The View from Clinton's Oak Cliff Visit (Now, With Video!)

Merritt Martin
Hillary Clinton in Oak Cliff this morning, with council member Vonciel Jones Hill (far left), U.S. congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (left) and council member Pauline Medrano (right)
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

While thousands waited up, down and around the Reunion Arena parking garage to see Barack Obama Wednesday, a few hundred packed an Oak Cliff parking lot filled with temporary bleachers this morning to see his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. (I found a parking space around the corner on Jefferson Avenue with little effort, just so you know.) Save the cameras, the pre-speech scene was not all that different than White Rock Marathon registration, with folks huddled together in their little groups, holding supportive signs, getting psyched up, shivering in near-freezing weather.

Dallas city council member Pauline Medrano, whose endorsement of Clinton we mentioned earlier, had the duty of introducing the senator. Her speech focused on Clinton’s ability to lead from “Day One,” a big point in last night’s debate, as well as Clinton’s own speech today.

Clinton took the stage gracefully, thanking Medrano and council member Vonciel Jones Hill and bantering a bit with the crowd. She politely asked a man to put down his sign so everyone could see her and she could see everyone -- adding, at the same time, that she was “grateful for the wonderful sign” -- and a woman somewhere near me noted, “See, she’s in the solutions business!” just as Clinton teased, “See, I solve problems everywhere.” Many you-go-girl's were shouted, and the crowd went wild.

It was a short speech, well under the half-hour mark, though in her defense it was damned cold. (I claim the same defense for the shaky video you’ll see once it’s uploadedbelow. Till then, more photos are available in slideshow format here.) The whole thing was yet another show of how Clinton and Obama are so similar: The troops will come home, troops will get medical care, everyone will get health care, and a candidate not named John McCain will be the one to save the environment. She also offered some campaign-trail anecdotes -- one about a woman who can’t afford insurance for her child but makes too much to qualify for benefits, and another one about a four-tour soldier. She spoke not a single ill word about her Democratic opponent, with the exception of referencing one of Medrano’s comments: “Only Hillary Clinton can change hope into reality, promise into practice and words into action.” Not a direct slam so much as a poke, but it got the crowd going.

But Clinton seemed a bit removed. Snipers dotted the surrounding buildings; police could be seen on horseback, on motorcycle, in car and on foot surrounding the area; and while the senator had a smile plastered on her face, she seemed a little guarded. In retrospect, she was likely concerned about the Dallas police officer who crashed his motorcycle into a concrete barricade while riding in her motorcade, an accident that proved fatal. Clinton cut short her Fort Worth appearance to return to Dallas, to visit with the officer's grieving family.

To someone not taking notes, however, there may not have been a detectable difference. The crowd cheered, and throngs moved to the front of the platform for signatures and handshakes following the speech. A private-school class and their teacher showed up too late for the rally but pressed in for a possible meet-and-greet. And as I turned to leave, Sheriff Lupe Valdez and her posse shook hands with officers and on-lookers. --Merritt Martin

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.