President Clinton gives nod to campaign group

The 1992 Presidential Election changed the face of Arkansas politics, and put the state on the map with the election of President Bill Clinton.

Behind much of campaigning was one special group from the Natural State.

President Clinton visited his library Saturday night to speak to many of the same faces that fought through challenges in '92 and '96 to make the born and raised Arkansan a two-term president.

Not to be confused with Little Rock's Double-A baseball team, a group originally called 'Friends of Bill,' transformed into the 'Arkansas Travelers,' and swung for the fences, with high hopes their good friend would one day be president.

"We could also address issue and policy and things like that because we knew it and we'd been with him through five elections," said Sheila Galbraith Bronfman, one of the original organizers.

"Basically Arkansans know how to campaign they know how to do retail politics."

Bronfman said its biggest challenge wasn't picking up and going from town-to-town across the nation, or even campaigning for a small state governor.

"We didn't have (a) GPS, we didn't have e-mail, we didn't have cell phones. We did all of this with faxes, typewriters and 'snail mail,' and things like that," she added. "Communication was probably the biggest thing."

In the end, the group turned a small dream into urging Americans to elect their faithful friend president not once, but twice.

"Our friend the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton," Bronfman said with glee as she introduced the keynote speaker Saturday.

To this day, it's an effort that still amazes President Clinton.

"I never will get over what they did for me," the President said. "We went from low 30s, we were sinking like a rock heading down to single-digits, and they turned it around in a matter of days."

An exhibit called "Making Politics Personal: The Story of the Arkansas Travelers," will begin Sunday at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.