Hillary Clinton appealed to the young and old looking to get into or re-enter the job market during her second trip to South Carolina since officially entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying America needs to reinvest in apprenticeship programs that will turn them into marketable and skilled workers.
“I want to be a president for both the successful and the struggling,” Clinton said during her half-hour appearance Wednesday at Trident Technical College in North Charleston. “And right now, the struggling need more help.”
Clinton also talked privately with the mother of motorist Walter Scott, who was shot and killed in April as he fled from North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.
The conversation was by phone but earlier in the day Clinton called the shooting a “terrible tragedy” during a separate assembly with rural leaders in Orangeburg.
In North Charleston, Clinton spoke for about a half-hour. She used the school as a backdrop to unveil her plan for a jobs training program.
Clinton was introduced by Trident President Mary Thornley, “who I love calling ‘Madam President,’” Clinton said, to audience whoops.
She then went on to praise Trident Tech for its support of apprenticeships at local industries such as Bosch.
Her plan is to create a $1,500 tax credit for companies that offer apprenticeships aimed at teaching skills to workers of all ages, calling it a “win-win-win” for all involved.
Clinton also took a poke at Wall Street, saying that while the economy is showing signs of recovery over the last several months, the wealth is not being spread around.
“We’re not yet running the way America should,” she said. “You see corporations making record profits and CEOs making record pay, but for too many Americans their paychecks haven’t budged at all.”
Clinton’s visit came a day before her potential Republican rival, Jeb Bush, was scheduled to be in Charleston for a town hall meeting focusing on veterans. Bush will be at the Charleston Maritime Center at 10 a.m. Thursday.
And while Clinton is the front-runner among Democrats, there’s a growing level of support for her nomination rival, independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is getting backing from the AFL-CIO in South Carolina.
Sanders will be at Burke High School at 7 p.m. Sunday for an open town hall.
Clinton was at a fundraiser for her Democratic run for the White House earlier in the day about a mile away. The house is at 729 East Bay St., and is owned by local attorney Akim Anastopoulo. She left safely at least two hours before the shooting in downtown Charleston was reported Wednesday night, her campaign said.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is scheduled to hold his South Carolina kickoff in Charleston at 10 a.m. this morning at the Maritime Center on the Harbor. It is also less than a mile from the shooting scene.
A Bush campaign official had no news on whether it would not go forward.
Clinton’s speech included a shout-out to South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, whom Clinton credited for crossing the political aisle on his own federal apprentice program bill with New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker.
Scott later issued a statement saying South Carolina’s apprenticeship and job training programs are worth copying.
“Today’s announcement by former Secretary Clinton clearly demonstrates that our pro-business policies, pro-growth administration and right-to-work status is paying off and a is testament to our well-trained workforce and commitment to workforce development and job training,” he said.
Also in attendance at the Trident Tech speech was former S.C. Gov. Dick Riley, who served as education secretary for former President Bill Clinton. Riley, of Greenville, has known Hillary Clinton for decades, starting from when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas.
“She’s so smart, so grounded and stands for the right things,” Riley told The Post and Courier. “She’d just be a wonderful president.”
Riley said he reached out to Clinton offering his support, adding that he was part of her unofficial South Carolina “kitchen cabinet” of strategy here.
At Trident Tech, the audience was largely female, including 92-year-old Varnie Rodwell, who said she doesn’t trust Republicans and is a full-on Clinton supporter. “She is very trustworthy,” said Rodwell, of Charleston. “She knows where she’s going and where she’s coming from.”
Dr. Mahaliah Campbell, a psychologist from Summerville, said she’s still undecided about 2016 and may even vote Republican. But in Clinton’s favor is how she agreed to become President Obama’s secretary of state after their bitter primary fight in 2008.
“To put that aside, that tells me about leadership,” Campbell said. “She clearly let ego out the window.”
It’s not unheard of for presidential campaigns to stop at Trident Tech. Former North Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole visited when she ran in 2000. Bill Clinton visited the same spot when he was a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton’s previous White House run, in 2008.
After Clinton spoke at Trident Tech she attended a fundraiser at the home of Charleston lawyer Akim Anastopoulo on East Bay Street. It was closed to the press.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551