Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Vibe.com@DNC :: Day 2: Night Of The Hillary Voters

Last night, Hillary Clinton asked of her supporters, “Were you in this campaign just for me?”

And for the past two days, it has been easy to spot women here—mostly white and in their 40s or 50s, but some African Americans too—gripping Hillary placards and arguing with Obama supporters in the streets. McCain supporters have been opportunistic, running through town chanting, “Clintons for McCain”.

So Hillary’s speech tonight was well anticipated. Most of the tens of thousands credentialed to enter the Pepsi Center came early to grab their seats. By 8 p.m., it was standing-room only.

Even San Francisco Assessor Phil Ting—the co-chair of Asian Americans for Hillary Clinton, a group that helped give her part of the margin in the Super Tuesday California primary—had to find a seat in the aisle high up in the press section, so high Rita Marley would have approved.

He might have been pardoned for thinking, is this what voting for experience gets you? And yet Ting—like the thousands of Hillary delegates whose votes have not yet been released, and whom the media were picking off for quotes left and right as they left the Pepsi Center—sounded a conciliatory tone.

“Look, this election was historic. You had women and you had African American voters, and in order to move forward, we can’t lose a single person. We have to go into November with unity,” Ting said. “The Asian Americans who supported Hillary that I know are all going to vote for Barack Obama.”

Loretta Tuell, a Beltway lobbyist and organizer from Hillary’s Native American outreach committee, also said she was getting behind Obama. But she admitted that Hillary’s Tuesday speech was bittersweet.

“I feel like she’s done all the right things, that she’s qualified to run for president,” she said, still speaking in the present tense.

Did Loretta think Hillary was the right person for the wrong time?

She took a deep breath and said, “I don’t think that her career is over. I think at this time, at this moment, it wasn’t hers to take. But you can look at history and say that of many people.”

“It’s not over for Hillary, and that’s the exciting part for me,” she said.

But the more she talked, the more she seemed pained. “I tell you I was surprised in the beginning in how difficult it was for me to get past the energy and all the spirit you put behind a campaign.”

“Towards the end, [the campaign] learned their lessons but they learned them too late,” she said. “As supporters you could see that if there were enough time, we could be the nominee. Being so close, it hurts.”

Tuell wanted Hillary to be offered the choice to decide whether or not to be vice president. She felt that Hillary had earned that respect. “People aren’t anti-Biden,” she said. “They’re just disappointed.”

She felt that Obama’s campaign reached out to Clinton’s campaign and her supporters too slowly. “I think as a party you could never take for granted any constituency,” she said. “All constituencies need to be respected and heard.”

She did feel that the unity efforts were accelerating. “But you don’t want to feel disenfranchised from your own party and that’s what folks are feeling a little bit,” she said. “Words are important, but actions count. And action is what we’re lacking. I think if you put your actions into words you’ll get a unified party.”

posted by @ 8:50 pm | 1 Comment

One Response to “Vibe.com@DNC :: Day 2: Night Of The Hillary Voters”

  1. ronnie brown says:

    if Hillary/Bill sandbag Obama, they should never receive another Black vote…period!

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