Obama reaches out to HRC supporters in Minnesota
by KeithPickering, Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 05:51:22 AM EDT
One of the underreported stories about Barack Obama's visit to Minnesota on Tuesday night is what happened afterwards: in a private room in the Xcel Center, Barack and Michelle Obama held a reception for prominent local supporters of Hillary Clinton.
As usual, the story is found only in MinnPost.com, which is quickly becoming the premier source for Minnesota politics, scooping both of the local pulp-printed newspapers.
The list of local Clinton supporters was long and stellar: Buck Humphrey (Hubert's grandson), former Secretary of State Joan Growe, Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson, superdelegate Jackie Stevenson, and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (no relation to Senator Norm Coleman).
Obama did not just leave the arena. Nor did he head to the nearest television camera or the nearest fat cat.
Instead, he went to a room where the Clinton supporters had been gathered and one by one, shook the hands of the 25 people, stopping to chat with each of them.
"Chris (Coleman) walked around the room with him,'' said Stevenson, "and introduced each one of us.''
It was really pretty extraordinary.
"He shook my hand and said, 'Thank you for being here; I'm sure it's not easy,' '' said Stevenson of her meeting with Obama. "I thanked him and said that everyone involved in his campaign had been so gracious. I didn't know what to say, so I mentioned that my daughter works for a federal health clinic. And he knew right away which program I was talking about. He said, 'Oh that's wonderful.' ''
Stevenson, a feminist and Clinton supporter, had to admit this: "He's very impressive.''
I met Mayor Coleman while standing in line for the event. He was working the line with a couple of staffers in Rice Park, and stopped to chat for a few moments. I complemented him on Rice Park (one of the nicest places in St. Paul) and its ground-level statue of St. Paul literary lion F. Scott Fitzgerald. I had never met Coleman before, but he struck me as a class act, very personable and friendly, and obviously someone who understands what's happening in this country, and with this campaign.
The whole evening had been filled with similar graciousness and kindness, Stevenson said. She had arrived at the building with Humphrey, and as they were taken to their seats, people kept stopping to hug them and thank them for being there. Laughing, she spoke of how she decided she needed to make a trip to the restroom before Obama's speech. Again, people kept stopping her to shake her hand. "Finally, I just had to wave and leave or I would have missed the speech,'' she said.
With continuing efforts like this one in St. Paul, Obama will be able to unify this party for the election in November. Once again, Obama shows why he is such a formidible candidate and the best person for the job.
Cross-posted at Daily Kos (where it made the rec list).