Former President Bill Clinton rallied thousands on the quad of UC Davis this morning, endorsing four California Democrats running for Congress and encouraging Californians to vote for Proposition 30 and against Proposition 32.
Clinton endorsed current Reps. John Garamendi and Jerry McNerney as well as challengers Ami Bera and Jose Hernandez. The four contests they're in are among the most competitive in the nation, and the national Republican and Democratic parties are spending big to try to take the seats.
The districts at stake span a 200-mile swath of the northern Central Valley from Modesto to Yuba City.
"The four people I'm on the stage with -- two in Congress, two trying to get there -- each in their own way, they represent the American dream," Clinton said. "They prove that a commitment to shared prosperity works better than 'trickle down, you're on your own.'"
Addressing a crowd largely made up of college students, Clinton spoke at length about what the Obama administration has done to cut the cost of college by lowering interest rates on student loans. He talked about the need for the country to focus on the future, and closed the speech by saying:
"The four people on the stage with me are dedicated to your future. The president is dedicated to your future. They know that we can build a new American prosperity in the 21st century. But it's a long hard road and we have to do the smart thing. We have to do it together. It all begins with you."
Daniel Scarpinato, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Campaign, said the four candidates are at odds with Clinton's fiscal philosophy.
"President Clinton famously said the era of big government was over," Scarpinato said in an email. "Unfortunately these candidates couldn't disagree more with that philosophy as evidenced by their support for massive spending policies that will result in us borrowing more money from China."
Editor's Note: This post was updated with Scarpinato's comments. Updated at 1:52 p.m. Oct. 9, 2012.
Photo caption: Former President Bill Clinton shakes hands and poses for photographs after stumping for area Democrats at a rally at UC Davis. Photo taken October 09, 2012 in Davis, California. Photo by Renee C. Byer.