Hillary Clinton to speak in Rock Hill today

She waited until the last possible day, but Hillary Clinton will make it to Rock Hill after all. The former first lady is scheduled to visit this afternoon for an event at the Freedom Center, 215 E. Main St.

Clinton will give a speech and field audience questions during a 1:30 p.m. town hall meeting in the Family Life Center gymnasium. Doors open at 1. No tickets are required.

Clinton is the only major candidate from either party who hasn't yet campaigned in Rock Hill, though she sent former President Clinton to stump on her behalf in November. His appearance at the Freedom Center drew close to 1,000 people.

Organizers aren't expecting as many today; the campaign didn't ask for the sanctuary to be used as overflow seating, said Willie Lyles III, director of the Freedom Center. Clinton's stops on Thursday in Greenville and Anderson each attracted about 500 people.

Many election-watchers figured Clinton was all but conceding South Carolina in light of a string of polls that have shown her trailing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. But Clinton returned to the state Thursday and will stay until Saturday's Democratic primary, hoping a late push can keep her in contention.

At Clinton's field office just down the street from the Freedom Center, volunteers have spent months making phone calls, handing out campaign signs and organizing get-out-the-vote efforts under the direction of Rock Hill's Joyce Knott, a longtime organizer for U.S. Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.

"We've had a strong, aggressive campaign in Rock Hill," said Clinton S.C. spokesman Zac Wright. "We have an active ground game with our regional office. It was just a natural part of the campaign for her to be there."

The S.C. Democratic primary is Saturday.

On Wednesday, Obama drew more than 800 people to a town hall meeting at Winthrop University's McBryde Hall. John Edwards campaigned in Lancaster later that day and afterward made an unscheduled stop at A Place for Hope in the Blackmon Road community.