DURHAM -- The crowd buzzed in excitement as they awaited former President Bill Clinton's speech at the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign rally in Durham, North Carolina, Sept. 6. Prior to Bill Clinton, representatives from the North Carolina General Assembly and community took the stage to advocate for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election in November.
"We can be history-making in North Carolina this November," said North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall — the first woman to be elected to a state-wide office in North Carolina — encouraging participants to cast their votes and contribute toward another first in U.S. women's history.
When Bill Clinton stepped on stage, he took a different approach to appeal to the audience by focusing on the policies and programs Hillary Clinton intends to implement.
"I want you to vote for her because I want you to vote for yourself," Bill Clinton said.
Bill Clinton's speech focused on outlining a four-step plan of Hillary Clinton's primary plans for her career in the White House: creating 10 million jobs, developing a plan for banks to increase lending to small businesses, pushing legislation to promote fair trade and manufacturing and "invest[ing] in areas left out and behind."
"We cannot go on for eight more years where 90 percent of the economy goes to 1 percent of the people," he said.
Bill Clinton also pushed Hillary Clinton's demands for "more fairly shared growth" in the economy.
For college students, Bill Clinton had a special message for those worrying about student loans.
"If you go to a public university, a historically black college or university or any other private college that has a preponderance of middle- and lower-income students," Clinton said. "Reasonable tuition and a high graduation — if your income is $125,000 or less, you get free tuition."
Small business owners would also catch a break under Hillary Clinton's presidency, as they would be able to delay loan payments for the first three years the business is open.
Tax returns, overseas conflict and immigration reform were also briefly touched upon.
For many people in the audience, the rally was not an introduction to Hillary Clinton’s policies.
“I came into this knowing that I was a Hillary supporter. ... This wasn’t a place I came to be convinced,” said Molly Jordan, a sophomore at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Matt Ross, a Hillary Clinton supporter from Raleigh, has been behind the Clinton family since day one and said he came to show support.
“I’ve been a Hillary supporter for quite some time — definitely voted for her husband both terms when he ran office,” Ross said. “I thought, honestly, in my lifetime, he’s the best president we’ve ever had.”
“I learned a lot about the other sides,” said UNC Chapel Hill sophomore Madeline Braye.
As a long-term Clinton supporter, Braye acknowledged that it was interesting to hear how Hillary Clinton appeals to the independent voters to help sway their votes.
“The economic aspects and how we are going to benefit from Hillary plans versus Trump plans — it’s stuff I hadn’t necessarily heard before,” she said.
Even as an avid supporter, Braye said there are still new things she learns about Hillary Clinton every day that reaffirms her confidence in the candidate.
Braye and Jordan weren’t the only college students at the rally. At first glance, several groups of college students could be picked out in the crowd. College students have a strong voice in North Carolina in politics, especially in the city of Durham.
Trump supporters Jim and Molly Platt, who stood outside the rally with a small group of fellow Trump supporters with signs and posters, acknowledged that college student opinions carry a lot of weight.
“It’s more liberal just because you’ve got universities here,” Jim Platt said.
“It’s neck and neck across the state but certain cities are more liberal, so [Durham] is a very liberal city," Molly Platt said. "But in the mountains ... It’s very conservative, so I wouldn’t say any one candidate has a substantial lead. So that takes us to ... prove why they should give [Trump] a chance.”
Trump supporter Stan Shylansky believes a vote for Trump is a vote for the future.
“I’m trying to hope that Trump gets elected so we get a good choice of our Supreme Court justices that will affect us for 40 years from now,” Shylansky said. “We want to keep the Second Amendment and our freedom of speech.”
Clinton supporters have a different opinion of what the future will look like.
“I think people in the end who voted for Trump will look back on it, you know, and wish they voted for Hillary,” Ross said.