Black, Hispanic, disabled, old, middle aged, young, students, everyone
was included. Talk about melting pot and you're talking about Clinton's audience
today in North Las Vegas. A stump speech gathering and town hall question and
answer period is different from a health care forum or the presidential candidate debates. It was a chance to see what Clinton delivers across America, day after
day after day. It didn't move me or the media sitting around watching
it, but the same cannot be said for Clinton's fans that packed the auditorium, which holds between 3,000-3,600, depending on whom you ask. The most striking thing besides the audience today was the school in which
the event was held: Canyon
Springs High School and the Leadership and Law Prepatory Academy, which
is a high achievement magnet school that is very new. The message was clear.
But first the announcements, a “Governors Council,” as well as a
Hispanic Leadership Council, with an African American Leadership Council established
just recently, in fact I think they said last night, but it was hard to hear.
The Governors Council is a national panel of current and former top state
executives who will advise the campaign on policy issues and both state and
regional outreach strategies.
Translation: networks in states across the country to tap into voters in states
where governors and other “former top state executives” can help the
Clinton camp. Former Nevada Governor Miller, the longest serving in the state's
history, was named co-chair. Miller is a principle of Dutko
Worldwide, and also worked to elect Bill Clinton.
Another announcement, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
endorsed Clinton today. Governor Richardson is making light of the move, but it's anything but small.
Things that stood out in Clinton's speech today included a tidbit that when
figuring out the number of prison beds to be included in a new facility, third
grade reading classes and the scores of those students often tell the long-term
tale. Pay for schooling now, or “pay on the back end,” said Clinton.
That's why she's for pre-kindergarten for all four year old children. Clinton also told a story about Madeleine Albright going back to her home in the Czech Republic and seeing American flags with forty-eight stars on them. These flags had been saved and passed down from generation to generation, cherished by the Czech people after their liberation. It was a moment meant to convey what our country means to the world. It worked.
Of course, Candidate Clinton didn't miss the opportunity to remind everyone
of Bill, and why should she? In the 90s, the economy worked for everybody, she said. She and Bill
didn't have money when they were in the White House, but now Bill has started
makin' it. That's fine with her. She also made sure to point out that
though the stock market is doing well, the middle class is “running to
stay in place” and getting nowhere.
When Clinton talked about ending the war in Iraq it was her first standing
ovation, that is besides the thunderous applause she got when she was first introduced. She got several big applause lines on the war, including the one where
she says if Bush doesn't end the war, “as president, I will.” This
wasn't an event for specifics on Iraq, however.
The questions she took from the audience were as follows. Sorry no audio, besides my tech troubles, the
sound just didn't cut it.
- What about the ERA; young people don't seem to understand how hard women
fought for equal pay? Clinton brought up the Supreme Court decision yesterday,
which she boiled down to SCOTUS telling the woman who sued that “she
didn't complain soon enough.” She said, “We're going to change that
law,” working with senators and representatives.
- How to rebound and heal the healthcare system. Clinton: not just about uninsured;
must cut costs for those insured; insurance companies can't keep doing busines
the way they are today. (That last one got big applause.)
- What about affordable housing for seniors and the homeless? Clinton responded
that “we need a federal program to help.” (Lost me on that answer.)
- Immigration. Clinton's for a “comprehensive” immigration plan:
tighten the border, but add more border agents too; hold employers accountable,
because unless we do people will continue to stream in for jobs; work with
and convince “our neighbors to the south” that they need to do something
about providing jobs for their people; bring the 12 million “out of the
shadows,” but deport the criminals.
- What about a draft. Clinton: emphatic no.
- Long, rambling statement and question about foreign involvement in war. Clinton said she'd be more
thoughtful about when we engage.
- Hispanic gentlemen stood up and gave a pro Clinton mini speech.
Oh, and by the way, the questioners were picked at random by Candidate Clinton. Nothing stacked.
Clinton also made a strong point of talking about solar energy and wind power.
This cannot be said enough to the people of Nevada. It borders on the morally negligent that Nevada hasn't done both by now. It's something I just do not understand.
Candidate Clinton stayed for an hour, then asked people to feel free to stay
afterwards. She took pictures with the audience from the stage, Secret Service
at the ready. But this was an audience of adoring fans. They cheered on cue.
They believe in Hillary Clinton. There was a feeling of excitement and building
momentum among the crowd and among those to whom I spoke. They sure didn't get
the sense that this was a speech she gives all the time across the country,
in state after state, or that this event was anything but just for them. It
was likely a picture perfect microcosm of what's happening across this country
from Candidate Clinton and her campaign. Sure it's a full out pep rally, but
it's a formidable operation.