By PAULA TRACY,
MANCHESTER — Amy, Mayor Pete, Yang, Steyer, Warren, Tulsi, Bernie, Deval, Bennet, and Biden.
It was a huge, raucous party for thousands of New Hampshire Democrats Saturday as they heard from these 10 Democratic presidential candidates.
Together for the last time before New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Tuesday, the 2020 McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner was a Democratic pep rally calling for unity with little room for opponent bashing. All ire of the night targeted Republican President Donald Trump.
The event brought out most of the Democratic leaders in the state to dine on shrimp and filet mignon at tables on the floor of the SNHU Arena in Manchester. Supporters sat in the bleachers holding signs and banding together to back their Democratic candidates who are running to become President of the United States.
“Are you ready to hear from the next president of the United States?” asked Raymond Buckley, chairman of the Democratic Party.
The reply was a thunderous “YEAH!”
Buckley noted that Republican President Donald Trump will hold a rally in the same arena on Monday.
“Failed leadership, broken promises. I think it is important to send a message so loud,” Buckley said to Freddie Mercury’s song, “We Will, We Will Rock You.”
He went on to introduce just about every elected Democratic leader in the state, plus Ben and Jerry of the ice cream fame and actor Michael J. Fox.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., gave the McIntyre-Shaheen Legacy Award to former Executive Councilor and Sen. Bev Hollingworth of Hampton, “who broke the glass ceiling.”
Pete Buttigieg was first up. The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., said, “New Hampshire, on Tuesday, let’s make history and let’s go on to defeat Trump in November.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, took the stage to a thunderous welcome from her supporters.
“New Hampshire Democrats, we’ve got two jobs: In November, first beat Donald Trump. Then re-elect Jeanne Shaheen and put Mitch McConnell out of a job,” Warren said.
“The danger is real. Our democracy hangs in the balance, so it is up to you, New Hampshire,” Warren said.
“What do you do? Do you lean back or do you get in the fight? Because fighting back is an act of patriotism. We fought back against a king to make this country,” Warren said.
Warren danced off the stage to Aretha Franklin’s hit song “Respect.”
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he was stunned there was only one Republican with the conscience and morality to vote to impeach Trump.
He said he wanted to thank New Hampshire for helping to lead the revolution and now it’s time to complete the revolution, to end the divisiveness, the lying, the homophobia, the bigotry of the Trump administration.
“Now is the time not only to defeat Donald Trump but to create a country and an economy that works for all,” Sanders said.
Andrew Yang, a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, compared the value of each New Hampshire voter to that of 1,000 thousand voters in California.
He is running because he is a parent and a patriot and the children of this country “deserve better, starting on Tuesday.”
“We have to turn the clock forward,” said Yang. “We have to accelerate our economy. Let’s make America think harder. Let’s give our kids a future.”
Businessman and billionaire Tom Steyer said every candidate in the room is a million times better than the “criminal in the White House.”
He said people have a right to clean air and water, an equal vote and universal kindergarten.
Steyer said Donald Trump can win “unless we kick his ass on the economy.”
The climate is his number one priority and there could be 4.5 million clean jobs from investing in it, Steyer said.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said he has held his 50th town hall meeting in New Hampshire.
“One question has been how are you going to beat Donald Trump and how are you going to get anything done back there?”
Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaiian Congresswoman, said Democrats are putting the well-being of America first. She said she is the candidate the American people are looking for with a fresh perspective.
“The American people also want experience,” Gabbard said. “I am that person.”
Gabbard touted her national security experience, how she served as a soldier for almost 17 years, and been deployed twice to the Middle East.
“I bring the combination of this experience…so the choice is ours to usher in a fresh new era where our White House can once again be a beacon of light,” she said.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Democrats “know that what unites us is more than what divides us.”
She said this election is “a patriotism check and decency check” on this president.
Klobuchar said she has won every election she has entered going back to fourth grade.
Trump is missing empathy with the American people, many of whom are suffering, she said.
“I know you and I will fight for you.” What she brings to this campaign is “grit,” Klobuchar said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden complimented New Hampshire.
“You know how to run elections,” he said, claiming that no state takes its responsibility more seriously.
Biden talked about meeting a man who was losing his job in Claremont, a woman, also from Claremont who was abused, and about working with his wife in a food line with children in Manchester.
“This is not who we are,” Biden said. “We have got to change this.”
“This is why we are all running. We’re being led by a president who has no empathy,” he said of Trump.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said replacing Trump is not enough.
“Unemployment is low as long as you count the three jobs that a person has,” he said. “They are asking whether there is a place for them in America.
“I didn’t discover injustice just lately. I lived it. I fought against it and I won,” Patrick said.
Taking on Trump is not a proposal to get even, but to get better, he said.