It’s a fine line between campaigning for Hillary Clinton and introducing Bill Clinton, who was campaigning for Hillary Clinton. But Community College of Rhode Island President Meghan Hughes didn’t cross it yesterday, the school said, when she introduced the 42nd president of the United States who came to the CCRI to help his spouse become the 45th.
“President Hughes was not campaigning for Hillary Clinton,” said school spokesman Richard Coren. “Nowhere in her remarks was there a mention of Hillary Clinton. Her remarks yesterday focused on the wonderful opportunity that this presented our students as they were able to witness and experience, first-hand, a part of the political process.”
Coren said, “With a former President of the United States appearing on our campus, along with many other state dignitaries, it was expected and appropriate for the college president to give welcoming remarks. Her remarks yesterday focused on the wonderful opportunity that this presented our students as they were able to witness and experience, first-hand, a part of the political process.”
In an email to CCRI staff, Hughes wrote, “While the school does not take a position with regard to any political race, we do open our campuses to political candidates. In doing so, all of us have the opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the American political process. I encourage those of you who are eligible to participate in the upcoming election to educate yourself about all of the candidates and exercise your right to vote this fall.”
Clinton paid $1,660 for use of the “lower commons” – what students know as the cafeteria. “The Clinton campaign was invoiced the standard space rental fee for the day plus the cost of an electrician and two security officers,” Coren said.
The invoice was signed by Edna O’Neill Mattson, the facilities coordinator at CCRI. O’Neill Mattson is also the national committeewoman of the state Democratic Party and a superdelegate who intends to vote for Hillary Clinton.