Clinton's comments at DNC reference Region 8 man

Clinton's comments at DNC reference Region 8 man
(Source: CNN)
Jim DuPree (Source: Will DuPree)
Jim DuPree (Source: Will DuPree)

JACKSON COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - When former president Bill Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, he made multiple mentions of his time in Arkansas.

Part of his speech touched on a comment made to him decades ago when he served as governor of the Natural State.

The comment was made by a Region 8 man, who happens to be the grandfather of former Region 8 reporter Will DuPree.

Will lives and works as a reporter in Tulsa now, but we were able to catch up with him about the anecdote, and what it meant to his grandfather.

"It's kind of funny that we've heard this all of our lives and it just shows up on the national stage," Will said.

Growing up, the DuPrees of Jackson County heard stories of their grandfather's interactions with the Clinton family.

Jim DuPree served on the Arkansas State Board of Education for years. He was even president of the organization at one time.

"He worked with Hillary Clinton and then Governor Clinton quite a bit," Will said.

Will remembers how impressed his grandfather was, not so much with Bill, but with Hillary.

"He always said Hillary Clinton was one of the smartest people he met," Will said. "He had the guts to say that to Bill Clinton too."

The comments made to Bill Clinton, who has always been known for his impeccable memory, never slipped his mind.

"My grandfather had seen him a few times over the last few decades and my grandfather said to me today that Bill Clinton always brings that up to him," Will said.

But the DuPrees didn't realize just how much of an impact Jim's comments made on him until Clinton's speech Tuesday night.

When the former president took the stage at the DNC, he recalled a moment that happened more than two decades ago when he was trying to pass a sales tax to give raises to teachers.

"I knew it would be hard to pass, but it got easier after Hillary testified before the education committee and the chairman, a plainspoken farmer, said 'looks to me like we elected the wrong Clinton,'" Clinton said.

That "plainspoken farmer" was Jim DuPree. Will said his grandfather, who is in his 80s now, has had some health issues recently.

"It's really hit him and it's made him feel a little bit down, but this moment...I mean, sitting back and hearing this comment that he made to Bill Clinton all these years ago, it just, it made him excited," Will said. "It made him smile, which we were all hoping would happen sometime soon. It just happened to be this moment that did it."

Will said though he watched the Democratic National Convention, he didn't make the connection between Clinton's comments and his grandfather until the next morning when his mom called him and told him about it.

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