I was thrilled when Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary and, like many, skeptical about her promise to campaign for him. That all changed in Española, New Mexico on August 17, 2008.
Hillary had come to New Mexico to campaign for Obama and was to be the guest at a $500 fundraiser in Albuquerque. I asked if I could go for $200 and was turned down flat. The next day, however, a free event was scheduled for a community center in Española. All the Democrats appeared — Governor Bill Richardson, Senator Jeff Bingaman, congressional candidate Ben Ray Lújan, Senate candidate Tom Udall and numerous local candidates.
It was a long morning of endless speeches, the other candidates coat-tailing on Hillary’s popularity. When it ended, however, the press and all the candidates and officials fled for the exits. Except one. Hillary Clinton.
The speaker’s area was separated from us in the audience by a long curving rope. As soon as the others had disappeared, she went to the far end of the rope and started working her way along it, talking to and shaking hands with everyone there. It took her close to forty minutes to go from one end of the rope to the other. Smiling, laughing, chatting with everyone, she put on an extraordinary display of high energy, cheerfulness and a commitment to the promise she had made to Obama that she would work hard for him.
Sometimes these smaller moments can make or break a candidate. Take, for example, John Edwards’ $400 haircuts. This was one of those moments that made me realize how wrong I had been about Hillary Clinton.
She has displayed the same commitment, vitality and energy as Secretary of State and will be very much missed, no matter how well John Kerry does.
It’s my hope that she will re-appear in political life. I’ll know this time to support her.
Morgan Smith is a former state representative and Commissioner of Agriculture currently living in Santa Fe. He can be reached at Morganemail@example.com.