Hillary Clinton’s been officially running for president for two months, and the rain was falling in a steady drizzle, but for core supporters of Clinton – and that’s who made up much of the crowd of more than 300 – yesterday remained a day to celebrate.
“Chili dog? Hot dog? Hot dogs?”
In between doling out dogs volunteer JoAnn Fenton was eager to claim Clinton embodies what America should want in a president.
“She’s smart, she’s compassionate, and she’s worked on behalf of the underdog for a long time, even though people always focus on the ridiculous stuff. And the fact that she’s a woman, that’s icing on the cake.”
When Clinton hit the stage in a packed barn, she pressed similar themes. She several times invoked a democratic continuum, stretching from Franklin Roosevelt, to her husband and President Obama……Clinton said all fought for average people, and so too, she argued, would she.
“ The question is when does your hard work pay off, when does your family get ahead, when?”
“When you are in the White House.’
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha."
When she left the stage, Clinton shook hands and posed for pictures with dozens of supporters.
“Thank you so much for being here with me.”
Before ultimately making her way to a second podium.
“Hello everybody. How are you today? Welcome to the orchard.”
Clinton then engaged in her fullest exchange with reporters in New Hampshire since launching her campaign.
Several labored to get Clinton to spell out a yea or nay stance on trade promotion authority –TPA -- or fast-track, which would require Congress to vote up-or-down on trade deals without amendments, but Clinton would not go there.
"I have said from the beginning, the TPA is a process issue. The issue for me is, what's in the deal? And I think now there is an opportunity for the president and his team to reach out and meet with people who said on the floor, like Nancy Pelosi did, that we need a better deal.”
Clinton was also asked to square her increasingly populist rhetoric with her family’s fast accumulating wealth. She and Bill Clinton have earned $30 million dollars during the past 16 month alone.
“I am very grateful for the success that Bill and I have had. We both come from hard working families and we have worked really hard, both of us, over the course of our lives and we feel blessed, we feel absolutely grateful for the opportunities we have had. But I have been saying pretty much the same things since I was a college student. I am proud of my progressive credentials and my experiences and accomplishments and I am waging a campaign about what I think is best for the country, and its going to be up to the American people to draw their own conclusions.”
Other candidates running in the democratic primary, like Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley are both running to Hillary Clinton’s left. Some liberals cite issues like trade, and Clinton’s ballooning net worth to argue she’s not the party’s best messenger. But it was hard to find anyone at this gathering who seemed too concerned.
“None of the politicians are poor, so you can’t hold that against her. They all come from money or are associated with money in some way or another, so she’s no different in that way than anyone else.”
David Bast lives in Loudon, works for a software company and backed president Obama over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 N.H. primary. He says he’s fully with Clinton now. He says one reason he showed up on this day was because he expected crowds at future Clinton events to grow too big to contend with, an outcome, the Clinton campaign probably wouldn’t mind.