Volume 75, Number 41 | March 1 -7 2006

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Hillary Clinton greeted supporters after her speech.

Hillary Clinton ducks Iraq war at yuppie fundraiser in Chelsea

By Jefferson Siegel

Last December, former President Bill Clinton headlined a fundraiser for the Senate campaign of his wife, Hillary, at the Chelsea nightclub Crobar.

On Feb. 21 the candidate herself hosted another fundraising event for “young professional” supporters in an evening that was billed “Late Night With Hillary.”

Over 1,000 people jammed the cavernous floor of the Chelsea club, drinking and mingling. Warming up the crowd was hip-hop violinist Miri Ben-Ami, who played three musical pieces on an electric violin, the third of which was a hip-hop-flavored version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Security men tried to interrupt Code Pink demonstrators by surrounding them, but the protesters continued to shout “Troops Home Now.”
After this musical introduction, Clinton spoke for eight minutes, touching on issues appropriate to a statewide campaign but more suited to a presidential campaign. Rattling off a list of changes that had occurred since her husband left office, including a ballooning budget deficit, she asked the crowd, how could things have gone so wrong in just five years?

Midway through her speech, six members of the antiwar group Code Pink unfurled banners and began yelling, “Troops Home Now!” Within a minute, they were surrounded by security men, who escorted them out of the building. There were no arrests. During their protest, Clinton didn’t miss a beat, continuing her remarks as though nothing unusual was happening.

After her speech, Clinton patiently walked a rope line in the front of the room, meeting and greeting supporters who had managed to crowd to the front and she gladly posed with supporters for photos.

Following the event, Jenny Heinz, one of the Code Pink protesters, explained the group’s actions. “I think it’s about educating supporters of Hillary,” Heinz said. “It was notable and not surprising that she did not mention Iraq. There’s a total lack of outrage about anything,” she added.

Heinz was also one of the Grandmothers Against the War who was arrested in Times Square last October when they attempted to enter the Armed Forces Recruiting Center to enlist in place of younger men and women. When they found the door locked, the “grannies” sat down in front of the door and were arrested.

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