Thousands of people outside Fresno High School listened and cheered this morning as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton capped a campaign rally with her favorite themes: affordable health care, renewable energy and an end to U.S. fighting in Iraq.
Clinton’s campaign estimated that “7,500 turned out for the rally” however, Fresno police spokesman Jeff Cardinale, said the “crowd count was between 2,500 and 3,500.” I’d say from past experience with the media undercutting the numbers on Kerry rallies in ’04, the Clinton campaign’s numbers are probably more in line. The Fresno Bee also noted that Clinton’s campaign “had hoped to surpass what they said was the biggest turnout for a presidential candidate in Fresno history — an estimated 5,000 who came to see Sen. Robert Kennedy in April 1968.” If their numbers are correct, they did.
Speaking to the crowd, Clinton said, “Let me ask you: Are you ready for change?” and was met by “cheers from the placard-waving audience.”
Clinton, whose brief campaign stop in the Central Valley was expected to move on to San Francisco later today, touched on her centerpiece proposal of broad, affordable health care. But the loudest cheers came from her call to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq and her promise to respect the Constitution — a slap at some of the anti-terrorism tactics used by the Bush administration.
She also said California is in the forefront of using and testing sources of renewable energy, such as wind, solar, biodiesel and biomass.
AP News reports, Clinton “used the campaign stop to speak to hundreds of students, grandmothers and teachers outside Fresno High School about her proposals to pass immigration reforms and boost the farming economy” rather than to court wealthy donors.
“Everywhere I go, people feel like they are invisible to their government,” Clinton said, speaking on a riser to the crowd waving signs before the school’s main stone entrance. “None of these people are invisible to me and they will not be invisible to the next president of the United States.”
Clinton’s campaign announced on Monday that she “has racked up endorsements from more than 50 San Joaquin Valley party leaders, including Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, and Assemblyman Juan Arambula, D-Fresno.”
Although Democratic presidential candidates have “historically failed to attract much money or build a significant voting bloc in the region,” Clinton has, according to the FEC, “raised $13,270,732 in California for her campaign, more than any other candidate has received in in-state contributions.”
No doubt, Clinton’s outreach to the area could have an effect at the polls come primary day and then in the general election. As I said here a couple of days ago, “When Hillary Clinton tells voters, particularly lower and middle income voters, “I do see you and I do hear you,” that resonates into their core, because we all want and need validation.” The crowd Hillary spoke to on Monday in Fresno, was just that crowd that needs to hear her now classic slogan, “You’re not invisible to me.”
Watch a clip of Clinton’s Fresno speech here:
Finally, incase readers missed it, on Saturday Clinton “downplayed her front-runner status and said, “I am not letting the forces that oppose me define me,” when pressed about her electability.”
Clinton’s remarks came in response to a fundraising effort by the Obama campaign last week that was “emphasizing the possibility that Clinton’s nomination was ‘inevitable.'” The email that was sent to Obama’s supporters on Thursday morning was titled “Inevitable.” Obama said in the email “Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ a little too soon.”
Personally, the email from Obama landed directly in my trash bin, because that’s what I think of Obama’s recent slash and burn style assaults on Clinton. I’m still undecided, but Obama won’t sway me with that sort of politicing. Nor will he sway me with his “unconvincing attack on Hillary Clinton’s ‘saber-rattling.'”
For all of Obama’s earlier talk of hope, Hillary Clinton is the one on the stump, as far as I can see letting voters know that she does see and hear them and she is committed to making changes in our country. Stay tuned as the road to the White House heats up.