brings laughter, ovations
By The Hub Staff
KEARNEY — A seemingly relaxed and
cheerful President Bill Clinton entered the University of Nebraska
at Kearney's Health and Sports Center to a standing ovation Friday
morning, waving to the crowd as he walked across a stage at the
center's south end.
The 7,000-seat center was almost
filled, with packed VIP sections and only a few empty seats in the
side bleachers. Among the dignitaries on hand for Clinton's foreign
policy address were U.S. Sen.-elect Ben Nelson, Sen. Bob Kerrey,
former Nebraska Gov. Frank Morrison and former Nebraska Sen. J.
Clinton joked about the number of
national dignitaries, recalling the campaign by Kearney publisher
Moses Sydenham in the late 1800s to move the nation's capitol to
Kearney. "Since half of Washington is in Kearney today, maybe we
should think again about moving the capitol. I rather like it here,"
More than 200 Nebraska journalists
covered the event from a press platform at the center's south end,
with national media and state pool journalists near the main stage.
While people were discouraged by the Secret Service from bringing
backpacks and bags, cameras were allowed and many people in the
audience took still photos and videotape of the event.
Even one faculty member, filing into
the Health and Sports Center with the faculty and in full academic
regalia, carried a video camera.
Clinton studied the text for his
speech during most of the introductory ceremony, chatting briefly
with Chancellor Gladys Styles Johnston and student speaker Casey
Mendez, tapping his foot during the UNK Choraleers' rendition of
"Hope for Resolution." The song, written to honor the fall of South
Africa's apartheid system, had an African rhythm and used extensive
Later, in his speech, Clinton
recalled talking to Johnston about the piece. "I said, 'They're
good' and she said, 'They have a whole lot more rhythm since I got
here,' " he joked.
The only standing ovations came at
the beginning and end of Clinton's speech, although he was
frequently interrupted by applause and laughter. Some people in the
VIP sections waved small American flags.
At the beginning of his speech,
Clinton said the turnout must have included all of Nebraska's
Democrats "and a few charitable Republicans."