- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday sought to energize supporters of his wife, Hillary Clinton, by presenting highlights of her presidential platform and calling her a “change-maker” before an adoring crowd of more than 500 people at a Memphis school.

Bill Clinton addressed a racially mixed group at Whitehaven High School at an event billed as an early voting rally. It was held in the school’s gymnasium and included a marching band whose members danced while they banged drums and crashed cymbals.

A former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is coming off a defeat in the New Hampshire primary to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

As Bill Clinton spoke, the Democrats in the race were beginning their debate in Milwaukee. He laid out some of Hillary Clinton’s goals, including those that resonate with the working- and middle-class voters in attendance: raising the minimum wage, job creation, voting rights protection, and providing affordable college tuition and health care.

The former president said reaching those goals “requires a president who knows how to stand her ground and how to seek common ground.”

“We’ve got to go forward together. We can do this,” he said, prompting applause from the crowd.

“Hillary always makes something good happen,” Bill Clinton said.

Early voting for the March 1 primary in Tennessee began Wednesday and runs through Feb. 23. About one-third of ballots were cast early in Tennessee’s presidential primary in 2008 and 2012.

Memphis, the state’s largest city, is in Shelby County, which Democrat Barack Obama carried in the past two presidential elections. But Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney won the state’s presidential vote in 2008 and 2012, respectively.

It’s the second visit to Tennessee by the Hillary Clinton campaign in recent months. Hillary Clinton was in Nashville and Memphis in November for rallies and a fundraiser.

Sanders hasn’t been to Tennessee during the presidential campaign.

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