Live Blog: Bill Clinton fires up Cedar Rapids crowd for Hillary’s 2016 campaign

Live Blog: Bill Clinton fires up Cedar Rapids crowd for Hillary’s 2016 campaign

2:11 p.m. Bill leaves the room through a back door after briefly greeting the audience. The room clears after Bill’s exit.

2:06 p.m. Bill finishes his stump and the crowd gives a standing ovation. Audience members rush to the front of the room to shake hands with the former president and take photos.

2:02 p.m. Bill on Hillary’s preparedness: “I don’t believe in my lifetime we’ve ever had a president who was more prepared, not just by temperament but by experience, to step into this mix of prominence and peril.”

1:55 p.m. Bill says Hillary has the temperament and experience to manage the presidency. “From the first day I met her to right now, she never touched anything that she didn’t make better,” he said. He called Hillary the greatest “change-maker” he has ever known.

1:49 p.m. “Even I didn’t think she could do that,” Bill says on Hillary’s work on the Iran nuclear deal. “We need someone strong enough to stand their ground and wise enough to find common ground,” Bill says on the president approaching foreign affairs.

1:48 p.m. Bill on Republicans: “We cannot allow the other party to be in control of the White House.” He says we need to prevent backsliding on issues of gay marriage, climate change and healthcare.

1:46 p.m.  When Bill mentions Hillary’s efforts to combat autism and Alzheimer’s, an audience member shouts out that Hillary should also focus on Parkinson’s. Bill tells her that his former attorney general, Janet Reno, suffers from the debilitating disease, and that progress has been made in the fight against Parkinson’s through genome-mapping.

1:45 p.m. Bill on law enforcement reform: “[We] need to knit the police in the community back together.”

1:40 p.m. Bill is now speaking on opiate and heroin addiction, which he views as a major concern. “This is one area where we can work in a bipartisan fashion,” he says.

1:34 p.m. Bill says he views Obama’s recent executive actions on gun control through the lens of a young boy who used to duck-hunt in Arkansas. “Just like any other constitutional right, it’s subject to reasonable checks,” he says of the 2nd Amendment. Bill says America needs to be “one country” that trusts its politicians will never take away the guns citizens use for hunting, sport shooting or protection.

1:30 p.m. Bill is reemphasizing one of the main themes of Hillary’s stump: the country can’t afford to undo the progress made during Barack Obama’s administration. “This election in my opinion is about how to restore broad based prosperity,” he said. “In a fundamental way, that’s what this election is about.”

1:27 p.m. Bill recounts meeting Hillary at Yale: “I’ve known her for 45 years this month,” he said. “I saw Hillary in a class that I’m embarrassed to tell you I attended infrequently.” He said they first spoke one night in the Yale library. Bill said she told him, “Look if you’re going to keep staring at me and I’m going to keep staring back, we should at least know each other’s names. I’m Hillary Rodham. What’s your name?”

1:16 p.m. Bill Clinton enters the room accompanied by Pastor Damian Epps of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids. “I have the pleasure of introducing not only our former president, but the husband of Hillary Clinton, our future president,” Epps says.

1:13 p.m. The event’s start time was listed as 12:45 p.m., but Clinton has yet to appear onstage. We haven’t heard a speaker since Gabriella a half-hour earlier. Staffers are starting to fill in the reserved, front-row seats.

1 p.m. Clinton has yet to appear onstage. At least 50 attendees still pack the museum entrance, hoping to catch a glimpse of the former president. Roughly a dozen journalists stand on rafters at the rear of the ballroom alongside their network’s cameras. Photojournalists stalk the room searching for their next shot. “Roar” by Katy Perry is playing for the fifth time.

12:30 p.m. A Clinton organizer named Gabriella tells the story of her adolescence as an undocumented resident. She asks attendees to connect with other organizers in the audience, fill out shift cards for the final days before the Feb. 1 caucuses and use their phones to spread support for the former Secretary of State on social media.

12:20 p.m. Though attendees of Hillary Clinton’s rally in Council Bluffs Tuesday night were made to pass through metal detectors by Secret Service members, the crowd here merely passes by two state officers on their way in. No bags are being checked.

12:18 p.m. Bill Clinton is visiting Cedar Rapids, Iowa today in his official capacity as a stumping surrogate for his wife’s 2016 campaign. Hundreds of potential caucus-goers are slowly packing in here at the city’s National Czech and Slovak Museum & Library, leaving only standing room in the chandelier-accented ballroom.