Clinton Eau Claire Halloween night

President Bill Clinton, campaigning for President Obama, spoke Wednesday evening downtown Eau Claire at the Ramada Inn. He spoke to a crowd of over 500 people.

Candice White / The Herald

EAU CLAIRE — In former President Bill Clinton’s opinion, anyone paying attention to stances of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on key issues will see a clear choice in the presidential election.

“President Obama has been a good commander in chief,” Clinton told a crowd of democratic supporters at the Ramada hotel in Eau Claire Wednesday. “He’s taken care of this country.”

Clinton also highlighted how his fellow Democrat Obama compares to Romney on several key issues, such as health care.

“Gov. Romney wants to repeal (the national health care law) … even though it looks like what he signed as governor,” Clinton said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

He refuted Romney’s criticism that Obama and Democrats are cutting $716 million from Medicare, saying the truth is an analysis showed that government reimbursement is higher than the projected costs of care.

“(Obama) didn’t take a penny away from a single Medicare recipient,” Clinton said.

He also blasted Romney’s plan of cutting taxes on the wealthy in hopes of a “trickle-down” effect, saying that paying for all of those tax breaks will come at the expense of steep funding cuts in other important areas, such as education and alternative energy.

Clinton urged the crowd to make sure they vote early for Obama this week, or on Election Day on Tuesday, and encourage friends and family to also get out to the polls. Early voting in Wisconsin ends Friday.

Clinton was joined at the event by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse), who praised Clinton’s success in job creation as well as generating budget surpluses during his presidency.

Kind said Clinton and Obama are similar in that both inherited a recession and budget deficit. And as Clinton was able to turn the country around, Obama is also making progress. But Kind added there is still more work to do.

“Nobody is satisfied, not even the president, with where we are now,” Kind said. “We need to keep moving forward.”

Hundreds attended Clinton’s visit on Halloween night.

“My husband took our kids trick or treating. I stayed to hold our place in line,” said Miranda Pinno of Bloomer.

Pinno said she and her husband Brian wanted to take their three daughters to see a former U.S. president speak. It was also exciting for Pinno personally, as Clinton is her favorite politician.

Sue Mitchell of Eau Claire, who was impressed with Clinton’s speech at the Democratic convention, said she is surprised Wisconsin has become such a battleground state, as numerous high profile supporters of both Obama and Romney have made campaign stops around the state.

“I’m flabbergasted it’s even close,” she said.

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