[Re-published from 2008Central.net. We will update this post on Donklephant periodically, but for the latest check out the live blog at 2008Central.net]
Tonight, the New Hampshire Democratic Party is having its annual 100 Club Dinner. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich will be delivering speeches at this event. You can watch it live on C-SPAN or online beginning at 6:30pm.
5:00: We’re inside the building and press and guests are funneling in slowly. There’s a sizable Obama contingent outside that chanted as the staff here unreasonably forced press (and us!) to wait outside seemingly indefinitely, and we saw what looked like a small mountain of Clinton supporters down the road. All 5 remaining Democratic candidates plus Howard Dean are scheduled to make an address tonight.
5:32: The place is really starting to fill up now and people are eating.
5:51: The guests at this event are staring at the people in the press area as though there’s something quite magical going on in here. (press area pictured right)
6:38: And … the program is about to get underway, to the upbeat tunes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Nothing inspires more than monkeys arbitrarily starting to worship a giant pole simply because it’s there. For the record, all the candidates plus Howard Dean and the NH Dem Representatives (both who have endorsed Obama) and Gov. Lynch (whose wife has endorsed Clinton) are slated to speak.
6:49: They’re running the Space Odyssey video again! And once again comparing their primary to a bunch of monkey worshipping a pole that suddenly appears; worse, this appears to have been done without a lick of irony.
6:54: There’s a lot of implicit comparisons of Obama to JFK, who was the first guest of a 100 Club Dinner; JFK is referred to in opening remarks as “the young senator from Masschusetts.”
7:00: After the pledge of allegiance and national anthem, it’s time for awards.
7:05: Jeanne Shaheen is introduced just before John Lynch and she gets a significantly lower amount of applause than Lynch. Effect of Obama backers not cheering as loudly?
7:06: Lynch speaks briefly, introducing his wife who has endorsed Clinton. Touts New Hampshire as first primary. Thanks Dodd and Biden for their commitment and they are apparently here! They get a solid round of applause. Lynch continues, touting retail politics.
7:11: Former Rep. Richard Swett speaks, touting the large crowd and Jeanne Shaheen’s run for Senate.
7:19: Donators are recognized, with Obama’s campaign getting a massive ovation, and no one else cheering much; the Clinton campaign was listed second, and its people were not ready to cheer, apparently. But the Obama people have made their presence felt, in a volley past the Clinton’s campaign’s bow.
7:24: Edwards is not coming. Apparently he feels this event is too much of a bigwig event. It’s a party fundraiser, though, and it’s hard to see how allowing all the focus to be on Clinton and Obama will help him.
7:26: Howard Dean speaks. After noting his nostalgia, he talks up the big turnout, then quoting Reagan – yes Reagan – in saying it is “morning in America” once again. That should get some people huffy. Talks up 80% of youth going to Democrat caucus in Iowa, and Democratic caucuses being large. Makes a joke about him not going on lists of states, and strikes a pose. Says that the Democrats are mostly the same, there are no significant differences. That has to help Obama, right? Says that Republicans and Bush are the biggest problem.Says Hastert and Lott resigned to avoid being subject to new ethics law for lobbyists. Talks up Republican attack machine and the problems with certain voting boxes, specifically citing my home county, Cuyahoga county in Ohio. Says 3,000 people are here, and that constant involvement is what gets the vote out. Says he wants to go back to person to person contact. That’s … ummm … a bit outdated. I say that as someone who has seen canvassers up close. Says greatness has to be earned and more clichÃ©s, such as America being “healed.” Says there are no red states or blue states, just … purple states. (Obama almost had his penultimate line stolen). Says Martin Luther King would be impressed at the makeup of the Democratic candidates. Compares GOP candidates to the 50s, and finally calls for Democrats to elect the future. That speech has to make Obama’s camp smile.
7:40: Another round of applause for Dodd and Biden. Another round of applause for Dick Gephardt. And also a round of applause for Elizabeth Edwards, who is here. I’m baffled as to why John Edwards is not here; he headlined it 3 years ago!
7:45: We’ve reached the “Attack John Sununu” portion of the program. We’ll return when something we care about does.
7:50: Paul Hodes, who has endorsed Obama, speaks. He mentions Obama themes such as unity and change, while attacking Bush with Edwards-esque rhetoric. One forced applause plus a bunch of screaming into the microphone = headache for me. Obama people force some applause at the end.
7:56: State democrats are here and happy to be in the majority.
8:00: Carol Shea-Porter, another Obama endorser, speaks. She talks broadly about Democrats being right for people of all parties. Talks about the value of SCHIP while remaining otherwise neutral.
[Continued at 2008Central.net]