Hillary Rodham Clinton receives enthusiastic reception
in San Francisco
Senator Hillary Clinton. Photo courtesy clinton.senate.gov
By Brigid Gaffikin, Bay City News Service
January 29, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton received
an enthusiastic welcome when she spoke Saturday with television
personality Jane Pauley at a fundraising evening for the charitable
programs of the Bar Association of San Francisco.
Clinton arrived around 30 minutes late for Saturday's event at
the Nob Hill Masonic Center, which was scheduled to begin at 8:15
p.m. But when she strode onto the stage, dressed in an orange
cheongsam-style shirt and black pants, the audience burst into
whooping and cheering, showing no sign of the frustration apparent
earlier at her late arrival.
Clinton spoke for close to 90 minutes on a range of topics both
domestic and international, and seemed to enjoy a warm repartee
with the audience, making jokes and getting laughs from the crowded
Some topics were not broached, such as the upcoming full Senate
hearings for the nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Judge
The underlying theme of Clinton's conversation was her charge
that the Bush administration prefers ideology over facts and is
riddled with a "combination of arrogance and incompetence."
"In a democracy there has to be some factual basis on which
you make decisions," she said, referring to what she said
was the administration's failure to handle adequately issues such
as the prescription drug needs of many Americans.
She returned to this theme again in her criticism of the administration's
handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"We are now watching a deliberate policy of neglect take
root" in hurricane-afflicted regions, she said, and added
that she even suspected the Republican leadership was happy to
see depopulated and traditionally Democrat parts of Louisiana
Clinton spoke at length on foreign policy and seemed especially
keen to elaborate on the recent Palestinian elections, affirming
the President's declaration that the U.S. cannot negotiate with
a government that advocates violence and the destruction of Israel.
On other international topics she lamented what she regarded
as the absence of leadership in the U.S.
The administration has been "outsourcing our policy on Iran
to the Europeans," she said, and added that American policy
toward North Korea has been passed on to China.
Clinton's position on the war in Iraq received attention even
before she arrived.
Already by around 6 p.m. protestors had gathered outside the
Masonic Center, waving signs and banners. Several groups, including
Code Pink and World Can't Wait, protested Clinton's support of
the war in Iraq.
"She's really let us down," said Corrine Goldstick
of Berkeley, a member of Code Pink.
"There's a myth that because she's a woman [and] she's a
she's our best bet," said Not in Our Name member Maya Jones
Protests continued while Clinton's conversation with Pauley was
underway when a few demonstrators seated in the auditorium's gallery
twice shouted their opposition to the war in Iraq and threw a
pink banner across the balcony.
Police removed five protestors from the auditorium and booked
two for trespassing, according to San Francisco police.
But Clinton remained unruffled and continued to talk through
the shouting, although at one point she remarked, raising her
eyebrows, "I think I've spent more time talking to soldiers
than some people have."
She defended her voting record in support of the war.
"I don't regret my vote. I regret the way he used the authority,"
she said, referring to the timing of the President's and the administration's
discussion of Iraq at the United Nations and the subsequent invasion
Clinton argued against withdrawing troops before sectarian violence
in Iraq has ended.
"We cannot root for failure" in a post-election Iraq,
Clinton also framed her conversation about Iraq in terms of her
experiences as a senator from New York, which, she said, has experienced
the second-highest casualty rate of any state.
Clinton's steady criticism of the Bush administration drew ever
more enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Toward the end of the evening, when she alluded to the recent
controversy about the close relationships between some lobbyists
and elected officials as "the real corruption," the
audience erupted into hissing and loud clapping.
The evening appeared to satisfy Clinton's Bay Area supporters
even after Pauley signaled an end to the conversation, as hundreds
of supporters crowded the area in front of the stage, waiting
excitedly as Clinton signed autographs and spoke with audience
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