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Chelsea Clinton attends Maui campaign rally

February 17, 2008
Claudine San Nicolas
WAILUKU -- A Maui crowd cheered former first daughter Chelsea Clinton as she did her best to dance hula this afternoon in the courtyard of the David K. Trask Building in Wailuku.

"I'm sorry if I embarrassed you with my hula efforts," the 27-year-old Clinton said during an hourlong visit at "Maui No Ka Oi" rally for her mother, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

A crowd of about 300 people welcomed Chelsea Clinton with campaign signs, cheers, applause and many lei.

"She looks exactly like you see her on TV," said Elaine Slavinsky, a one-time local political candidate who described herself Sunday as an "observer" at the event.

"It's just so encouraging to see all these signs," Clinton said following her Maui welcome.

She was greeted on the street by the Maui All Star Cheerleaders, a team of girls 13 to 18 years old, who performed a cheer. Another set of girls from Halau Hula O Keola Alii O Ke Kai danced for Clinton.

At the urging of former Mayor James "Kimo" Apana, the Hillary Clinton campaign coordinator for Maui, Chelsea Clinton joined the hula dancers on stage for a short dance.

"She's cool," said Emily Ferreira, a 9-year-old Haiku dancer.

Sixteen-year-old cheerleader Tabitha Asao of Kahului readily admitted she did not know about the issues of the presidential campaign. But she was impressed by Chelsea Clinton and, like many of those attending today's event, was given a chance to have her photograph taken with Clinton and get an autograph.

"It's a good thing that she's supporting her mom," Asao said.

Chelsea Clinton's weekend visit to Hawaii has featured mostly public appearances on Oahu, where she spent most of her time asking people to support her mother's bid for president.

On Maui, she expressed thanks to the crowd, encouraging them to participate in Tuesday's Democratic caucuses. Hillary Clinton is in a tight race to win delegate votes against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii and graduated from Punahou School on Oahu.

Chelsea Clinton was accompanied to Maui by Hawaii Senate President Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, and she had the backing of the county's three state senators -- Roz Baker of Lahaina, Shan Tsutsui of Wailuku and J. Kalani English of Hana.

For more on this story, see Monday's issue of The Maui News.

Article Photos

The Maui News / AMANDA COWAN photo
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton greets supporters during a rally today for her mother, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the David K. Trask Building in Wailuku.



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