Photo: Lady Boomer NYC
Thursday, January 15, 2009 was an unusual day. Early that morning, my blog boss (unpaid, of course), the venerable and wily Riverdaughter, was calling. She had an emergency and asked if I wanted her ticket to that evening’s New York City campaign debt benefit, “Thank You, Hillary! A Salute to Hillary Clinton,” with Bill Clinton and Jon Bon Jovi. I jumped at the chance.
It was a special time for Hillary. She had just delivered her hallmark clear, knowledgeable opening remarks and Q&A testimony in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, January 13, 2009. They gave her their vote of confidence for Secretary of State on the following day. She would be giving her farewell speech to the Senate this very morning, and the full Senate was expected to confirm her on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, the day after the Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. It was to be the last political appearance of Senator Clinton prior to her assuming her position on the worldwide stage.
It was also a miraculous day. A day where the perfect confluence came together to combine an extremely experienced airline pilot, who also happened to be a master glider pilot; was able to have the presence of mind to take control from his co-pilot; at 4,000 feet do a hard bank of the US Airways Airbus to line up correctly on the Hudson River, over which the plane just happened to be flying; miss the George Washington Bridge by a mere 900 feet, with Manhattan on one side, Jersey City on the other; radio the tower; and alert the passengers and crew to brace for a hard landing. That day 155 people successfully made it out on the wings, and were rescued within one minute by a coordinated, concerted effort of the New York Waterway ferry company, New York Police and Fire Rescue, and The Red Cross. They had about 5-8 minutes in the 36 degree water before hypothermia could set in. The entire city was jubilant, because following the tragedy of 9/11, this was a story of life, living, and everything gone right.
That chilly evening, arriving at The Town Hall, it was great to run into several PUMAs that I knew from DC, Denver, and Ricki Lieberman’s campaign events. I prepared my camera.
Salute to Hillary Clinton in NYC, 1/15/09 — Lady Boomer NYC
Governor David Paterson, who was introduced by NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, described Senator Clinton as “dynamic and outspoken.” He said,
Whether it’s housing, education, programs for the poor, the unemployed, the environment, homeland security, or agriculture reform, Hillary Clinton is in the center of everything for New York.
He honored her for her eight years of steadfast discipline and honesty, for being a finalist in her party’s nomination, adding, (striking a bittersweet PUMA tooth),
And one day, we will elect a woman President. I hope that Hillary Clinton will be around to be thanked as the person who made it responsible for them to be President.
Paterson recalled the US Airways perfect ditch landing on the Hudson that afternoon, and expressed how grateful he and all New Yorkers are to the pilot and crew. He explained that Hillary and Chuck Schumer were unable to fly in as a result, and were on their way from Washington, D.C. via train. He concluded by saying,
This is a unique event in that today Hillary Clinton was cleared in committee to be Secretary of State. She is a woman with a worldwide record, and she will now be performing on the worldwide stage. Barack Obama got the best and brightest of New York.
They screened the uplifting “One woman’s journey” video, some shots of which are included in my slideshow.
I didn’t walk in a fan of Jon Bon Jovi one way or the other, but I left one. He did a beautifully executed, unplugged-style electric acoustic set with three other musicians. Actually, I was so entranced that it didn’t occur to me until the last song to record it on my digital camera. So I got “Here Comes the Sun. He also sang a slow burn version of “Livin’ On A Prayer,” a rousing “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?,” The Beatles’ “Help!,” and a soulful version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” (Yes, it’s about “change,” and I’m sure he’ll be doing at the inauguration celebration. Whatevah. ) The videos don’t exactly do the music justice, but close enough for rock ‘n roll.
Jon Bon Jovi: “Here Comes The Sun” — Video: Lady Boomer NYC
Jon Bon Jovi: A Change Is Gonna Come — Video: JCorso728
After his set, Jon said some words of introduction in praise of Bill Clinton, who had just returned that day from a trip to Africa for the Clinton Foundation to be at Hillary’s event. He expressed that all of his philanthropic acts came from the leadership of the Clinton / Gore Administration, and that the affordable housing issues he works with are all from Bill Clinton’s lead and inspiration.
Bon Jovi Introduces Pres. Clinton — Video: JCorso728
President Clinton took the stage and said that he’s been in a lot of campaigns, and BTW had been used to running for Governor every two years. But, praising Hillary, he declared,
I have never supported a finer candidate than the one I supported this year.
He thanked the Senators who voted for her nomination to Secretary of State, and who also spoke for her in the Senate chamber on the occasion of her farewell speech.
Sen. Chuck Schumer thanked Hillary as his Senate partner, praised her for her dedication and thoroughness, and complimented her: “as good she looks up close, she looks that much better in person.”
And she really did. Hillary was positively glowing that night as she walked on stage.
Sen. Clinton praised Chuck and said that she was proud to have represented the people of New York along with him, and that being a Senator of New York is the best, because she gets to represent the people of New York! She expressed how glad she was that the plane landed safely in the Hudson. My outgoing Senator characterized the upcoming weekend as exciting, where:
People from around the country and the world will come and watch. It’s an opportunity to start anew. It will give me great pleasure to represent my country as Secretary of State. I hope everyone will recognize how hard the times are. I ask for everyone’s patience, because it took us eight years to get into this.
Contrary to reports that we’re moving, I’m so happy that I’ll get to live in New York with Bill and Chelsea. After all, where else in the world would 10 people in the space of 30 seconds give me their opinion?
Praising the audience, her supporters, for being so gracious in helping her pay down her debt:
We’re here together! It’s so great to see people I’ve worked with and played with. On this night, my last political event, I’m looking forward to being a New Yorker and representing Lady Liberty in the world. So when I’m in the city walking down the street, come up and tell me what to do. I know I can count on you.
Hillary looked ebullient. On Saturday, January 17, 2009, she was to receive the King Center’s “Salute to Greatness” Award in Atlanta.
It was a wonderful, heart-warming evening. For me, it was one of those events that was all that, and more.
Send Hillary a Note of Congratulations for her confirmation as Secretary of State!