From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli
CANTON, OH -- Robert Holeman came to Timken High School here today with a message to deliver to Bill Clinton. He did -- and he said the former president wasn't happy about it.
Clinton spoke to a capacity crowd in this Northeast Ohio town, the third of five events today in the Buckeye State. He told voters that the contest was "the power of speeches against the promise of solutions by a world-class change maker."
Throughout the event, as Clinton made his case for his wife, Holeman's dissenting voice could be heard. At times he simply shouted Obama's name. When Clinton would set up a sure applause line, Holeman could be heard heckling. As soon as Clinton finished speaking, the Canton native made a beeline to the ropeline to give Clinton a piece of his mind.
"I asked the president to please stop the bickering between the campaigns," Holeman said in an interview afterwards. "All this name calling is like the bully in the yard. He can't get his way, he can't get nothing done." Holeman said he thought Clinton was "gasping for air."
"This is the last hurrah. After March 4, Hillary Clinton will be out of the race for good, and Obama will take the commanding lead," he said. "She should back him with her delegates immediately. That's what I'm asking them to do."
Holeman said that Clinton responded by saying Obama came after him first. Holeman also described Clinton's reaction to him as "irate."
"I think he even hit me in the face with his hand," he said. "He did give me a little pop. It was okay, because I understand his tenacity for his wife." Clinton did engage Holeman for a few minutes, at times pointing directly at him. It was unclear whether he did make physical contact, however.
Holeman said he did support Bill Clinton during his campaigns, but that now the country wants a "new perspective." "I think the president's trying hoodwink us, bamboozle us, put us back in the okie doke," he said. "He had eight years to do what he was supposed to do. All the things he said that she's gonna do, he had the same authority that he wants her to have. Now if one Clinton, the male Clinton can't get it done, how is Ms. Clinton [going to]."
Several Clinton supporters who saw the exchange came up to Holeman after to -- shall we say delicately -- express their disapproval for his actions. More negativity, Holeman said. "Hillary Clinton has started the most negative campaign I have ever seen, other than what the Republicans can launch," he said. "I think we need to come together on those issues."
*** UPDATE *** Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt said Holeman was "absolutely not" a plant by the campaign. And a spokesperson for President Clinton who was near the president said there was no physical contact.