Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton enthusiastically endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in the senator's candidacy for president Monday night in front of a group of University of Wisconsin students in Van Vleck Hall.
Lawton, a co-chair for Clinton's Wisconsin and Midwest campaigns, addressed Students for Hillary, a student group advocating Clinton's election, at their "Movie Night" before the viewing of "An Inconvenient Truth."
UW senior Pasha Sternberg, the group's chair, was very excited for Lawton's arrival.
"Somebody of the lieutenant governor's caliber is great," Sternberg said. "This will invigorate people, get people involved."
Before a crowd of about 30 people, Lawton gave a 10-minute speech discussing why she supports Clinton, and then took questions from the audience.
"Doing endorsements is sometimes a dicey thing," Lawton said. "But this was a no-brainer for me."
Addressing Clinton's electability, Lawton said it is not a matter of electing a woman, but electing the "strongest candidate, period." Lawton added Clinton's discipline is often mistaken for calculation, and it is important for Clinton to be disciplined because, as the first in woman in her position, she cannot afford to make mistakes. According to Lawton, voters want a woman candidate "to be both their mother and a CEO."
Lawton said she believes Clinton's experience in the public eye will help her greatly in the months leading up to the 2008 elections.
According to Lawton, the most important issues which Clinton will address are health care, education and climate change. Addressing Clinton's vote to enter the Iraq war and the scrutiny she faces because of it, Lawton said Clinton "does not apologize for her vote." Clinton made the correct choice with the information provided by the Bush administration and she "can't be an effective and credible commander in chief for her troops" if she wavers in her decision-making, Lawton said.
A main talking point of Lawton's speech was Clinton's belief in the importance of education. According to Lawton, Clinton addresses policy decisions "with the long term in mind" and believes in "the value of investment in young children."
"[Clinton] wants more people carrying a baccalaureate degree instead of a gun," Lawton said.
Another important issue for Clinton is funding for scientific research. Among other things, Lawton said technological improvements are necessary in this "carbon-constrained environment."
"We've got to believe in science," Lawton said.
Speaking with The Badger Herald after her speech, Lawton said she believes students will be the "winning edge" for Clinton's campaign. She said she is counting on students to help provide leadership and build support.
"Students can decide the outcome of this election," Lawton said.
Some students, however, were not enthusiastic about Lawton's visit to the UW campus.
Sara Mikolajczak, the chair of College Republicans, said that it is inappropriate for a state representative to endorse a candidate so early. She asserted that it is not wise to divide a party even more before the primary elections.
"The College Republicans and the College Democrats are not even taking a stance," Mikolajczak said.
According to Mikolajczak, it would not be a good idea to elect a woman as president while women are still seen as the inferior sex. This would only make the United States lose credibility in the Middle East, she said.
Clarification: This article should have madeclear UW College Republicans Chair Sara Mikolajczak believes it would not be a good idea to elect a woman as president while women are still seen as the inferior sex in Iraq.