Bill Clinton Barnstorms Pa. For Obama, Democrats - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Bill Clinton Barnstorms Pa. For Obama, Democrats

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Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a crowd in Montgomery County, Pa. Monday. Former President Bill Clinton speaks to a crowd in Montgomery County, Pa. Monday.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. -

Former President Bill Clinton is playing up President Barack Obama's efforts to save the American auto industry and his work with governors to respond to last week's destructive storm as he campaigned across Pennsylvania on Monday to help Obama and Democrats maintain control of the White House and the U.S. Senate.

Hundreds came to see Clinton in downtown Pittsburgh before he stopped in Montgomery County and Philadelphia. He was to end the trip with a rally in Scranton, the hometown of Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Democratic attorney general nominee Kathleen Kane.

Accompanied by Pennsylvania's other U.S. senator, Republican Pat Toomey, GOP Senate nominee Tom Smith and attorney general nominee David Freed also campaigned across the state, making a stop to speak to small Republican gatherings in every TV market.

Clinton's trip comes as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and conservative groups make a big, 11th-hour push to try to capture the battleground state. Underscoring the state's importance and the aggressive fight for its prized 20 electoral votes, Romney announced an Election Day stop in Pittsburgh, which the Obama campaign said was evidence of his campaign's desperation.

Polls are open Tuesday, from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., as the political parties and other groups crank up huge get-out-the-vote efforts and deploy poll watchers and lawyers to address voting complaints or to watch for dirty tricks or perceived irregularities.

Clinton, in a very hoarse voice, gave a high-energy pitch in Pittsburgh's 38-degree chill, questioning Romney's opposition to support for the auto industry, and praising Obama for bringing troops home from Iraq.

"I want the candidate who decided to save the American auto industry," Clinton said. Pennsylvania has about 40,000 jobs tied to carmaking, according to an industry group.

Clinton, who won Pennsylvania twice as a candidate, also sought to burnish Obama's credentials as an independent president. He blamed Republicans for not working with the Obama administration for the past four years, but insisted they will if Obama wins the election Tuesday.

"You saw President Obama working with the Democratic governors of New York and Connecticut, the Republican governor of New Jersey, the independent mayor of New York," Clinton said, referring to the recent East Coast storm.

Later, in Philadelphia, hundreds of Obama supporters stood for several hours in cold, blustery weather and listened to the University of Pennsylvania marching band before Clinton was to arrive at the school's campus. Ian Smart wasn't complaining as he waited near the back of the line that snaked around the block to the Palestra sports stadium.

"`This has been a long and frustrating few months, but the momentum is with us," the Drexel University business major said. "I feel very confident about the outcome tomorrow. I'm fired up."

In a hotel gathering in Camp Hill, a Harrisburg suburb, Toomey criticized Obama for unemployment being higher than it was when he took office in 2009, and pitched Romney as the right candidate to address the nation's "economic misery."

"He is going to hit this ground running the day after the election. He's not going to wait until he's sworn in and he is going to start to implement as soon as he can, a plan that is going to put us back on path," Toomey said. "We've got the right man for this moment in Mitt Romney, and he's going to start with real change on Day 1."

Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani led a team of ex-Republican officeholders and actor Jon Voight to stump for Romney in Pennsylvania. In Conshohocken, about 150 supporters listened enthusiastically, with life-sized cutouts of Romney and running mate Paul Ryan -- with a large foil balloon of Big Bird between them -- serving as a backdrop as Giuliani criticized Obama for what he called a lack of leadership.

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Levy reported from Camp Hill, Pa. Associated Press writers JoAnn Loviglio in Philadelphia and Matt Slocum in Conshohocken contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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