Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed thousands of Ohio State students and other Columbus residents during her visit to campus on Monday night, urging them to register to vote and touting her economic platform.
Clinton’s visit shut down most of the South Oval on Monday, as a crew compiled a set, stage and room for the audience of 18,500, but it also drew a great deal of enthusiasm from some students around campus.
“The excitement is here on the ground,” said Jake Vasilj, president of OSU’s chapter of College Democrats and a third-year in history and political science. “The strategic importance is there too, obviously — getting out the youth vote and the millennial vote here in Columbus is going to be key to carrying the state at large.”
Levi Griffith, vice president of College Democrats and a third-year in public affairs, said the atmosphere of South Oval was energetic.
“It’s interesting, because a lot of the (campaign trail’s) talking points have been about how millennials don’t feel excited about this election, and then Hillary Clinton comes (to OSU) and we have the biggest rally she’s had to date with over 18,000 people (in attendance),” Griffith said, citing the campaign for the record number.
Local Democratic politicians such as Rep. Joyce Beatty, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland helped introduce Clinton, who started speaking just after 7 p.m.
“We have 29 days to save America from the likes of (Republican presidential candidate) Donald Trump,” said Strickland, who is running against incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman. “And Ohio is going to do what Ohio does best. Ohio is going to rally people to the polls to help elect Hillary Rodham Clinton, the next president of the United States.”
Clinton gave a final push for attendees to register to vote by tomorrow, given the appearance took place just one day prior to Ohio’s voter registration final deadline on Tuesday. She also reminded voters of their ability to cast their ballots early, beginning Wednesday.
“We want everyone to vote. And we particularly want young people to vote, because this is your election more than anybody else’s,” Clinton said.
In addition to urging event-goers to vote, Clinton also laid out her economic plans in an effort to contrast her platform with Trump’s.
“I am going to go where the money is. And all the money has gone to the wealthiest, in our country,” Clinton said. “I have made a pledge and I am going to stick to it. I will not raise taxes on the middle class.”
Her plan includes trade enforcement, making college debt-free and enacting a new surcharge on mega-millionaires and billionaires. But it was not favored by everyone on campus.
“(Clinton’s) economic policies are bad for students, because they just radically increase demand for college, which increases cost,” said Nick Frankowski, a second-year in economics and political science and a member of College Republicans.
Michael Mosholder, a Trump supporter and a third-year in philosophy and political science, also spoke out against her proposals.
“Imposing higher taxes on the wealthier Americans does not actually do anything to solve the inequality we have in the United States,” Mosholder said. “(It) only punishes those who have worked hard for their successes and takes away incentives for Americans to advance in their fields.”
Others sided with Clinton
“I think (Clinton) will be the best candidate for Ohio State students because she wants to make tuition free for students whose families earned under a certain income payscale, and she wants to make it debt-free for other students,” Griffith said. “I think that’s reasonable.”
Clinton denounced her opponent’s platforms and character multiple times throughout the entirety of her speech.
In reference to the recently released hot-mic footage from a 2005 episode of “Access Hollywood,” during which Trump made lewd comments about women, Clinton said Trump made excuses instead of apologies, in reference to his opinion that the words were just “locker room talk.”
“A lot of athletes and coaches from the NBA, from Major League Baseball, from the NFL and more, have been coming forward, tweeting and saying, ‘No, that’s not what happens in our locker rooms,’” Clinton said.
According to a compilation of polls created by RealClearPolitics, Clinton leads Trump by 1 percentage point in Ohio, though she leads above a given poll’s margin of error in only one of the four compiled.
“So please, join this campaign, be part of it for the next 29 days. And together we will prove that we can have the future that we want to, because love trumps hate,” Clinton concluded.
Update, 10:58 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional quotes