SPOKANE, WASH. — CAMPAIGNING as though it were October, Bill Clinton pushed a breakneck pace Saturday as he opened his presidential run on the West Coast with an appeal to voters hungry for change and a new economic approach.
At a huge rally in a Spokane park where some people had waited four hours to see him, the Democratic presidential contender held himself out as the candidate of change and said the thousands-strong turnout proved Americans are yearning for something different.
In the fall White House race, Clinton said, "the other side will ask you to let your fears override your hopes."
"I want you to go home tonight and say, `I have the courage to change,' " Clinton said.
The Democratic candidate then asked for the help of Republicans and former Ross Perot supporters, too.
He jabbed at the Bush administration for fitting some psychologists' definition of "insanity."
"Doing the same old thing over and over again and expecting a different result.... That is the claim of the Bush-Quayle ticket for reelection," Clinton said.
He pounded on the need for change again at an evening rally in downtown Seattle where a crowd of 15,000 spilled onto neighboring streets, even though there was little chance of seeing the candidate or his motorcade.
People hung off of trees and lamp posts hoping to grab Clinton's hand.
Clinton, with a 20-hour day in Spokane and Seattle to launch his first trip to the West of the general election, said the packed schedule merely indicates that he wants "an aggressive campaign."
"We have a lot of American people to reach. There's 100 days left in this election. That's an eternity," Clinton said, asked why he was keeping such a frenetic schedule even though polls showed him coming out of the Democratic National Convention with a huge lead over President Bush.
"As far as I'm concerned, the polls are insignificant," the Arkansas governor said before leaving Little Rock.