Hillary Clinton stresses education during rally in Durham

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop at a Durham high school Thursday.

She held a rally at Hillside High School where supporters waited hours in line. The event was slated to start at 3:50 p.m. Doors opened to the public at 2:30 p.m. Clinton didn't take the stage until after 5 p.m. in the sweltering gym.

Clinton was supposed to be in Raleigh later in the day, but canceled that appearance because of a scheduling conflict.

The first supporters to show up outside the school Thursday morning were three women who drove in from Fayetteville; among them was Marlene Jenkins. Jenkins' sister Myra Thompson, was killed in the Charleston church shooting last June.

She wore two large buttons on her shirt with pictures of Thompson and the other eight victims.

"My entire family supports Hillary and her platform about gun control and getting guns in the right people's hands and making sure that people who shouldn't have them, don't have them," she said.

While the crowd of a few hundred was made up mostly of staunch Hillary supporters, some voters said they were still undecided between her and Bernie Sanders.

"I think if he gets in, we'll have a mindset revolution, which I would look forward to," Meg Cox said of Sanders. "But I think Hillary is very qualified as well. I'd really be happy with either one."

A junior at Duke University said she's still on the fence about which Democrat to vote for in next Tuesday's primary.

"I've heard a lot about how she hasn't really done a lot to support black people in America so I'd like to see how she handles that, if she even talks about it."

Clinton spoke for about 20 minutes; her speech consisted almost entirely of how she, as president, would support public education.

"When I talk about wanting to get the economy moving, create more opportunities, it goes hand in hand with education," Clinton said. "So let me tell you what I want to do. If I'm so fortunate to be your president I want to be a good partner with teachers and principals and school boards and families and students."

Clinton also touched on her campaign platform of defending the Affordable Care Act, raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing equal pay for women, taking on the pharmaceutical industry, and combating climate change.

Clinton's rhetoric was aimed mostly at Republicans in spite of having just come off a contentious debate with Sanders in Miami the night before. The Vermont senator's big upset in Michigan this week ensured the battle for the democratic nomination was not over.

In response to Clinton's visit to North Carolina Thursday, the Republican National Committee released a statement condemning the candidate:

"On the heels of a debate performance rife with flip-flops and hypocrisy, Hillary Clinton is making a pit-stop in North Carolina in hopes that she can keep voters from rejecting her just as they did in 2008. But, with an FBI investigation into her email scandal, coupled with arrogant and dishonest claims, there is no reason for North Carolina voters to believe another Clinton can be trusted with the White House." - Kara Carter, RNC Spokeswoman

Clinton's supporters at the rally didn't seem to be phased by the FBI's ongoing investigation into her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.

"There are reasons why she did what she did," said Will Norrell, a UNC Law student. "I may not agree with them completely, but just because of that decision, it doesn't cloud what I think of the rest of her judgement."

Many Hillary supporters and even those who still haven't decided to vote for her, said they believe her credentials, and those of her husband, make her the strongest candidate for president.

"Who better, if you get the 4 a.m. phone call, who better to nudge but Bill?" said Cox.

Former President Bill Clinton, was in Raleigh on Monday morning to campaign for Hillary at an 'Early Vote' organizing event.

He urged North Carolinians to vote early now through March 12 - ahead of the March 15 primary.

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