Tuesday, I witnessed the two Democratic presidential candidates in action in New York City. First, Hillary Clinton, playing to a packed house at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention.
A crowd filled the New York Sheraton ballroom to capacity, waiting for the former Secretary of State to speak.
Clinton delivered what you might expect of a seasoned politician and veteran of campaigns like this. No real surprises, mostly red meat to the Sharpton faithful.
About 20 minutes into Clinton’s speech, Pavlina Osta, a HuffPo contributor and radio host who was sitting in front of me, pulled a puppy from her purse, turned her back on Clinton and started taking selfies with the pooch.
I’m not kidding. (We had to go through individual wanding and Secret Service bag checks…I wonder how the dog got through?)
After Hillary’s speech, it was off to Washington Square Park and the Bernie Sanders Rally
Outside the rally, navigating the security gauntlet, I met “Ricky Obama,” candidate for mayor of NYC.
Inside the park, tens of thousands waited three hours or more for Bernie Sanders to speak.
There was a “festival” feeling to this crowd.
I think these Bernie glasses were a favorite “prop” seen in the park.
A Bernie Sanders rally staple, the band Vampire Weekend played a short set. Actors Tim Robbins, Rosario Dawson and Spike Lee addressed the crowd, whipping them up as the night air brought a chill over the city.
There were also flashbacks to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
After union leaders, local politicians, activists and celebs finished presenting their reasons for supporting Sanders over Clinton, Trump and Cruz, the music was turned up a notch as Bernie and Jane Sanders took the stage to what my colleague Josiah Ryan called a “Rockstar’s” welcome.
The crowd was estimated to be 27,000 — and it felt like it.
As I watched and listened to the Democratic Socialist repeat his populist pitch to an energized group of loyal supporters, my eyes drifted above Sanders to the words of George Washington carved into the top of the arch.
“Let Us Raise A Standard To Which The Wise And Honest Can Repair The Event Is In The Hand Of God”
Amen, George, Amen.
P.S. Bernie Sanders spoke for just over an hour. But, the party did not end after the rally. The streets of Greenwich Village were overflowing with Sanders supporters.
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