Momentum was a buzzword during Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign fundraiser at Lisner Auditorium Monday evening.
Since Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), her opponent for the nomination, eclipsed Clinton in delegates on his 11-state winning streak this past month, the widespread feeling among media and political observers is that her momentum on the campaign trail has run out. Clinton, who was introduced at Monday’s donor rally as the next president of the United States, remains optimistic and her donors’ wallets remain open.
“I really feel that people are taking a second or third look at (the candidates),” Clinton said. “They’re starting to wonder, is there a difference between speeches and solutions?”
This dig at Obama wasn’t Clinton’s only criticism of her competitor.
“I believe with all my heart that healthcare is a universal right,” Clinton said. “Obama does not cover everyone . I think this is a defining issue, because what bigger problem do we have?”
Her supporters have not lost faith in the New York senator’s bid for the Democratic nomination. GW students and Clinton fans filled Lisner Auditorium Monday evening, collectively raising $200,000, which Clinton said will go directly toward her efforts in the upcoming primaries on March 4. Her performance in delegate-heavy primaries in Ohio and Texas next Tuesday may make or break her campaign for the presidency.
Even television personality Ellen DeGeneres made an appearance at the rally in support of Clinton. The talk show host communicated with the presidential candidate in a live feed with The Ellen Degeneres Show studio. Though Clinton skirted the topic of her recent campaign pitfalls during her speech, DeGeneres broached the topic with her.
“The race is on, as we all know,” DeGeneres said. “Obama has now won 11 states in a row. What can be done to change the momentum?”
Besides her string of losses to Obama, Clinton also lent $5 million to her own campaign, which has not yet been paid back to her.
“Well, we’re going to win Ohio and Michigan,” Clinton said. “Pardon me, Texas. I already won Michigan.”
Supporters at the fundraiser echoed Clinton’s positive outlook on her campaign and her chances next Tuesday
“I don’t think you can ever count out the Clintons,” senior Matt Weiner said. “She’s got a pretty good shot.”
He said Obama’s recent victories over Clinton have not been easy to watch.
“It’s been a little frustrating,” Weiner said. “I understand why people are excited about Obama, but I’m not a fan. Mostly it comes down to experience. I like his rhetoric a lot, but I don’t think he can achieve it.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell (D), a strong proponent of Clinton’s campaign for the presidency, emphasized the outpouring of support from GW students in the audience when he introduced Clinton at Monday’s event. Since Obama has successfully garnered support from a large constituency of college-aged students, the student support for Clinton at her fundraiser was significant.
“All of you have sent a message that the young people of America don’t belong to any one candidate,” Rendell said.
Not all students that attended the event were Clinton fans, though. GW freshman Tabisa Walwema supports McCain, but said she was interested in seeing Clinton because she could potentially become the president.
“I think she always has a shot with regard to super delegates, but to be a formidable competitor against Barack Obama, she has to take those states (on March 4),” Walwema said.
Clinton is fighting an uphill battle as the March 4 primaries approach, but in terms of personal motivation and momentum, her speech Monday night indicated she is not lacking in either.
She said, “If you stand with me for the next week and help me win this campaign, I will stand and fight for your futures every single day.”