IRVINE, Calif. -
Former President Bill Clinton led a rally and endorsed five Democratic congressional candidates – including San Diegan Scott Peters – at UC Irvine on Tuesday.
About 5,200 people cheered for Clinton as he rallied support for five congressional candidates: Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, D-Ventura, Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, Dr. Raul Ruiz of Palm Springs, Mark Takano of Riverside and San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters.
Peters is running against Rep. Brian Bilbray in the race for the 52nd Congressional District.
"I should be on the payroll of the city of San Diego because they're my Exhibit A about why creating cooperation works better than constant conflict," said Clinton.
As an example, Clinton made a reference to current Mayor Jerry Sanders.
"San Diego has a Republican mayor who was chief of police when I was president," he said. "He worked with me to pass legislation to put 100,000 police on the street and the crime rate went down in San Diego."
Clinton said Congress should turn to San Diego as an example of how to get things done.
"If you vote for [Peters] every day, he can stand up on the floor of the Congress and give one of those one-minute speeches saying, 'Let me tell you one more San Diego story. Let me tell you how we did it with Democrats and Republicans making a better future because we live in tomorrow, not yesterday,'" said Clinton.
Clinton highlighted San Diego's innovative culture both at Qualcomm and UC San Diego, which surprised Peters.
"You know, I was a little embarrassed because he stopped and we had a picture line and he stopped us in the middle and he said, 'I want to talk to you about something' and he says, 'I can't believe the Tea Party budget is going to cut out all scientific research. San Diego is the leader in the genome and everything else and he really was aware of what's going on," said Peters.
Now, with less than two weeks until the election, Peters hopes the last-minute visit to Southern California from the star of his party will pay off.