Hillary Clinton at Worcester

I’m in Worcester where Congressman McGovern is among those hosting a massive rally for Hillary Clinton on the Clark University campus. McGovern doesn’t get much play nationally, but he possesses the biggest political operation in central Massachusetts. He’s one reason that Deval Patrick, whom he was one of the first elected officials to endorse, was able to build an organization in this region.

In tomorrow’s primary, McGovern will split with Deval Patrick, who is a strong backer of Barack Obama. “Governor Patrick is phenomenal. So is Ted Kennedy,” McGovern told me. “It means I’ve got to work doubly as hard.”

“We’ve got a grassroots organization here,” McGovern said. He said there were hundreds of volunteers who made “thousands” of phone calls on Clinton’s behalf over the weekend.

McGovern also recounted the campaign that introduced him to public life, George McGovern’s campaign for the presidency in 1972, when he was in seventh grade. McGovern passed out bumper stickers and held signs for his candidate. While the men are not related, McGovern was quick to point out that the elder McGovern had endorsed Hilary Clinton.

The House Speaker, Sal DiMasi, was also on hand. DiMasi, along with Mayor Menino, is a high profile Boston supporter of Clinton. DiMasi was talking up Clinton’s chances – despite what pundits said and referring reporters to what happened last month in New Hampshire. “I’ve never seen so many pollsters and pundits wrong about so much,” he said.

A couple lines that didn’t come off so well are as follows. Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield’s praise – “the great thing about senator Clinton is that she has mastered the arcane details of public policy” – was met with tepid applause at best. Therese Murray, the president of the Massachusetts State Senate, also struck an odd note when she took the stage prior to Clinton’s speech and said “are you ready for some football? That was last night.” Even in this politically-focused crowd, few people wanted to be reminded of the events of last night.

4 Responses to “Hillary Clinton at Worcester”

  1. memyself Says:

    Obama’s speech (October, 2002):

    Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

    The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars.

    My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

    I don’t oppose all wars.

    After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

    I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

    What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

    That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

    Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

    He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

    But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

    I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

    So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

    You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

    You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

    You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

    Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

    The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not – we will not – travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.


  2. MelanieL Says:

    Nice words – good speech. They appeal to the emotions and strike at our hearts. I don’t doubt Obama’s sincerity and desire to serve the people of America. But this time round, the job demands a hard head and strong heart. It will take a lot more than “hope” to make the changes Obama calls for. He is in danger of leading a whole new generation of voters into the valley of disappointment and disillusion, because to get the job done, it will require pragmatism and the greatest tool of all politicians, compromise. For Obama, that will prove difficult – as soon as he is seen to compromise, the shine will begin to dim, and sooner rather than later his supporters will have to acknowledge that it is business as usual in Washington and the world.


  3. Cagey Says:

    He was a heck of a state senator!

  4. Super Tuesday Exit Polls « Dispatches from Seth Gitell Says:

    […] when, for example, Congressman Richard Neal described Clinton favorably as having “mastered the arcane details of… it took all the air out of the room on the Clark University […]

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