Clinton addressed guests via satellite at the Human Rights
Campaign annual fund-raiser in Washington, D.C., in place of
vice-presidential candidate Sen, Joseph Biden, who canceled
all weekend campaign events when his mother-in-law
became critically ill (she died Sunday).
Clinton told the
room of nearly 3,000 people it was a "privilege" to
fill in for Biden because of the work she had proudly done
with HRC is previous political battles. "Together with
the Human Rights Campaign on the front lines, we took
back the Congress in 2006, and together we're going to
take back the White House," she said.
speaking for herself, Clinton said she would share the
remarks that Biden intended to deliver. "One of the
fundamental questions, Joe was going to say, at stake
in this election is whether America is going to
continue to be a place of equality and opportunity where
people are treated with dignity, entitled to privacy,
and protected from violence and discrimination, a
place where we all truly are equals and no one is left
out, kept down by some misguided sense of hatred or
fear," Clinton said.
For the past
eight years, Clinton said, some politicians have tried to
enshrine discrimination in the Constitution
and interfere with private decisions about whom
people choose to share their lives with, raise their
children with, and be their advocates in their final
moments. "These questions speak to whether or not we
are truly free, as Americans and as human beings,"
invited her audience on a trip down memory lane. "Think
back with me -- eight years ago a man ran for president who
claimed he was different, not a typical Republican; he
called himself a reformer." she recalled. "He even
spoke about his gay friends in Texas and met with a
group he called the Austin 12, and he promised
moderation in social policies. That candidate was George W.
Bush," Clinton said. "Eight years later, we've got
another Republican nominee who's telling us the exact
same things ... and just like the Austin 12, this time
he has a running mate who says she has gay friends.
We've seen this movie before, folks. But as everyone knows,
the sequel is always worse than the original."
Clinton said John
McCain stands with George W. Bush against equal rights
and benefits for same-sex couples, supports enshrining
discrimination into state constitutions, and rejects
employment discrimination and hate-crimes laws that
would protect LGBT Americans.
claims to be a different kind of Republican," Clinton
said. But when you look at his positions, she added, "you
can see John McCain is just more of the same. He's not
a maverick, he's a mimic.
justice, those values that represent the best of
America -- they will be the cornerstone of an Obama-Biden
administration, an administration that will speak to
our hopes instead of our fears, that will appeal, as
Abraham Lincoln famously said, to the better angels of
our nature," Clinton said.
Clinton thanked all those who had supported her during the
primary. "I will never ever forget you," she said, "but I
need partners too, I need a president and a vice president
who will stand with me and with us, and I need
Democratic senators ... let's get to 60 votes in the
Senate so we can stop all this nonsense and instead move us
forward with confidence and optimism." (Though Democrats
currently control the Senate with 51 seats, it takes
60 votes to end a filibuster and proceed to vote on a
particular bill. Republicans have used the filibuster
quite successfully to block votes on legislation they don't
by saying it was a pleasure to speak on behalf of Biden:
"I look forward to calling him vice president, and with your
help, let's make that happen."
cheered throughout the speech by the LGBT constituency, a
majority of whom supported her over Barack Obama during the
primaries, according to several polls taken at the
time. It was yet one more occasion where Clinton, who
suffered a stinging defeat for the presidential
nomination and then was passed over for the
vice-presidential slot, has been asked to rise above
personal feelings for the good of the party. (Kerry
Eleveld, The Advocate)