July 27, 2016 at 10:03 am EST | by Peter Rosenstein
Dispatches from Philly: Bill Clinton wows again
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 26, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

First, a cup of coffee and then my new iPhone. That’s how the day started. Then fire trucks came blazing down the block and a brownstone across the street from where I am staying burned. Thankfully no one was hurt.

Then it was off to my first event of the day, which was the DNC LGBT Caucus in the Philadelphia Convention Center. A packed house of some of the most incredible people I know. Chair of the caucus is Earl Fowlkes, a dynamic and talented individual. He introduced the other members of his board and then brought up one of the community’s heroines, Sen. Tammy Baldwin. She was great as always and was followed by Jason Collins, the first openly gay male athlete to play for a major league sports team, and his twin straight brother Jarron. They make a great team. They were followed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who I had a moment to chat with. I first met Andrew when he was 19 and I was working on his dad’s mayoral race, which he lost to Ed Koch.

There were so many people I knew in the crowd, including some I hadn’t seen in years like power couple Mirian Saez and Julian Potter who are still living in San Francisco and were at the convention as volunteers. Richard Socarides was there as was Jeff Campagna from New York. I had the chance to chat with Jason Lindsay, executive director and CEO of Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, set up to focus on the LGBT community’s fight for gun control.

I had to leave before the event was over to head over to the D.C. Statehood luncheon held at the Loews Hotel. It was a classy show put together by Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss in conjunction with the Creative Coalition. Actors Ashley Judd and David Schwimmer were just two of the stars there. Strauss showed commercials for statehood made by a bevy of actors and they were impactful. Speaking for statehood were Mayor Muriel Bowser, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton Council Chair Phil Mendelson, Council members Brianne Nadeau, Jack Evans and Vincent Orange. Shadow Sen. Michael Brown and Shadow Rep. Franklin Garcia also spoke. ANC Commissioner Pepin Tuma was there along with John Falcicchio, David Meadows, and Sheila White.  This was part of the continuous fight to make D.C. the 51st state, which Mayor Bowser has made part of her administration’s fight.

Then it was on to the Wells Fargo Center for the history-making vote to name Hillary Rodham Clinton the first woman nominated for president by a major political party. It only took us 240 years to get here. For me it was a really moving moment. I first met Hillary in Little Rock, Ark., in 1990. I fell in love with her then and have admired her ever since. As anyone who knows me knows I am a big supporter. So tonight meant so much. There were others around me when Bernie Sanders asked that the nomination be made unanimous with tears in their eyes. Some of those tears were for Bernie who wasn’t the nominee, but most were for the fact that Hillary was making history. Many like me who were delegates for her in 2008 remember her asking to make Obama’s nomination unanimous and this was so very satisfying and moving.

The place was packed and I kept running into many friends on the floor. AFT President Randi Weingarten, Congressman Joe Kennedy and Congresswoman Anita Lowey. Then Jesse Jackson again and Lance Bass who was walking the floor. I asked Lance to join us at a D.C. fundraiser for Hillary at the end of September and he said he would try. Eric Wemple from the Washington Post and intrepid Blade reporter Chris Johnson were there covering the hard news. Another power couple and good friends Claire Lucas and Judy Dlugacz were there. No two people are more dedicated to Hillary Clinton and no one has asked me but Claire Lucas has the brains and experience to be an incredible ambassador. If Hillary Clinton were to name her she would be the first openly lesbian ambassador. Let’s make some more history.

Then Bill Clinton took the stage. I remembered how much I was floored by Bill Clinton’s speech for Barack Obama in 2012 and I wanted to hear this speech without the cheers of the crowds in my ears. I met Vincent Ryan and Juven Jacob for a light dinner and we watched Bill give another incredible speech back at my place. He spoke of his love of Hillary and Chelsea and how no one knows the real Hillary if they just listen to what he called the comic book character Republicans try to turn her into. He did a stupendous job of telling us about the real Hillary. Another Bill Clinton grand slam and to boot he looked great and didn’t wear his glasses.

All in all it was a great day and more to come tomorrow.

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