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The locals lauded the portion of Mrs. Clinton’s speech that talked about training auto mechanics for jobs and creating new jobs for people who install solar panels or grow soybeans for alternative energy.

“These are jobs that can’t be sent overseas. These would be good jobs right here in Arkansas and across America, and that’s how we need to be thinking about this opportunity,” she said, on a day where the big news was that the state lost a bid for an automobile-assembly plant in the latest in a string of economic-development setbacks.

Clinton supporters at the dinner envisioned an electoral map with Mrs. Clinton winning Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee — picking up enough states to win the presidency. They said her years in Arkansas and as first lady make her better prepared than any other candidate.

Hillary is head and shoulders better than the rest,” said Lee Lee Doyle, a doctor and retired dean of the University of Arkansas medical school. “She’s learned a lot from the school of experience and hard knocks.”