Subject: Travel pool #7
New York City
At 8:12 PM your pool was ushered near the entrance of the Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom where Jon Bon Jovi, dark suit and tie, was wrapping an acoustic version of “Living on a prayer”. He followed with The Beatles’ “Here comes the sun”. We entered the premises, a theater-like setting with balconies, red velvet curtains, golden drapes, and glittering chandeliers hanging under flamboyant art-deco ceilings. Guests were seated at some fifty tables of ten. Those were adorned with candles and flower arrangements.
Two big screens on each side of the stage displayed “Join Us” and “Obama-Biden” with the “O” campaign logo. From your pooler’s perspective, crowd there was looking younger than at the previous event.
President Clinton took the stage and spoke for 19 minutes.
Highlights of his speech:
“I don’t think it’s important to reelect the president, I think it is essential to reelect the president”
Praised POTUS who steered the country “under unimaginably difficult circumstances”
“It is my opinion that he has performed extremely well under very very difficult circumstances”
Praised him for reforming health care. Also said that POTUS “offered a politics of cooperation” but Republicans refused.
Obama has “had to get all this done while people as recently as last week were still saying he wasn’t born in America. He’s had to get all this done with a House of Representatives that had one of the tea party members claim that 78 to 81 members of the Democratic caucus were members of the Communist party. And neither the Republican nominee nor other Republican leaders rebuked him for saying that.”
“This is not the 1950s! At least Joe McCarthy could skate on the premise that there were still one or two living communists walking around. Nobody’s seen a communist in over a decade!”
Also criticized the “vicious” and “fact free” attacks on POTUS.
“You’ve got to have the right captain of the ship.” Asked the crowd to make sure that “that captain is president Barack Obama”
POTUS spoke for 27 minutes but didn’t depart much from his standard stump speech, which he wrapped at 9:29. Will have some quotes in a further report but we’re caught in the swift motorcade movement to Broadway. We left the Waldorf at 9:44 and reached Times Square 5 minutes later.
Thanks to the WPost’s Amy Gardner for her help.
White House Correspondent