The political poo-bahs came out last night for Hillary Clinton. General Wesley Clark, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, all gathered to support Hillary. NBC’s chief White House correspondent David Gregory was there and Nightline’s Terry Moran broadcast from out front.
The speech was held inside the Iowa historical society, surrounded by models of old-fashioned prop airplanes and a stuffed wooly mammoth. I was prepared to write an extended metaphor about the Clinton campaign as a political wooly mammoth, but I was surprisingly impressed by the night.
The characteristic Bill Clinton charm was in full-swing as he announced his wife, just in time for the 10 o’clock news. He joked about how America needs a president who can do the job, “while not getting too carried away being president, which is easy to do.” He then quickly bowed out, allowing his wife to be the star of the show.
The candidate’s speech clearly exhibited the power of her campaign. She spoke in an almost hushed tone: calm, clear, and comforting, yet confident and direct. The voice she used was almost matriarchal, which was particularly effective in the crowd laden with women and mothers, some with infants in their arms. A friend of mine remarked that it was an event mothers would want to attend with their daughters, so that in 20 years, they could tell their children, “I was there.”
I have never personally been a big fan of Hillary Clinton. I’ve said before that she is too entrenched in the corporate elite to bring about real change. But last night I witnessed the full force of a Hillary Clinton campaign. She might not win (in fact, I think she might come in third, behind Obama and Edwards), but last night’s speech was a powerful display from a political veteran.
For all the posts from the Iowa Caucuses, read the Utne Politics blog