Adam and I had the great fortune of seeing Bill Clinton speak tonight. He was in town to stump for Mike Michaud who is running for governor. It was quite breathtaking.
Adam saw a post on Facebook last Thursday or Friday mentioning it, with a link to sign up for tickets. He immediately went and put us on the list. I’m not even sure he mentioned it to me first. When he first signed up, the rally was being held down by the water, but the response was so overwhelming they needed to hold it someplace bigger. So they moved it to our basketball center, where our local very small professional basketball team plays.
We arrived around 5:45/6:00. It was a standing event and we were maybe 30 feet from the podium. Great location. It was not very crowded when we got there but it quickly filled up. It was estimated that around 2,000 people were there tonight. We weren’t even sure what time the event would start.
What we soon discovered was the only negative thing about the event. The room wasn’t air conditioned. And as the space filled up, it became oppressively hot. In fact during the second speech of the night a girl fainted. That’s how hot it was. It also didn’t help that Adam and I dressed for the occasion and were dressed somewhat nicely. We figured if we were going to be in the presence of a president we should look the part. That being said we managed. Of course our first stop after we left was for GIANT Diet Cokes.
The event was in honor of Mike Michaud who is running against Tea Party duffus Paul Lepage. Actually a pet rock would be a better governor than Lepage has been, but Michaud actually has the chops and the experience to do a good job at it. AND. Although it wasn’t mentioned tonight. He’s also openly gay, which would make him the first openly gay state Governor ever. There have been a couple caught in scandal that have come out, but he’d be the first elected.
The list of speakers tonight was great. First up. Shenna Bellows.
She’s running against Susan Collins, the incumbent. She has my vote. And the vote of most of my friends. That being said, she has a long road ahead of her. Susan Collins is quite popular and has moved more toward the center of the political pack. She was against gay marriage until it was popular, and she votes along the party line when push comes to shove, meaning she’s voted against ENDA. Against raising the minimum wage. And she’s sponsored bills to overturn the Affordable Care Act! Ugh.
Next up was Emily Cain who’s running to replace Mike Michaud. She’s a fiery speaker who wasn’t fazed at all when the girl fainted during her speech. She called for a medic. Waited till she was helped out, and then launched right back into her speech. She’s awesome. Unfortunately, she’s not in my district so I can’t help her out.
Next up was Chellie Pingree. I did vote for her in my first election in Maine. She’s a great speaker.
Then we took a break. A VERY LONG BREAK. I was started to doubt my need to be there. Just when I thought I couldn’t take the heat any longer they introduced Mike and Bill.
Mike was introduced by someone that wasn’t introduced. We had no idea who he was. He was a good speaker. And a Vietnam Vet. And a life long Republican. And he was a big fan of Mike’s.
Then Mike spoke. We’d seen him speak at the gay pride festival in the park. We thought he was a terrible speaker. He’s much better in a formal setting with prepared remarks. He got the crown going and definitely drove his points home. He spoke for about 20 minutes. And then he introduced the guest of honor.
The whole point of tonight’s post is to tell you what an amazing speaker Bill Clinton is. He spoke for 20/25 minutes and never once looked at his speech. It appeared that it was all off the cuff. In face at one point he closed his speech and continued to speak for ten more minutes or so. And it was a well thought out, engaging speech not just about Mike, but about politics in general and the state of the world. He was mesmerizing and I was moved to tears a couple of times while he was speaking. I’ve never seen anyone be so comfortable in front of a large group of people like he was. It was easy to see why people voted for him all those times running for governor of Arkansas and then president of the United States. You want to be his best friend. You want to grab a beer with him and have him explain to you how the world works.
It was quite the evening. And even though it was hot enough to cook a turkey in there I’m so glad that Adam got the tickets for us. It was very special!