Hillary Clinton is officially in the race for the White House and will hit the campaign trail hard through 2016, with a kinda important stop in Philly next July for the Democratic National Convention.
And Clinton has an interesting past in Philadelphia marked by garnering heavy support from Philly political powers but still getting beat handily in the city by Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic primary. At the time, her statewide office was near the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Spring Garden Street, and she had another field office in Mayfair.
Things will be different for Hillary Clinton this time around, and she’ll try to drum up voters in Philadelphia and southeastern PA to turn out, even though Pennsylvania almost always goes blue in November.
So far, she’s the only Democratic candidate to announce for president and is widely seen as the favorite to win the Democratic nomination in July for the ballot against whatever Republican wins on the right. Everyone remembers Hillary Clinton stories; here are six moments that stuck out for us, the last time she made a run at the White House:
She got her ass handed to her here in 2008
Clinton lost terribly in Philadelphia in the 2008 Democratic primary, and it was not close at all. Obama was able to drum up huge voter turnout in the city, and beat her while garnering 65.2 percent of the votes, or 288,376, compared to Clinton’s 153,947.
Voter turnout was big for Obama. Philly has in the ballpark of 800,000 registered Democrats, meaning about half of registered voters came to the polls. For a primary, that’s huge. With that said, chances are nil that this trend repeats. It’s safe to say Obama will be campaigning for Clinton in 2016, which could help her mobilize voters in the Philadelphia neighborhoods that see Obama as a saint of sorts.
Clinton also got beat in some of the huge, populous and key Philly suburbs. Obama beat her in Chester and Delaware Counties, whereas Clinton won Bucks and narrowly beat Obama in Montgomery County (How narrowly? Less than 200 votes). But overall, Clinton ended up taking Pennsylvania with 54.57 percent of the votes, or 1,275,039 to Obama’s 1,061,441. Much of that was due to the charismatic governor at the time whom you may have heard of.
Ed Rendell was her main man
The former mayor of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania governor while Clinton was campaigning worked hard to elect Clinton, and he’ll likely appear on the campaign trail with her again this time around.
Rendell has clout here in Philly and was staunchly dedicated to Clinton. In April 2008, the New York Times ran a story about Rendell’s work done on Clinton’s campaign, saying that “Rendell is redefining the role of political host, putting to shame the other Democratic governors who have endorsed either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama and have helped them navigate their states ahead of a primary or caucus.”
He campaigned as hard for Clinton as he did for himself when he ran for political offices, so much so that his name was tossed around in some circles as a potential candidate for her running mate. However, as the Times pointed out, as a Jewish leader from New York, Rendell would have done little to expand Clinton’s voter base.
But he would have made a great candidate for a cabinet position of some sort, and you can bet that the closer Clinton gets to election, the more speculation will fly about where Rendell will end up on the national political hierarchy.
Speaking of high-powered support in Philly…
Mayor Michael Nutter is basically a huge Hillary Clinton fanboy as well. Also the subject of his own story in The Times in 2008, Nutter made news when he endorsed Clinton over Obama, despite Obama and Nutter seeming to have a lot in common — The Times even described Obama as Nutter’s “political doppelgänger.”
Nutter, at the time, rejected the idea that it was surprising that he would endorse Clinton over Obama. Some speculated that it was a political ploy to get back at the would-be president who endorsed Chaka Fattah over Nutter in the race for Philadelphia mayor. Nutter said that’s not true, telling reporters that he’d support Clinton long before the endorsement from Obama didn’t go his way.
The mayor has made it clear that after he leaves office in early 2016, he’ll kick it into high-gear to campaign for Hillary Clinton. At a recent event where he spoke to the city’s Young Professionals Network, Nutter answered a question about what his future plans are.
He said he’s “very hopeful a certain person decides to announce her candidacy for president of the United States,” and that when that happens, he will be “aggressively” involved in the campaigning efforts.
‘Member that ‘bitter gun owners in Pennsylvania’ thing Obama did? Rendell was all over that
Remember when Obama kinda offended everyone in Pennsylvania? The Huffington Post ran a piece of audio from an Obama fundraising event in 2008 in San Francisco, in which he said that when you go into small towns in Pennsylvania, “they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”
Soon after, Rendell and Clinton devised a strategy to organize mayors in PA to speak on Clinton’s behalf, and to make a stop in Scranton where she has family roots so she could garner that small-town support in Pennsylvania that Obama did a good job driving away from himself.
Clinton used her Philly visit to try to defuse her Brian Williams moment
As the race for the White House was heating up, Hillary Clinton wanted everyone to believe that she had a ton of experience dealing with crises, so she told a story about having to run to avoid sniper fire in Bosnia in 1996 when she was serving as the First Lady. But then CBS released a video of when she landed in Bosnia on the tarmac, and she was taking a nice, slow stroll across. Hardly dodging bullets.
Clinton later admitted that she misspoke, and this admission took place in front of The Philadelphia Daily News editorial board. While speaking to the Daily News,
Brian Williams Hillary Clinton didn’t explain how or why she misspoke, just that she, uh, definitely wasn’t running away from snipers.
Obama and Clinton had a debate in Philly in 2008
And they both made some stuff up/ embellished/ got things wrong — as politicians often do during these types of things. FactCheck.org has a full recap of the debate, but here are some interesting highlights from Clinton’s side:
– Clinton claimed the people died during bombings in the 1970s done by a radical group in which a member was an acquaintance of Obama. That’s kinda true, except the people who died were members of the group itself killed when their own bombs exploded by accident. Woops.
– She also said during the debate that she believed “market manipulation” is some ways to blame for rising gas prices, but there’s been no evidence to support that.
– Clinton exaggerated the effect that would be felt by lifting the cap on salaries that are subject to social security tax, saying it “would impose additional taxes on people who are, you know, educators here in the Philadelphia area or in the suburbs, police officers, firefighters and the like.” Problem is, the cap would sit at $102,000. Good luck finding a lot of cops and teachers in Philly that make more than 100K.
This story was updated to clarify similarities between Michael Nutter and Barack Obama.