SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Bill Clinton says he doesn't make “whoop-dee-do” speeches anymore.
Instead, the 42nd president said Friday, he now focuses on “explaining stuff.”
Two decades after he was elected, the charismatic Clinton still can draw a crowd.
About 2,500 people braved a windy, chilly evening at Sioux City's historic Fourth Street District to listen to Clinton stump for Democratic congressional candidate Christie Vilsack.
The bundled-up crowd rushed to snap cellphone photos or videos of Clinton, who called for bipartisanship in Washington.
He said electing Vilsack, who is challenging Republican Rep. Steve King, was the way to get there.
During his 30-minute speech, Clinton said problems with the economy, Medicare and other issues cannot be addressed unless Democrats and Republicans work together.
He also made reference to President Barack Obama's slogan, “Forward,” in touting reasons to support Vilsack, wife of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.
“What Christie wants to do is take us forward,” Clinton said. “The last I checked, if you veered right, you couldn't go forward, or if you veered too far left, you couldn't go forward. You've got to go forward.”
Vilsack and King are battling in the redrawn 4th Congressional District, which includes northwest and north-central counties, and the towns of Missouri Valley, Sioux City and Ames.
King is seeking his sixth term.
He has tried to paint Vilsack as an Obama insider; her husband is the U.S. secretary of agriculture. Vilsack says King is more concerned with being on cable news shows than doing what is best for the 4th District.
“Christie Vilsack can throw an outdoor party with East Coast liberals, but her policies go against Iowa common sense and are terrible for the middle class,” the King campaign said in a statement Friday.
Clinton's appearance further highlights Iowa's importance as a presidential swing state, as well as the national attention given the King-Vilsack race in the battle for control of the House.
After the Sioux City stop, Clinton headed to Des Moines to attend a fundraiser for Rep. Leonard Boswell, a Democrat running against fellow incumbent Tom Latham, a Republican. They are competing in Iowa's new 3rd District, which includes Council Bluffs and most of southwest Iowa.
Clinton attacked GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, for, among other things, wanting to repeal Obama's 2010 student loan reform act.
He said the GOP platform would divide the country rather than get things done.
“It's about whether politics works better with cooperation and honorable compromise, or constant conflict,” Clinton said. “Now, I know what works better ... we're all in this together works better than, ‘You're on your own.' ”
Clinton pointed out that since his presidency, he has become close friends with former President George H.W. Bush, whom he defeated in 1992.
As for Bush's son, former President George W. Bush?
“We don't agree much, but we have become friends in spite of ourselves,” Clinton said.
Vilsack told the crowd that King is considered “one of the most ineffective'' Iowa members of Congress in her lifetime.
“I understand what people in this district need, and I will work my heart out every day,'' she said.
Elsewhere Friday in western Iowa, actress Blythe Danner campaigned for the president at the Obama headquarters in Council Bluffs.
“The president is such a gentleman he doesn't toot his own horn, so we have to do it,” said Danner, perhaps best known for her role on the “Will and Grace'' television show.
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