culmination of pro-Hillary group 18 Million Voices's day of all-things-Clinton was a public broadcast of her speech at Cheesman Park. As my cab driver informed me as she dropped me at the sparsely attended rally, the allegedly haunted park had once been a cemetery. That fact was surely unconsidered by the event's planners, and it was unintentionally symbolic for a group of supporters who wanted to see their preferred candidate's chances resurrected, but ironic in that it may have been a last moment of pro-Hillary/anti-Obama emotion before putting their crusade to rest.
Leading up to Senator Clinton's speech, a crowd of about 150 people had assembled, most Clinton die-hards, although a many curious Obama supporters and local residents also came for the broadcast. Crowd response to and attention given Ted Strickland's speech was tepid, or at least mostly disinterested. Deval Patrick's mentions of Senator Obama drew some scattered and half-hearted boos.
Brian Schweitzer's excitable speech drew some of the best (and most comedically challenged) lines of the night.
Schweitzer: "And who do we need??"
Schweitzer: "Barack Obama!"
Crowd: "Noooo. Boooo."
Schweitzer: "Can we afford four more years of the same?!"
Clinton supporter: "Can we afford four more years of 'CHANGE'?!"
Other miscellaneous heckling included the gems: "Just words! Just stupid words!"; "Present! Present!"; and "CHANGE?? Change your underwear!"
When Clinton came out, the crowd came alive, waving homemade signs, with one girl frolicking in the shallow fountain in her raincoat as a brief rain shower passed overhead. The joy and emotion of these Clinton supporters poured out as they watched the opening montage and introduction by Chelsea, and applause lines were sustained and heartfelt throughout the speech. Did Clinton help bring her disaffected voters back into the Democratic tent? Maybe not immediately, but in the words of two attendees, "We'll get there, but right now we're just happy to have seen her deliver this speech."
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