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Tuesday was a big day for Colorado Democrats. Former President Bill Clinton came to town to head a fundraiser for 7th District Congressional candidate Ed Perlmutter. The event raised $250,000. for the Perlmutter campaign.
I arrived at the JW Marriott early, at 11:30 a.m. Ed Perlmutter was already there. The luncheon was completely sold out, at contribution costs of $1,000 to $10,000, and the hotel squeezed tables into every available inch of the Grand Ballroom.
I attended as a guest. Press was in attendance. You can watch a video of a portion of President Clinton’s remarks here
Prior to President Clinton’s arrival, Ed Perlmutter held a mini-press conference in a side room with doctors and and actor Michael J. Fox calling in by telephone in support of embryonic stem cell research. It’s an issue Perlmutter is passionate about, in part because one of his daughters suffers from epilepsy. The doctors told us that embryonic stem cells has been shown to be effective in treating Parkinson’s Disease in animals, that embryonic stem cell transplants have virtually no chance of rejection and that federal funding is essential for making treatment available to those who suffer from the disease. We also heard from a Parkinsons’ patient who described the horror of the disease.
Also prior to Clinton’s arrival, I got to chat with Reps. Diana DeGette, Mark Udall, Sen. Ken Salazar and former Mayor Wellington Webb. Federico Pena and former Sen. Gary Hart were also at the event.
I would say the mood was “cautiously optimistic.” No one was taking a Democratic takeover of Congress for granted, but all seemed to agree the time is ripe. Tuesday evening, local Dems and bloggers gathered at the Skylark on South Broadway for an impromptu Drinking Liberally event. McJoan, a front page diarist at Daily Kos was in town, following the Colorado Democratic campaigns. Also in attendance were a reporter and cameraman from the U.K. Guardian, who had read about the event on Daily Kos. The reporter interviewed McJoan and Colorado Luis, who now blogs at Square State and Wendy who blogs at Colorado Confidential. We all had a lively discussion about how to vote on the various Amendments and ballot initiatives.
I voted Tuesday at the Webb building at 201 W. Colfax. There was a half-hour wait in line, but the machines worked and the staff knew their stuff. The wait turned out to be a good thing, because it gave me enough time to re-familiarize myself with everything on the ballot.
All in all, it was a fun day for politics in Denver.