Blytheville Officials Forced to Close Main Street in Order to Accommodate Clinton Crowd - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Blytheville, AR -- Melissa Simas reports

Blytheville Officials Forced to Close Main Street in Order to Accommodate Clinton Crowd

July 29, 2004 - Posted at 6:30 p.m. Cdt

Blytheville, AR - Former President Clinton chose Region 8 as his first stop in Arkansas to promote his memoir "My Life."

Clinton nestled in for hours inside "That Book Store in Blytheville" on Thursday signing copies of his book. The signing was limited to only 1,000 people.

Many nicknames have been used to describe the former President over the years, from a rock star to Elvis, only fitting then that his arrival in Blytheville was welcomed by fans who have loved him over the years.

"In person he just makes you feel like you're talking to your neighbor he's very affable," said Debbie Barnett from Blytheville.

It wasn't only Region 8 fans who waited in line sweating in the afternoon sun, Maxine Steele came all the way from Illinois, even though she's suffering from cancer in the skull, hip, and back.

Maxine's always worked for the democratic party, so her grandson found it fitting to take her on this journey. To her surprise, Maxine even found herself sitting in the front of the line at one point.

"I would like to get a hug, but I know you can't do that, but I'm going to tell him that he's one of the best President's we've had," said Steele.

If you haven't had a chance to read the over 900 pages of Clinton's life, you can expect to find quite a tail about Arkansas and Region 8.

In one part, Clinton describes his campaign in Northeast Arkansas while running for Governor. He found himself at midnight in a beer joint in Joiner. There someone told him it would be the only place in the county he would win. That ended up being true.

Clinton also writes about industry in Jonesboro, Trumann, and the countless people who have supported him from Arkansas.

"I think it's great that he's from Arkansas and representing Arkansas, I think that's wonderful," said Sandy Brown of Gosnell.

And by the way, Maxine Steele did get her hug.

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