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Democratic rallies set

Bill Clinton’s sweep through his native Arkansas tomorrow and Saturday on behalf Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama and the rest of the party’s election ticket is set.

The former president, along with Gov. Mike Beebe and former Arkansas Govs. and U.S. Sens. Dale Bumpers and David Pryor, will headline a get-out-the-vote rally at 5 p.m. Friday at the corner of Fourth and Main streets in North Little Rock.

The quartet will follow Saturday with an 11:30 a.m. rally in downtown Pine Bluff and a 1 p.m. appearance in Jonesboro. They’ll be joined at various stops by Democratic Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, along with Democratic Congressmen Marion Berry, Vic Snyder and Mike Ross.

Obama has not visited Arkansas since an October 2006 appearance in support of Beebe and other state Democrats. Republican John McCain has visited the state twice since becoming the GOP presidential nominee. Former Arkansas and U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton headlined a rally for Obama in Little Rock two weeks ago.

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Coming for Obama

Former President Bill Clinton will join Gov. Mike Beebe, state Democratic Party Chairman David Pryor and former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers at a series of rallies for Barack Obama this week, the Democratic Party of Arkansas announced today.

The get-out-the-vote rallies will be in North Little Rock on Friday and in Pine Bluff and Jonesboro on Saturday. The times and exact locations of the events have not been determined.

Former Arkansas and U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton headlined a rally for Obama in Little Rock on Oct. 10 and drew a crowd of about 3,000 people.

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Painting Arkansas blue UPDATE

Hillary Clinton was warmly received at a rally in Little Rock today for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Standing at a lecturn that read “Paint Arkansas blue” and in front of a banner that read, “Welcome home, Hillary!” Clinton told a cheering audience of about 3,000 people she was appreciative “beyond words” for the 70-percent vote she received in Arkansas’ Feb. 5 Democratic primary. She asked Arkansans to give the same level of support to Obama.

Clinton named off a list of issues — the economic crisis, the energy crisis, education, health care, the war in Iraq — repeating after each item, “There is only one answer, and it’s Barack Obama.”

Others who spoke included actors Mary Steenburgen, an Arkansas native, and her husband Ted Danson; U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln; U.S. Reps. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, and Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock; Gov. Mike Beebe; state Democratic Party Chairman David Pryor; retired general and 2004 presidential candidate Wesley Clark; and state Sen. Tracy Steele, D-North Little Rock.

Lincoln had strong words for Republican nominee John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin, who have stepped up attacks on Obama in recent days.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the despicable, unhinged tone of the McCain-Palin campaign during the last few days should make us even more determined … We should stand up and call it what it is: It’s divisive, it’s irresponsible, it’s disgusting, it’s demeaning and it’s unpatriotic, because that’s not the country that we are,” Lincoln said.

Clinton was scheduled to attend a fundraiser for Obama after the rally at the Little Rock home of Kaki Hockersmith and Max Mehlberger.

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