unemployment, the rising deficit, and what he said was Republican ineptitude.
"They spend like drunken sailors and borrow money from China," he told the crowd.
He then threw his support behind Lynch, telling supporters to stick with their guy.
"You need people with common sense," Clinton said. "Don't let people vote their anger. We need to get America back in the future business."
Jim Koutrouba, 53, a carpenter with local 33 in Boston, said he came to see Clinton, but above all else, to support Lynch, whom he called "good for the working man."
Still, others could not get over the 42d president's presence.
"It was so exciting to see him, an honor really," said Christine Joyce, 45, of Mansfield. "It's a bit overwhelming."
Crowds of supporters gathered inside the hall, which was decorated with signs and banners for Lynch. One banner outside the hall read: "President Clinton, thank you and welcome to the 9th congressional!"
Earlier, as Lynch introduced Clinton, the congressman's wife and two daughters behind him, he praised the former president for leaving the people with "a nation that was building things."
"Is this still Clinton country?" Lynch yelled to the crowd, who responded with resounding hoots and hollers. Clinton nodded his head and mouthed the word, "Yup." One man in the back yelled: "I love you, Bill!"
Standing in front of yellow police tape outside the hall as she tried to catch a glimpse of Clinton's motorcade pass by, Mary Gregorio, 70, of South Boston, said she had never seen the president in person before.
"He looks wonderful," she said. "I guess he has to look good for the wedding."
Lynch, a four-term South Boston Democrat, faces a challenge in the Democratic primary on Sept. 14 from Mac D'Alessandro of Milton, on leave from his job as regional political director of the Service Employees International Union, the Globe reported Tuesday.
Two Republicans and an independent are also vying in the Ninth Congressional District race.
Lynch, a former state legislator and past president of Ironworkers Local 7, won the seat in a 2001 special election to succeed the late J. Joseph Moakley.
Chelsea Clinton's lavish wedding to investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, N.Y., which will complete her journey in the public eye from frizzy-haired child to adult, is drawing national attention. Interest is running so high that the Federal Aviation Administration has banned flights in the area near the Hudson River estate.
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