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 STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, a noted Republican, says he thought long and hard before deciding against greeting Bill Clinton when the former president visited campus on behalf of his wife's presidential campaign.
Clinton pitched the Penn State ties of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday during a stop in State College, reminding the mostly youthful audience that her father and brother both played football at Penn State. In fact, brother Hugh Rodham, a 1972 graduate, was a backup quarterback under Paterno.
``I had a little bit of soul search I had to do when President Clinton was here the other day,'' Paterno said Saturday. He said he felt that perhaps he should welcome Clinton out of respect for his status as a former president.
But in the end, Paterno said, ``I didn't want to get into that because of my situation, because I couldn't vote for either one of them because I'm a Republican.'' He later declined to say whether he was supporting Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee.
Hilary Clinton's father grew up in Scranton and is buried there, and the former first lady still has relatives in Pennsylvania. During his visit, Bill Clinton also fondly recalled the ``Peachy Paterno'' ice cream at the school's creamery during an earlier visit to Happy Valley.
Paterno's son and quarterbacks coach, Jay Paterno, supports Clinton's rival, Sen. Barack Obama, who is scheduled to make a campaign stop at Penn State on Sunday. The younger Paterno said at the opening of Obama's campaign office in State College that his choice was rooted in what's best for his five children.
``The only thing I have for Jay is admiration for him because he's willing to do what he thinks is right,'' Paterno said. ``He's sticking his neck out for Obama.''
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