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Clinton: GOP 'banking on you not thinking'

BALTIMORE -- Former President Bill Clinton thinks that voters need to pay attention to the facts like they pay attention to their sports.

"When we care about something that's really important to us, like football or basketball or the World Series -- some life or death deal like that," he said sarcastically as the crowd laughed, "I mean we know the facts, right?"

"You listen to ESPN talking about the last game in the National or American League baseball playoffs, why, you'd think you're listening to Einstein, the way they go through the facts," he said.

"It's only when something has absolutely no significance to us -- like the economy, the future of our children, the way the nation is going to turn up -- when we say 'don't bother me with the facts I got my mind made up.'"

"You're laughing, but it's true isn't it?" Clinton said.

Clinton's contention is that Republicans have been playing loose with the facts in recent ads, and he wants voters to pause.

"Suppose we think about it," he said. "This crowd," Clinton added, referring to the Republicans, "they're banking on you not thinking. They're banking on some people being so mad that facts don't matter and other people being so apathetic that facts don't matter."

Case in point, Clinton says: "The Republican argument goes something like this," he said. 'Hey, they got the White House and the Congress, and we gave them 21 months to get out of that hole that we left them. And we're not out so throw them out and put us back in. We may not be out of the hole yet but it was a real deep hole. At least we stopped digging."

The former two-term president said Democrats were asking for "four years to get out of a hole the American people gave them eight years to dig." It's only fair, he added.

His other message to Democrats: they need to turn out on Election Day. He cited statistics from the 2008 campaign in which African-American voters turned out in greater numbers than the general populace. And he geared his message to younger voters, calling them "tomorrow's America."

"None of these races would look like they do if tomorrow's America," he said, "the America that showed up in 2008, would just show up in 2010."

The 64-year-old former president also took some time in his remarks for self-deprecating humor, recalling a recent speech he gave to a young crowd at a university, calling himself "ancient history."

"It's kinda like going to the museum, except the mummy's not wrapped yet," he said.

Clinton made these comments in Baltimore, Md., in front of a crowd of hundreds. He was campaigning for Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is in a race against former Maryland governor, Bob Ehrlich. Clinton, a former governor himself, said it was a job he knew something about.

Clinton's visit came a day before early voting begins in Maryland.