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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Live From San Jose Democrats: A Party United

Clinton is on now. As suspected this is a largely Hillary crowd. Clinton like he did in Davis talks about the strength of the Democratic field and the fact that he is not voting against any candidate, he is voting for the one that he thinks is the best, Hillary but he also believes that all of the Democratic Candidates are good.

Does not buy that this process weakens the party. Points to the fact that in June of 1992, he was so beat up that he was running third in the polls behind Perot and Bush I. Does not believe that we should tell the people of Pennsylvania that they do not get a vote. But the theme was clear here--it was unity. Let us have the vote, let us determine the winner, but when it is all said and done we will come together because we do not want a third Bush term. Democrats are united on that.

Presidents try to keep their promises he says. Even Bush has kept most of his promises--unfortunately people were not paying attention to what he promised to do.

Cites a statistic on home mortgages--90% of the people foreclosed on have never missed a mortgage payment.

"We have proven for a third time, that trickle down economics is a failure." "Most Americans are in recessions, but the country is not," Clinton claims. Definition of a recession is six months in a row with negative income growth. America has not experienced that but the people have. How is this possible he asks? Because people's wages are flat and the cost of living is rising.

"Trickle down economics is a failure." During the 1990s, 8 million moved from poverty to middle income. In this decade, 5 million moved back to poverty. In this decade the median family income in real terms have declined.

"I support Hillary because I think she has the best plan and greatest ability to improve this economy and put forward a plan."

Charming and playful Bill Clinton up until now, unifying message. Will he move to attack at this point?

"I think Hillary is the best candidate for President in 40 years." He thinks she would be a better President than he was.

Talks about the fundamental need for energy independence through green energy and energy efficiency.

"All those people who tell you that we cannot electrify America with green energy, doesn't know what they are talking about."

"If the United States of America can beat the world to the moon, surely they can beat the world to a car battery."

Clinton asks, how many in this room know someone without health insurance. Virtually everyone raises their hand. He says, "This is the only welfare country in the world, we people can give this answer. This is the only wealthy country in the world, where this question could even be asked.?"

"We have to dramatically change this "No Child Left Behind Law," it's a massive failure." Talks about an achievement gap between the US and other countries--they go to schools longer, start tough classes earlier. He comes out strongly in support of public schools. However, he argues against the NCLB because of inherent problems with testing and basing funding on tst results when school district can pick the easy or hard test.

"There is one issue that Hillary is more conservative than President Bush on, the budget." Hillary wants to go back to the deficit cutting days of the 1990s. "This is one area where Democrats should be more conservative than the Republicans in Washington. Our economic future depends on it."

"Dipomacy first, military as a last resort rather than the reverse." Hillary wants a small contingent left behind in the North of Iraq where there is not much violence to act as a contingency in case Al Qaeda acts up. He believes that 50% of the terrorist problems in the Middle East is created by the Israeli-Palestinian situation and h wants to see this solved as a means to combat terrorism.

Clinton talked about a conversation with a New York firefighter. Before 9/11 he said most of them were Republicans. Now they are not. Had good jobs, didn't think they needed government, liked the camaraderie, and the "rah rah." Why are they now? Because the Bush administration was in denial about the health problems facing the firefighters of 9/11. The Democrats and Hillary Clinton fought for those benefits because these people are dying from the exposure to the dust and asbestos particles from 9/11. He said he listened to this story on a golf course and it made him cry.

"The President is nothing more or less than the most fortunate public servant on the face of the earth." He said, I believe that person is Hillary.

Good speech by Clinton. Most of the crowd, Hillary supports or not, applauding. Few Obama signs visible right now.

POSTED AT 10:30 am PDT

I do not cover a lot of national politics on the Vanguard, but how do you resist covering Bill Clinton's speech?

We are waiting for Bill Clinton to get here and speak on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton.

Kamala Harris, San Francisco District Attorney--is speaking on Barack Obama's behalf. She joked that she was sitting in for Obama, and President Clinton was speaking for Hillary. She did not seem to believe this was a very fair match up. On the one hand speaking for Obama is a relatively unknown District Attorney from San Francisco. On the other is Bill Clinton, one of the most beloved and venerated figures within Democratic Party circles over the last 25 years. But for her part, she held her own.

Ms. Harris imparted much message of Obama--of hope, change, and reconciliation. She cites herself as the first African American District Attorney in California. The Obama contingent of the crowd enthusiastically chanting "Yes We Can." Interesting that she uses many of the phrases and refrains of Obama, but still her own voice.

Nevertheless, she gave a very good speech. She doesn't have the presence or the stagecraft of Obama or Bill Clinton but it was definitely a very good speech. Party Chairman Art Torres is touting her as a rising star.

There is a strong contingent of Obama supporters in here, but they appear outnumbered by Hillary Clinton supporters, I will get a better sense when Clinton speaks. The sad thing is that Bill Clinton used to be a unifying figure within the party and has now become a polarizing one.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting