DOVER, N.H. – Hundreds of people waiting for President Clinton’s arrival craned their necks skyward Thursday morning as four government helicopters flew overhead.
Diane Rubino of Berwick, Maine, pointed her video camera at the sky. She and a co-worker took the morning off from the Berwick school department to see the president in person for the first time.
Rubino said she supported Clinton even through the Monica Lewinsky scandal and was grateful he chose New Hampshire as one of his last places to visit as president.
“I think it was a nice gesture. I think he is trying to touch base.”
Jim Levesque first saw Clinton speak in 1993, but he feels he has a much better perspective on Clinton’s job performance now.
“I thought he was pretty good then but I was much younger and didn’t have as much knowledge,” he said.
Jim is 14 years old.
Reflecting on Clinton’s accomplishments, he said he thought Clinton has been an effective leader.
“I liked the way he handled Kosovo,” he said.
Jim attended the event with classmates from the Center of Optimum Learning in Brentwood.
Members of a group trying to convince Clinton to squeeze in one more pardon were among the first to arrive outside Dover High School, where Clinton was to speak Thursday.
Supporters of American Indian activist Leonard Peltier arrived at 7:30 a.m., some carrying signs that said the “Indian Wars aren’t over.”
Peltier was convicted in 1975 of killing two FBI agents in South Dakota. He is serving consecutive life prison sentences.
Supporters say evidence against Peltier was falsified.
Matt Prescott, a 19-year-old University of New Hampshire student, said Clinton is Peltier’s last hope.
“He’s an old dying man who has been in jail for more than 20 years when he shouldn’t be. President Clinton has the rest of his term to free him. It will probably be the last chance he gets.”
Activists used Clinton’s visit to New Hampshire to urge a pardon for an American Indian activist convicted of killing two FBI agents.
The New Hampshire Leonard Peltier Support Group and members of two regional chapters of Amnesty International planned to demonstrate during the president’s visit to Dover and Manchester. They will ask Clinton to grant Peltier executive clemency.
Peltier was convicted in 1975 of killing two FBI agents who were searching for robbery suspects on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota. He is serving two consecutive life sentences in the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan.
Supporters contend that evidence against Peltier was falsified and that he was unjustly convicted.