Sunday, October 28, 2012

Clinton Comes To Waterbury

Last week, Linda McMahon was able to get the Governor of New Jersey to stump for her in Waterbury. This week, Chris Murphy brought us former President Bill Clinton. Oh yeah! Sorry, Linda, but a former President definitely trumps a Governor from some other state.

I was one of the lucky 2,500 people who got tickets. There was a little bit of last-minute change to the schedule, due to the impending "Frankenstorm." I sympathize with every political campaign being impacted by the storm--they're already exhausted, heading into the last week of campaigning after many months of effort, and now they've got one more thing to juggle. Then again, we did this last year too, only then it was snow!

I wasn't able to get good photos of Clinton. We were told in advance that no cameras would be allowed, and I didn't want to be kicked out or have my camera confiscated, so I followed the rules and brought only my cell phone. Of course, the no-camera rule is completely illogical when you consider that pretty much every audience member took photos with their cell phones, and none of the security guards or ushers seemed to care. Oh well.

For those of you who missed it, here's a random snippet of President Clinton's speech supporting Chris Murphy for Senate:

There were several other speakers: Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Esty, Senator Blumenthal, Governor Malloy, Lt. Gov. Wyman, and Mayor O'Leary.

Chris Murphy had a very good description of how hard this campaign has been (as did Blumenthal, who said that he knows how hard it is to go up against a "$50 million attack machine"). Murphy said that when he got the phone call telling him that President Clinton was coming, he "straightened his spine" and reminded himself that "we can do this."

Governor Malloy started with a speech about the impending hurricane. It was a good speech, in that he successfully instilled fear of the storm in me. When he emphasized that this will be a 36-hour storm, and that normal storms stick around for only 6 to 12 hours, I got very anxious. I started thinking maybe I should run to the store and buy supplies of some sort, I don't know what, maybe a generator and some water. At this point, judging from photos being posted on Facebook, there's no point trying to buy anything. The bread aisles are empty.

I had been hoping to get a really good seat. The event was originally planned for Library Park, which might have been nicer in terms of getting close, but the Palace was definitely warmer. I can't complain too much about where I was seated, except that there was no chance of shaking Clinton's hand. Darn!

The view from my seat on the mezzanine. We were originally one row back.
Half way through the event, the loggia seats opened up, and many of us moved up a row.

The doors were scheduled to open at 2 p.m. We arrived at 1:15, at which point the line stretched from the Palace to WAMS.

Linda McMahon sent some of her campaigners to wave signs at us while we stood in line. Seems like a real wasted effort, considering that pretty much everyone standing in line is a Democrat, and the majority of people standing in line have probably contributed to her opponent's campaign.

Today was also the walk/race held by St. Vincent DePaul. Walk in Their Footsteps/Race for Awareness is a fundraiser for the mission. The racers were cheered on as they passed by the line of people waiting to enter the Palace.

It was cold and a little breezy. We watched the storm clouds roll in while we waited in line.

Here comes Sandy!

The program started pretty quickly once we got inside. Mayor O'Leary was joined on stage by a group of kids from the PAL program. They led us in the pledge of allegiance. Side note: I've been noticing that very few people actually pledge their allegiance. Most people start with "to the flag."

Mayor O'Leary and PAL

 Although I wasn't able to get very close, it was still awesome to be in the same room as President Clinton. I didn't think it would be, but as soon as he walked on stage, I was moved with emotion, thinking "oh wow, it's really him!" I'm not usually much of a groupie. I don't get excited if I see a celebrity in real life. But some people are larger than life, and have done so much with their lives that I can't help being impressed. Bill Clinton is one of those people.

Chris Murphy and Bill Clinton.

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