COVERED THE HILLARY CLINTON campaign stop in Eugene yesterday, at the South Eugene High School. While there was a smattering across a few demographics (there were young people, too), it seemed to my eye to be mostly white women, and older people. (You can't judge by who is behind HRC in the monitor; these people are picked purposely, and often for the very traits I discuss now: sex, age, skin color, and "ethnic" appearance.) However, I did no formal tally, and when the video is made, you can make a judgment for yourself on that aspect.
The truth is, Clinton did her best (even pushing through a tired and "froggy" sounding voice), and her supporters cheered their loudest, and I appreciate her (and their) spirit and ambition and Clinton's manner of laying out her platform. But it was inarguably not a good day for Clinton. She was late, she made everyone wait in the rain longer than we were supposed to, and then inside we waited longer than scheduled. She was heckled about her vote authorizing the Iraq invasion and No Child Left Behind, and about two out of five (I have to check my tape to be sure) questions came to her from Obama supporters. Not to mention the press pass was a cheap xerox instead of a printed and designed document (campaign budget), the gymnasium could have fit, along with nine others the same size (rough guess, probably on the low side, actually) in the venue Obama spoke in when he was here March 21 of this year. I can't help but compare, and I guess in a race like this, that's the point.
It felt a bit sad to me. I can't even count how many times speakers tried to get everyone to cheer louder or longer. At one point, this anchorwoman (in the foto to the right) was telling her cameraman about speaking purposely fast and breathless to give the feeling that the energy in the room was very high. I overheard it, and tried to catch some with the shotgun mic attached to my sound recorder, but pointing one of those at someone (especially a media person) has the result of them quieting down a lot. By the time I had it on and pointed, she was whispering. But truthfully, there was this sort of effort in a few places. Ted Kulongowski, Oregon's governor (who introduced Clinton) seemed absolutely possessed, bobbing and stooping and dancing around trying to rouse the crowd, trying to pass on his frenzy. It was almost as if the campaign/event was competing with the ghost of Obama's recent appearance, which had raised the rafters and blew out the town with buzz.
You will see very plainly from the videotape that many of the people behind Clinton (even though handpicked by the campaign) were definitely not excited, and in fact often looked very bored, didn't clap when they were supposed to, or made tired, perfunctory "golf claps" on the applause lines. I honestly felt embarrassed for the Senator more than once.
I now respect Clinton's 3D supporters much more than her online supporters. Probably because these ones often seemed happy, as well as happy to see me, instead of sneering at me or calling me names. (Then again, I don't wear any MTV gear online and at the HRC rally, I wasn't talking to people about Obama. So who knows!)
As I was walking along the line outside catching audio, one woman stopped me and asked if she could take a picture of me. I laughed and felt a bit strange, as I was not in my "all about me" mental state (I actually leave this behind when I cover events like this). She wanted the pic of the MTV-affiliated news-making cat for her son. "It will be the only part of this he enjoys" she said.
I have to add a correction. This fellow (Fernando Suarez from CBS) was sitting in front of my camera spot, and misquoted the Senator, who actually said (in defense of her campaign hurting the democratic party with attacks that praise McCain, etc) "I don't take any of it personally and I don't take most if it seriously." (As you see, she turned the question around to include herself being attacked, and then said she doesn't take those attacks personally.) It is a small error (he wrote "don't take any of it" in both instances), and the rest of his article jibes, for the most part, with my recollection and camera tape. (Just a note to let you know that on this page, you can sometimes get news even more accurate than CBS. :) Suarez calls her "fiery," and gives the impression that Clinton battered that questioner with righteous truth. This is one of those parts you have to understand is the subjective declaration of the reporter. Just as is the case with some of my post, as well. Such as where I might call her "misleading, though brightly" rather than "fiery." You could see it either way. You can actually see it both ways. I think that would still be accurate.
Ultimately, while I gained some respect for Clinton and her supporters that I did not previously have, what I have confirmed for myself that remains true of Clinton is this type of behavior that anything goes, that she can do or say anything to opponents, that she can tell whatever stories she wants because it is all excused by the chase for power, that its part of the game, and that if you can't take that, you oughtta not be in politics. That is, she defends old schools biznass as-is. In fact, she excuses too much with the same line (almost verbatim) we've been hearing from the current resident of the White House who also subscribes to "Ends justify the means" philosophy. Clinton tells us to "leave it to the history books" to decide right and wrong. But we don't live in history books. We live here, now. I have to say when I hear Bush and Clinton say "leave it to the history books" it sounds to me a lot like "I can do what I want and maybe one day it will seem honorable, because now it sure doesn't." And I'm hard-pressed to think of how this thought ever came to be an acceptable defense for anything.
A sign in the auditorium spelled out "Oregon is Clinton Country" and Hillary looked at it and said "I hope that's true." Maybe so, maybe not. Judging by what I've personally witnessed at Senators Obama's and Clinton's stops in Eugene, I'd say probably not.
But we'll know for sure in May.
As most of you know, the finished video will show up on this page, when it is done. I'm pretty sure that Part 2 of Obama in Eugene will be up first, though, on Monday evening. Check Wednesday, April 13 for the HRC video. All fotos on this page taken with my iPhone.
UPDATE 10:18 PST, Apr 7: This article has been updated to correct Senator Clinton's words from "I don't take any of it personally; I take very little of it seriously." to "I don't take any of it personally and I don't take most of it seriously."
UPDATE, 4:05 PST, Apr 8:In light of conflicting reports about Clinton's Insurance Story, reference to that story, and to Clinton's "not telling the truth" about it has been removed from this article. Original (struck) text can be found here.
Crossposted to The Unapologetic Mexican, Jesus' General, and Culture Kitchen.
Nezua is an author and illustrator by trade, a rebel at heart, and a fugitive from the iron claw of ennui. You can find more of his writing at http://www.theunapologeticmexican.org , his videos at http://think.mtv.com/profile/Nezua , (more...)