From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
Here are some quick hits about Bill Clinton's courting of rural voters:
1. Stunning stat of the week: By tomorrow, he will have done almost
100 events in Indiana and North Carolina combined. (At least 52 in NC, not counting tomorrow's stops at polling places, and more than 40 in Indiana.)
2. Most events ever: Today's nine-event marathon is his longest ever, but doing six or seven events in a day is typical for the former president. Almost always, these towns have populations of less than 40,000, and events are frequently held on front porches (yes, you read that right -- porches), as well as in high school auditoriums, train depots and town squares. People line the streets waiting for him, and often camp out in lawn chairs at the daytime outdoor events. At some events in NC, a smoking BBQ pig is ripe for the pickin' and bluegrass bands entertain the crowds. (Read more on Bill Clinton as Small Town Ambassador.)
3. Texas, part two? It's important to note that this primary sprint is not the first one that's seen Clinton work this hard. He did a comparable number of stops in Texas and PA, and quite a few in OH. To get really in the weeds, NC looks a lot like Texas, part two because the whole Clinton field team from TX, led by operative Ace Smith, is in the Tar Heel State now.
4. Best of Bill: Here are some of the best bites from Bill courting rural voters:
LENOIR, N.C. -- "All the people that aren't for Hillary, who think that, you know, we're a little too connected to folks like you, they have made merciless, unmerciful fun of me about this. 'Bill Clinton's out there in the country, exiled to the country.' I grew up in the country. I know where I am and I wanna be right here."
NEW BERN, N.C. -- "I love that sign. And if North Carolina wants Hillary, and you elect her, she'll be the nominee and the next president of United States. That's up to you. She would not be here today but for rural America. In Missouri, 109 of the 114 counties voted for her. In Arkansas, 72 of 75 counties. In Texas, 230 of 254 counties. A sweep in the rural areas of Ohio. The people in small towns in rural America, who do the work for America, and represent the backbone and the values of this country, they are the people that are carrying her through in this nomination."
WHITEVILLE, N.C. -- "Just remember this, she got this far because of people like you. And if you show up and you vote for her, in big enough percentages and big enough numbers she'll go right on. …She's gonna end this thing roaring. And what are they gonna say if she wins the popular vote? 'I'm sorry we are gonna give it to the caucus states that are going Republican in November?.' No. So all these people tell you she can't win and that are rushin' to get all the people to declare for it, to send it off, to cut you off, and stomp your voice, don't you believe them. You are still in the driver seat. "
For some context on just how small these towns are, here are population breakdowns, according to 2006 U.S. Census estimates:
Elizabeth City, 19,056
New Bern, 27,650