Dave Mistich Published

Mixed Receptions for Bill Clinton in Logan, Charleston

Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton made stops in West Virginia Sunday to campaign for his wife, Hillary, for president. Reactions to Clinton were noticeably different, as his stop in Logan was met with some opposition, while the crowd in Charleston was enthusiastic without criticisms or interjections from the audience.

The former president first stopped in Logan, where he was met with mixed reactions from the crowd. Some attendees cheered while others booed during introductory speeches from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

Early Sunday, city officials in Logan sent Manchin’s staff an email stating the Clintons weren’t welcome in the town. 

“Bill and Hillary Clinton are simply not welcome in our town. Mrs. Clinton’s anti-coal messages are the last thing our suffering town needs at this point,” the email reads in part.

“The policies that have been championed by people like Mrs. Clinton have all but devastated our fair town, and honestly, enough is enough. We wish them the best in their campaign, however we again state they are not welcome on our city properties. We hope that you will respectfully consider NOT visiting our community.”

Hillary Clinton took strong criticism in March for saying she was going to put a lot of coal companies out of business. She later apologized in a letter to Manchin, stating that she was mistaken for making that comment.

Bill Clinton won both the 1992 and 1996 general elections in West Virginia, first defeating George H. W. Bush and then Bob Dole.

The former president’s speeches focused mainly on revitalizing the economy in the state’s southern coalfields and issues related to addiction and substance abuse. He expressed sympathy while saying Hillary will address those issues.

“I know what you’re going through,” Bill Clinton said at the event in Logan.

Some protesters were escorted from the Logan event after shouting questions at the former president.

“We are not going to resolve this today,” Clinton said of the state’s economic woes and other issues facing West Virginia and the country. 

Speaking to a crowd of a few hundred people in the state Capitol’s rotunda, Clinton’s later speech mirrored that of the one in Logan. 

“I can hardly remember a time with so much promise and so much progress and yet people still are very worried,” he said. 

Bill Clinton said his wife understands that economically depressed regions like Appalachia need a “special strategy” to revitalize themselves.

Hillary Clinton is scheduled to appear in West Virginia this week, with one stop slated for Williamson on Monday and an event Tuesday at an as-of-yet unannounced location. 

Editor’s Note: For more on election coverage leading up to West Virginia’s May 10 primary, visit elections.wvpublic.org.