2 Clintons coming to Ashland

Bill and Chelsea Clinton will hold a rally at Southern Oregon University on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. in the Stevenson Union Courtyard.

News of the Clinton visit began circulating on campus Thursday, and reactions have been mixed. Some are excited to meet a former president and support a female candidate, and others have already decided Hillary is not for them and will avoid the rally.

"Political dialogue belongs in universities, and I think it's exciting that's going on," said Deltra Ferguson, the coordinator of the women's resource center. "The women's center is very careful not to endorse a particular candidate, but we sure like political dialogue because we support an active citizenry."

Although Ferguson said she would welcome visits from Barack Obama and John McCain as well, having a viable female candidate for president was particularly meaningful for the students she works with, she said.

"That's absolutely momentous. I never thought I would live to see the day, to be honest," she said. "No matter what happens in this election, no matter what the outcome, history has been changed, and that's really exciting. The women in the women's resource center are really excited too, no matter who they vote for."

Freshman Marissa Dorry of Portland was eating waffles at the Stevenson Union this morning with friends as news of the Clinton visit spread across campus. She said she would likely attend the Sunday event.

"I guess I'll probably vote for Hillary because she's a girl," she said. "I think it's really pretty cool that they actually have the time to come down to our little town. Ashland's pretty small and out there."

Dorry's friend Alex Lindblom, also a freshman, said he was excited to meet former President Bill Clinton, but he is still undecided about his vote.

"I think it's pretty cool to meet someone who was previously in office," he said.

Other students said they already had plans on Sunday and wouldn't be persuaded to change them.

"I think some people really are kind of excited about it, but nobody's like 'Oh my God, Oh my God,'" said freshman Molly Courtney. "Nobody's freaking out about it."

Courtney said she is busy on Sunday and has already decided to vote for Obama.

"I think it pretty much is Obama country down here," she said.

Actor Sean Astin of "The Goonies" and "Lord of the Rings" fame was also on campus Thursday to speak for Clinton.

"He's a really good actor, but unfortunately he is in support of Hillary," said sophomore Steve Reddell, who said he was not likely to attend the rally and would probably vote for Obama.

"Bill was OK, but I don't know about Hillary," he said. "I'm a Medforder, though, so my views are probably different from a lot of folks here."

Sunday's "Solution for America" rally will focus on "policies that Hillary has put forward that will move our country forward," such as new "green collar" jobs, improved health care and bringing troops home from Iraq, said Julie Edwards, spokeswoman for the Hillary Clinton campaign in Oregon.

The campaign chose Southern Oregon University for a cross-section of voters.

"It's a great location and a chance to meet a lot of different types of people," Edwards said.

The former president and first daughter will be coming to Ashland from Salem on Sunday, where they will host a similar rally at 2:45 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP online, Edwards said.

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