It had the feel and passion of a real campaign. And the crowd sensed it and picked up on it. More than 5000 people packed into the Pier 30 warehouse and adjoining room. Many were not able to get in the main room. Cars were bumper to bumper along the waterfront and and parked everywhere. And people streamed along the sidewalk. Many parked over a mile away.
The event was in an out of the way place with no bus connection but people still found their way. I asked a number of people around me if they were just curious or undecided or committed and most were strong Clinton backers and said they were definitely attending the caucuses on Saturday at 1 PM.
Hillary flew in from Virginia and roused the crowd which had patiently waited about an hour for her arrival. Former Governor Gary Locke and King County Executive Ron Sims and Congressman Jay inslee gave brief comments but the main event was Hillary and she did not disappoint.
Clinton started about by noting that Congressman Norm Dicks is now supporting her, joining Inslee, Sims, Locke, Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, Lt Governor Brad Owen and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.
Clinton said this election is about the future of our country – we can either have more of the same with John McCain or we can go in a new direction with the Democrats. It is not an ordinary time. She said we can become an innovation nation pushing for clean energy and combating global warming like Washington State is taking the lead on.
“We need a President ready on Day One, a President with ideas and know how … a commander in chief and a hands on manager” because there is “so much damage to repair” from the Bush Presidency.
She made a strong plug for a new energy future based on green jobs because we need “to transform how we use energy” describing it as “one of the most important challenges facing us.” She asked people to join with her in pushing for clean energy “to transform America and the world so that the future is there for our children and grandchildren and the next generation.”
Clinton said as President she would make sure the American government is on the side of all Americans, not just the wealthy; calling it “unfair that a $50 million/yr investment banker” pays a lower percentage of their income in taxes “than a $50,000/ year teacher.”
“It’s not right to give tax aid” to companies “moving jobs out of America”. Stressing the need to create new jobs and be responsible, Clinton said Bush squandered it all on war in Iraq. “George Bush left us so deep in debt, we borrow money from China, to pay for oil we buy from Saudi Arabia.” The crowd roared.
“Our greatest hope is clean renewable energy” stressed Clinton. She detailed her proposals for green jobs, praising the work of Senator Cantwell and Congressman Jay Inslee pushing for more renewable energy and touting the potential for green jobs and exportable technology.
Included was a proposal to create a Strategic Energy Fund out of money received by ending the excess profits given to oil companies like Exxon Mobil that received special tax breaks that have contributed to their record profits at the expense of American consumers.
Saying she would work for a new agreement on greenhouse gases within a year of her becoming President, she emphasized it would include China and India. But she noted “We can’t do it until the two oilmen leave the White House.” Again the crowd cheered.
On other issues she said she would “end the Bush War on Science.” She will ask Congress to send her the stem cell research bill and she would sign it.
She detailed her proposal on universal health care and called it the “public passion of her life”.
Everyone would be covered. It would include prevention and ending the stigma of mental illness. She said she would “open up the Congressional Health Care System to the public” and make it available to every American.
Clinton said we needed to stop home foreclosures by setting up a moratorium on them , freezing interest rates to stop excessive rate jumps and allowing homeowners the ability to renegotiate their mortgages.
On education she will work for universal preschool kindergarten, ending the unfunded mandate of Bush’s leave no child behind and making college affordable again. She talked about ending the private loan business for colleges and putting the public back in charge by offering government loans at low rates and giving graduates options to have their loans forgiven for doing public service, like teaching, calling it an investment in our country.
On Bush’s cronyism in appointing his friends and business associates to positions of public trust, Clinton roused the crowd by saying “We need to clean house from top to bottom” and “appoint qualified people to government” in order “to restore leadership and moral authority.”
She said it was time to bring the troops home, noting her inquires to date have found no credible plan by the Bush Administration as to how to do that. Starting to bring the troops home will “tell Iraq that Bush’s blank check is no longer valid” and that the Iraqis “have to start making their own decisions” for their people.
Saying Bush “has emboldened our enemies and endangered our allies” Clinton stressed that “the era of cowboy diplomacy is over.” and it is time to lead with our values again. Force should be “a last resort, not a first resort.”
Clinton ended her impassioned speech by urging the audience to help elect a President who is a fighter and who champions the American people and finds common ground and acts on it. She said America needs to be infused with a common purpose – to make America better for our kids and the middle class. “We need a President who gets it”, who will roll up the sleeves and make it happen said Clinton.
Several hundred people milled around the front of the room for the next half hour, holding their cameras and cell phones above their heads, snapping pictures, pressing to shake her hand, say a word or get a poster signed. Campaign workers collected contact information as people exited.
For more on the Clinton campaign in Washington go to HillaryClinton.com.
Click here for information on where your Democratic caucus is on Saturday, Feb 9, 2008.
Seattle Times “In Seattle, Clinton vows “new direction” for U.S.”
Seattle PI “Join Me to Change the World – Clinton Touts Experience to 5000 on Waterfront