Archive for April 6th, 2008

by Pete Talbot

The audiences were vastly different: in size, age and gender. The message, though tailored to different crowds, had a common thread.

I saw Sen. Obama at the field house in Missoula and the next day, Sen. Clinton at a fundraiser at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Clinton event didn’t get much media coverage so let me report on that.*

The crowd numbered about 400, was well-dressed and women outnumbered men by about three to one. It was an older audience than at the field house, but if you figured in all the daughters and granddaughters sitting at the tables, maybe not that much older. Clinton spoke for about 20 minutes as opposed to Obama’s 50.

The people were quite supportive and enthusiastic; after all, most had paid between $250 and $1000 to attend. This was a dedicated group. One woman at our table had gotten off work at 2 a.m. in Lewistown, Montana, slept two hours and then drove for five hours to be at this event.

Another woman sitting next to me at the brunch, who said she was leaning toward Obama, nevertheless commented that the Obama event the previous day had been dominated by males: introduced by men, staffed by men … as a matter of fact everyone on the stage that morning had been a man.

I spotted many women in the audience who have worked hard for Montana: State Sens. Carol Williams and Carol Juneau, former gubernatorial candidate Dorothy Bradley, Reps. Teresa Henry and Diane Sands, to name a few.

And I was more impressed with Ms. Clinton than I thought I would be. Here’s why:

Her comments were much more Montana oriented. She spoke about rural economies and rural health care. She talked about her husband’s recent tour of Montana. She referenced Indian Country several times.

She was sharp, engaging and discussed her campaign strategy. She talked about her experience and about uniting the party after the convention. She spoke on how the work of Martin Luther King allowed Barack Obama and herself the opportunity to run for the highest office in the land.

But most of all, she shook my eight-year-old granddaughter Grace’s hand and signed her poster and inspired within her the possibility that some day Grace, too, could be the president of the United States.

I hope that this is the same inspiration that African-Americans feel when they see and listen to Barack Obama.

But Sunday morning was a Montana celebration of the first woman to have any sort of a real shot at the presidency.

*(You can go many places for Obama pieces. Start here, here and here, and then go surfing. The only other story I’ve seen about the Clinton brunch is a Daily Kos piece that takes a different perspective but also offers some similar insights.)

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar! (Don’t forget the exclamation point! It defines him! He put it there for a reason! To show how in! your! face! he! is!) wrote an excellent post that you all must see. All of his stuff is kick-ass, but this one is really, really kick-ass. A preview:

The journey with my beloved to the event in Butte (by way of Dillon) got off to very sour note. On Saturday morning, the Bozeman Comical ran a lead story that was little else but a Republican hit piece. It described in garish fantasy how the visit from the Democratic Presidential candidates was … get this … bad for state Democrat and a *good thing* for Republicans. The central theme was that Montana Democrats are afraid to identify as such, and that secretly we all want to be and vote Republican. Oh, and obviously McCain will win Montana in November. It was truly a biased op-ed masquerading as journalism (a claim born out when we got to read the fuller version of the AP story in the Montana Standard later in the day. I tend to view such journamalism with rather derisive humor (especially when they identified Matt Singer as just a “liberal blogger” instead of the CEO of Forward Montana.) My beloved took it rather more … harshly. I guess I should remind her more often that the introductory rate we got for our subscription gains the Comical no profit. The passing of dinosaurs is her favorite theme, and our local fishwrap is just one instance of the extinct misunderstanding their own obsolete nature.

Go read it.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Okay, so while I’m downloading 139 photos (130 of which will probably be blurry) and a movie of yesterday’s events from my digital camera, I wanted to share something from the Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner: no one cares about Max Baucus.

That might be an exaggeration, but anyone paying attention to the audience couldn’t have thought otherwise. Cece–jhwygirl and I sat with her, Shane, and their families–live blogged about the crowd’s ho-hum reaction to his speech. Just like in the Adams Center people were enthralled with Obama. They were enthusiastic (if slightly less energetic due to the wine, beer and length of the program) for Hillary, and very friendly to Tester, Schweitzer and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. But Max? During his time at the podium, people stepped outside for a smoke, used the bathroom, got themselves another drink or another hors d’oeuvre, wandered around the Civic Center, and visited with friends and colleagues. I think Cece perfectly summed it up in her post. Take note, Max.

do you think baucus is getting the hint yet. Pay attention to your constituents or we won’t pay attention to you. simple enough?


by jhwygirl

Channel 67 here in Missoula broadcasts the state legislature (TVMT). Currently, the legislature is in committee, which the TVMT covers live weekdays, and then rebroadcasts on weekends.

I am told that they broadcast the M&M dinner live, (I was there, and I got a call saying that they were broadcasting it live)…so, given that they did that, I would say that it is highly likely that the event will be rebroadcast today (Sunday) – for those of you interested.

Here are the station numbers for that station around other parts of the state:

Butte: 61
Bozeman: 63
Billings: 8 & 70
Missoula: 67
Great Falls: 7 & 70
Havre: 43
Kalispell: 67
Helena: 19
Mid-River Communications also makes TVMT available in Lewistown, Glendive, Sidney, Miles City, Baker, Roundup, Ekalaka, Fairview, Savage, Circle, Richey, Terry, Fallon, Lavina, and Ryegate.

I thought all of the speeches were great. And I love a state where you can go to a bar and hang out with a Senator after a meeting. Montana Democrats Rock!

It’s late – I’ll have much to say – took lots of great pictures – and I know Rebecca will want to do the same. Tomorrow.

A good time was had by all.

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