Sunday, November 11, 2007

JJ, The Morning After

After what feels like an overnight nap...oh, yeah, that's what it was...after the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner, I found a few leftover tidbits for dessert.

I won't even get into the complaints from the campaigns and the media about how long the event went and how two of the most well-known candidates spoke way too long after the late local news had already ended and newspaper reporters had long seen their deadlines expire. I also won't get into those complaints about why the Iowa politicians couldn't speak much earlier (4 or 5 in the afternoon was the suggestion I heard most). I also won't get into the endless complaints I heard from activists in the upper deck, who couldn't understand why there was only one concession stand open to get food and drink. I won't get into all of that...

I did pick out some of JJ's best bites from each candidate (yes, for you second-tier candidate-lovers, we have included every candidate who spoke last night).

John Edwards led off before his throng of supporters in their white campaign t-shirts. He called Rudy Giuliani George Bush "on steroids" and the federal government "incompetent". A supporter urged him at one point to "Give 'em hell."
But his best bites threatened to take health care away from Washington politicians (I watched Hillary Clinton laugh and clap at that one) and his pledge to speak for everyone.

Bill Richardson came next. He had a fraction of the supporters Edwards brought (I did stop by Richardson's pre-party which featured fellow New Mexicans, Al and Bobby Unser, Sr.) They could have lapped the place who knows how many times just waiting for the event to start. (It began nearly 20 minutes after we were told it would). Richardson said when President, he would follow the Constitution and he wouldn't go to war without the backing of Congress.

But his best bites offered differences between the Dems on war, but added the Dems shouldn't go to war with each other.

Joe Biden spoke third (I'm excluding the speeches in between by the Iowa pols). He began by joking, "Hello, Chicago." He also said he was flattered to be speaking before the crowd. BTW, there were few visible signs of his support in that crowd. Other campaigns, including Richardson and Dodd, had some group of supporters filling the upper level of Vets Auditorium.

Biden's best bites offered an apology to a Republican candidate and a ride on a one-trick pony.

Chris Dodd had more followers than Biden, but way fewer than the others. He brought up that electability issue again (Hillary Clinton, are you listenin'?) And he joked about the long, long event. "Welcome to breakfast in Des Moines", Dodd told the crowd.

But his best bites brought back memories on a stick and pledges on his right hand.

Hillary Clinton took the stage more than 3 1/2 hours after the event's scheduled start time. Her yellow-clad, thunderstick-thumping fans filled much of the upper deck. She did have at least several dozen empty seats in her sections by the time she spoke. The Obamas both stood and clapped when she began and ended her speech (I didn't see Richardson or Dodd do either).

Clinton's best bites brought her back to the kitchen and heating things up thanks to her pre-coached crowd.

Obama ended the night (finally, taking the stage around 11pm). His campaign claimed 3,000 of the 9,000 in attendance, dressed in red, many wearing some type of glowing rings on their heads and around their necks. He said he doesn't do things based on the polls (Senator Clinton, are you around? BTW, she didn't go back to her seat after her speech. I was told she worked the room a bit with her special guest, Quincy Jones, while Obama spoke).

Obama's best bites explained what he doesn't want for his girls and your boys and how he won't forget what it means to stand up.

I'm now going to sleep.

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