Greenville, South Carolina "Seen them all"
So, we're at Furhman Univesity. That's where Hillary Clinton made her first campaign appearance in South Carolina since the debate Monday night. We have now seen every single candidate that has stepped foot in South Carolina since we got here on January 14th.
Clinton (who's husband, President Clinton, is traveling elsewhere in SC) used the opportunity to talk the economy. It comes on the same day that negotiators in Congress are cutting a deal from President Bush's plan to cut checks for Americans to surge the struggling economy.
Her ideas focus on freezing foreclosures for 90 days, icing interest rate hikes for 5 years, offering tax rebates, and creating more jobs through the "green" economy.
First, the security was much less than Obama which surprised me because she is the former First Lady. Unlike Obama, there were no security machines or lines to go through. They didn't check our bags and it was fairly easy to move through the crowd.
She gave a 30-45 minute speech and then took questions from the audience. Unlike many of the candidates, who to me seemed different in one way or the other in person, she was exactly what I thought she would be like based on what I've seen on TV. I mean that as in she looks, sounds, and acts just like she does on TV. Some of the others I've seen looked much different in person, had more or less energy, were more funny or more dull, etc.
After her speech she took a number of questions for about 20 minutes. People asked her about her vote on the war, health plans, etc. The one thing I notice in these question and answer sessions is that people are really really open about their problems and they ask very specific questions about their problem. At an Edwards event a lady asked about the foster care system based on a horrific problem in her own life. It's kind of interesting to see how the candidates react and shows that people want a candidate who will deal with THEIR problems more than the country's problems.
In terms of energy and excitement at events from supporters I would rate the candidate appearances as follows.
1. Barack Obama
2. Michelle Obama
3. John Edwards
4. Hillary Clinton
A couple disclaimers-Clinton's event here was more of a speech but she did have about 200 people in the room. Also, our Barack Obama event had Usher and Chris Tucker, but we have heard his crowds are extremely energetic every time.
By the way most of the candidates both R's and D's travel in huge luxurious buses with their names and faces on the side as they go from town to town. Sen. Clinton did not have a bus. She traveled in a black SUV with a similar SUV in front, a van, and several state troopers on either side.
Anywho, we're headed back to Columbia after we edit our story to start putting Political Connections together for tomorrow night at 6:00pm on News 14 Carolina.
Until then..it's fast food and a desperate search for a radio station!