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Gov. Gary Locke, Rep. Jay Inslee, Sen. Hillary Clinton, King County Executive Ron Sims. Photo by Chris Kornelis.

A nearly hoarse Hillary Clinton showed up

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Hillary Comes to the Docks

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Gov. Gary Locke, Rep. Jay Inslee, Sen. Hillary Clinton, King County Executive Ron Sims. Photo by Chris Kornelis.

A nearly hoarse Hillary Clinton showed up at Pier 30 tonight, a hanger-like warehouse on the outskirts of SoDo, in a last-minute swing to grab some delegates from what's expected to be Obama-rich territory.

About 5,000 people showed, according to Clinton organizers, braving a lack of parking, absence of public transit and a long, hot wait inside that sent at least one person out in a stretcher.

Clinton was at her best when she came to Seattle in October, outlining a handful of specific policy initiatives while drumming up the faithful at a gala state party event. She was pointed and charismatic, commanding, but not overly wooden. Tonight's rally couldn't have been farther from that performance in both tone and execution.

During a rambling 45-minute speech, she hit all the high points: energy, health care, Iraq, education, but she often talked in circles, using a healthy portion of made-to-order one liners. Difficult to tell if it was fatigue, or an attempt to be loose, more conversational. The capacity crowd seemed enthused, though it was tough to tell how much of it was the curiosity factor (Washington matters!), or loyal followers. A couple hundred people trailed out about three quarters of the way through.

She only mentioned Obama once, saying that he's "given up" on universal health care-- likely a reference to that fact that his health care plan doesn't mandate every citizen have insurance or be penalized. Though she was probably also referring to him obtusely here:

"The stakes in this election are high. This is no ordinary time. There's no guarantee we'll remain the great nation we've been."

And a little more directly here:

"We don't want people thinking we're going to do something. We have to be prepared."

A little twist on the experience/readiness argument here:

"We need a president who gets up every morning and thinks, 'What am I going to do for the hardworking American people?'"

If there was a theme of the night, it was saving the disappearing middle class, a pitch tailor-made for the machinist and teachers union members who lined the risers behind her.

Clinton opened and closed with a single plea, repeated multiple times. Show up Saturday. 1 p.m. Stand for me. She even got a jab in about the count-for-nothing primary, a line that earned belly laughs from the crowd.

"Some of you have been getting ballots in the mail. What this is about, I don't know."

Hold on Seattle. Two more caucus candidates to go. And Clinton's not gone yet, she'll be at Seattle Pacific tomorrow morning holding a town hall on health care.

 
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