Hillary Clinton Los Angeles Fundraiser
by Todd Beeton, Fri Apr 04, 2008 at 10:21:23 AM EDT
Hillary was here in California for a 2-day swing during which she appeared on Jay Leno, taped Ellen and held several fundraisers, which reportedly netted her a cool million. Since last night's LA event was open to media I was lucky enough to attend. It was at a theatre in Beverly Hills and the media was confined to the back few rows in the center, which still felt close since it really wasn't that big a theatre. The fundraiser was relatively low dollar, ranging from $100 on up so you saw a sort of mix of minor celebrities and regular folks, a lot of women with their daughters, actually.
Before Hillary came on, she had a sort of opening act, which actually turned out to be a hard act to follow: the West LA Children's Choir. These kids absolutely brought the house down with a song that offered a bit of advice for Senator Clinton:
When the going gets tough that's when the tough get going
It's not if you win or lose it's if you play the game
Keep on going!
Keep on going!
I took a little video of it, although it's sort of hard to make out what they're saying, but thought some of you would appreciate seeing it.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa followed the kids and pumped the crowd up, praising Hillary for being a fighter, "a marathon runner" and "tough enough to turn America around." The place, as you would expect, went nuts. The clear message, as Rob Reiner put it in his introduction of Hillary a few minutes later: "We are going to keep on going and going and keep going!"
Hillary came out a short time later, spoke for about 15 minutes and then was joined on stage by Reiner, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Daphne Zuniga and Fran Drescher, who read questions submitted by attendees, which Clinton proceeded to answer townhall meeting style. Because she was on stage, literally with friends and because everyone there by definition was a supporter, you could sense Clinton was at ease, far moreso than she appeared on Jay Leno I thought. But really, any time I see Hillary Clinton do a townhall event like this I leave even more impressed with her. I sometimes get the sense that a lot of Obama supporters think "gee, if only Clinton supporters attended a Barack rally, they'd change their minds." That's sort of how I feel about what would happen if Obama supporters attended a Clinton townhall meeting. She was just a master up there.
Back to her opening remarks, though, other than sending the message about continuing on in the campaign, the talking point of the night was regarding Michigan and Florida. Both Rob Reiner in his intro and Hillary Clinton in her remarks framed the issue as the disenfranchisement of millions of voters, which really got the crowd exercised I have to say, especially when Clinton phrased it in these terms:
I thought it was Democrats who wanted to count every vote. If we had counted every vote in 2000 Al Gore would be finishing his second term.
She went on to make the case for seating the delegates per the January primaries:
It was a level playing field in Florida, we were all on the ballot...In Michigan we all had the chance to be on the ballot, my opponent chose to take his off.
As for what should be done now:
We have to either count their votes or allow them to re-vote.
She went on to accuse Obama of thwarting a re-vote in Michigan and got this little dig in:
I don't know what Barack Obama was afraid of, he would have done very well in Michigan.
This crowd -- granted, full of Clinton partisans -- was very moved by the enfranchisement argument and it's clear that Clinton thinks it's a winning one and will continue to make it by raising the spectre of 2000. But even if the delegates from these two states don't get seated as Clinton would like, Rob Reiner hinted at what's really going on here in his introductory remarks.
We're Democrats, we let everyone vote. If at the end of the process, there's a candidate who has more votes...When all the dust settles and Puerto Rico has voted, you're going to see that more people voted for Hillary Clinton.
Shorter Rob Reiner: Hillary's path to the nomination is the popular vote, stupid.
I have another video from the event, this one of Hillary during her opening remarks, at my You Tube page. The quality sort of sucks, especially the audio, so not really worthy of embedding here, but if you're interested check it out.