Tracy used to be the “pit stop” mecca for weary travelers on both sides of the Altamont Pass before Interstate 205 was built about 35 years ago. So it wasn’t a surprise when former President Bill Clinton seriously thought about stopping to stretch his legs in downtown Tracy this afternoon en route to San Francisco after a
“Solutions for America” rally at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. Clinton, who is campaigning for his wife and Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, met Tracy attorney Arch Bakerink and Tracy mayoral candidate Celeste Garamendi (sister of California's Lt. Gov. John Garamendi) at the UOP rally. With his interest probably already piqued by a political story that mentions Tracy in today’s Wall Street Journal, Clinton mentioned a desire to visit the community. Members of the Clinton entourage then asked the Tracy residents where would be the best place to draw a spur-of-the-moment, meet-and-greet crowd of voters.
But by the time Bakerink and Garamendi selected Barista’s, a downtown coffeehouse, the Clinton motorcade had left UOP toward the freeway and San Francisco. “We had a chance, but we took too long,” relayed a saddened Bakerink.
At very least, as Clinton headed west, he had the chance to see a slice of Tracy along the I-205 corridor.
The former president started the day at Santa Ana College, where he spoke to a diverse crowd of several hundred people. From there he attended a rally in Sacramento and then spoke to a crowd of about 4,000 at UOP's Alex G. Spanos Arena.
An independent Field Poll released Sunday showed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's long-standing advantage over Sen. Barack Obama has evaporated. The race is now a dead heat, with Clinton at 36 percent and Obama at 34 percent among likely Democratic primary voters.
"You know we have always been there for you, in good times and bad, we've been there for California
said in his Santa Ana speech. "Some people say she just wants to go back to the '90s. ... She does not want to go back to the '90s; she just wants to get you back on your feet again so we can go together into the future."