CARY - Former President Bill Clinton's appearances Friday in Charlotte and Cary signaled the launch of Hillary Clinton's campaign in North Carolina. The state's May 6 primary is more than a month away, but both campaigns are already heavily invested in the state. Barack Obama made his first N.C. campaign appearances last week in Charlotte and Fayetteville. "I think the focus has really turned to us, and I think people are finally realizing that North Carolina is really essential for either candidate," said Amanda Vaughn, director of Heels for Hillary at UNC. Both candidates have paid close attention to the issues that most concern North Carolinians. In Charlotte, Bill Clinton spoke at Stonewall Jackson VFW Post No. 1160 to a crowd of about 80, mostly veterans and their family members. He tailored his speech to the mainly military audience by focusing on the war in Iraq and the economy. His speech at the Cary Senior Center reflected the broader swath of the electorate present - although he elaborated most on the economy and health care, he also touched on green development, college affordability and the war in Iraq. About 500 people were in attendance in Cary, representing all age groups of the population. About 275 people made it inside, while the rest sat on the lawn outside the center and listened to the speech over loudspeakers. Kim Drum and her daughter Brittany Bentley drove three hours from Hickory and received a speeding ticket to see Bill Clinton speak but didn't arrive early enough to get a seat inside. Bentley said that after paying $90 to fill up her Ford Explorer, she especially appreciated the emphasis on alternative energy. Bill Clinton's involvement in his wife's campaign has introduced an unprecedented dynamic in the presidential race. Cary resident Suzanne Graham said the former president would be an invaluable but not crucial advantage for Hillary. "That's a wonderful asset, but I think she can stand on her own two feet," Graham said. "She has a lengthy experience in domestic and worldwide issues." Charlotte audience member Diana Price said Bill Clinton's involvement could also have advantages for voters. "With Hillary we get two for one," she said. But not all approved of his prominent participation in his wife's campaign. "As an ex-president, he should not be in the campaign," said Cary resident Saadat Siddiqui, arguing that it tilted the field in Hillary's favor. Bill Clinton used his time to talk at length about his wife's experience and spent little on her Democratic opponent, never referring to Barack Obama by name at either event. Cary resident Gloria Neal said she was surprised Obama's name never came up. "I thought that he should have named the other candidate," Neal said. "The omission was kind of glaring." Even if not mentioned, Obama is still on the minds of North Carolinians. He spoke in Fayetteville on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War on Wednesday. His speech emphasized his anti-war stance, a position he charges that Hillary Clinton has taken only since the start of her presidential campaign. Senior writers Sara Gregory and Max Rose contributed reporting Contact the State & National Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.