What a month! What a week! What a day!
Hillary Clinton capped off the best two weeks in her campaign so far by throwing herself a giant party.
When the Democratic presidential candidate landed in Iowa Saturday for the state party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, she was greeted by a blast of red, white and blue confetti; her husband, the popular former president; pop singer Katy Perry and 4,000 adulatory fans.
The celebration came after Clinton shined in two bouts of political hazing. First, she gained the upper hand at the first Democratic debate with her arch-rival Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, allowing her to answer criticism of her private email server before an audience of millions. Then, Clinton endured a marathon 11-hours of accusatory questions from House Republicans over the attacks on Benghazi, Libya.
In the late afternoon autumn sun in Des Moines on Saturday, Clinton campaigned with a renewed vigor, seeking to demonstrate that she could draw the biggest names and the biggest crowds.
Great to be in Iowa with @HillaryClinton & be the warmup act for @KatyPerry #hillyes #roar pic.twitter.com/vysiCYSc5C— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) October 24, 2015
A HUGE thank you to @katyperry for rallying and singing with us in Des Moines! #HillYes pic.twitter.com/nNl7HlWdWd— Hillary for Iowa (@HillaryforIA) October 24, 2015
The headlines from the JJ dinner itself have largely been about Bernie attacking Hillary (if not by name) during his speech. While this might seem like a great idea if you think she didn't get blasted enough last week during the 11-hour Benghazi ordeal, I doubt that it will resonate with Iowa Democrats who view both candidates positively. Otherwise it was an okay speech if you don't mind getting yelled at for half an hour.
O'Malley did fine too, but let's not kid ourselves about who the headliner was:Here's the full speech, in case you missed it:
Clinton was on last, and she appeared relaxed and confident. A disciplined and highly energized crowd held glow sticks that lit up half the huge hall an eerie blue for the grand finale. They roared deafeningly when Clinton came on, and a couple enthusiasts banged chairs so vigorously on the ground it looked like they were trying to destroy them. “I’m with her, I’m with her,” they screamed.
Clinton’s speech was a bricolage of canned lines from her past few months on the campaign trail. She identified herself closely with President Obama, saying Democrats need to build on his accomplishments. She said Democrats need to fight for paid family leave and to raise the minimum wage. She argued that the Republicans have stacked the deck for those on top, but promised that “I’m listening to you, I’m fighting for you, and with your support, Iowa, I’m going to deliver.”
“And together, we’re going to build an America where there are no ceilings for anyone, where no one gets left behind or left out, and yes, where a father can tell his daughter, you can be anything you want to be, including President of the United States of America!” Clinton said.
It was a stump speech that many had heard before. But like hearing a favorite pop song at a concert, its familiarity was key to its success. Clinton’s supporters, too, were ready to party.
Clinton mentions Biden: "Let's show him how much we appreciate Vice President Joe Biden...let's give it up for the Vice President," she says— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) October 25, 2015
Clinton: "I am running as a proud Democrat." cc: @BernieSanders— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) October 25, 2015
"If talking about equal pay, paid family leave, child care, & women's health is playing the gender card—deal me in." https://t.co/hu1ELwXVp9— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 25, 2015
Strong close by @HillaryClinton, lots of enthusiasm in the hall (and not just among the glowstick people).— John Heilemann (@jheil) October 25, 2015
Bill and Hillary Clinton working the rope line looooong after #IDPJJ ends pic.twitter.com/IMBqLxNVjd— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) October 25, 2015
And here's what I thought...
Hillary just won Iowa with this speech.— Hillary HQ (@Hillary_HQ) October 25, 2015