Volume 75, Number 30 | December 14 - 20, 2005

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Clinton (Bill) gets rock star reception as protesters call on Hillary to listen up

By Jefferson Siegel

On Dec. 6, the campaign to re-elect Hillary Clinton to the Senate held a fundraiser at Crobar, the cavernous Chelsea nightclub on W. 28th St. Although Senator Clinton did not attend, what attracted the 2,000 supporters, who paid $50 each, was a speech by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Across the street from the nightclub, several dozen demonstrators (some of whom are shown above) protested Hillary Clinton’s perceived ongoing support for the Iraq war. Organized by the groups Code Pink, Grandmothers Against The War and Brooklyn Peace, the demonstrators were joined by members of Chelsea Neighbors United To End The War, which came from its regular Tuesday night vigil nearby.

The protest had been dubbed the Hillary, You’re Not Listening Tour, satirizing a fundraising letter Senator Clinton recently sent, wherein she says, “Part of my job is being a good listener.” Several members of Code Pink wore oversized rubber ears to get their point across.

As Hillary Clinton supporters waited over an hour in bitter cold weather to enter the nightclub, the protesters sang several songs, including (to the tune of “Frère Jacques”) “Are you listening? Are you listening? Hil-lar-y, Hil-lar-y”; (to the tune of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”) “We wish you would bring the troops home” and (to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey”) “Dear Hill you ain’t listening.”

Inside Crobar, people had an hour to drink and mingle. After three songs by the pianist Ben Folds, Bill Clinton made his way to the stage (at left), spending several minutes shaking hands and greeting supporters. In a 10-minute speech without notes, Clinton covered a range of topics, including his disapproval of tax cuts for the rich, as well as health care, food stamps and aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina. When someone in the crowd yelled out a question about the Iraq war, Clinton replied, “We’ll get into that” but he didn’t get to that subject during the course of his talk. At one point, someone else yelled out, “Eight more years!” which brought cheers from the assemblage.

After his speech, befitting his rock star status Clinton again plunged into the crowd (at right), shaking hands and posing for photos to cheers from the throng.

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