The News
Tuesday 23 of July 2024

Hillary’s 2008 Nightmare


Ricardo Castillo (L) with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in Las Vegas, in this 2008 photo,photo: The News/Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo (L) with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in Las Vegas, in this 2008 photo,photo: The News/Ricardo Castillo
Times have changed, and as early as Tuesday we’ll be finding out who will be the Democratic Party nominee for president

Now that Hillary Clinton’s election as the Democratic nominee seems imminent, somehow the moment sends me back down memory lane to 2008, eight years ago, when on June 3 Obama defeated her, gaining for himself a reputation as “political giant slayer” as he not only beat Hillary, but Bill Clinton as well.

Back in 2008 Southern Nevada was suddenly in the national news. A group of Democratic candidates decided to launch their campaigns, and the real race for the nomination began on Feb. 27 at the Culinary Union’s parking lot.

The best known of the candidates to the local people was no doubt New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. He went on stage first followed by Hillary Clinton and finally Barack Obama.

It took Richardson and Clinton about an hour to deliver their message and why they should be the chosen the Democratic Party nominee. Obama patiently waited in the VIP section accompanied only by my wife, who’d never seen a rally in the U.S. and who spoke no English. She says they stayed mum the whole time, as Obama doesn’t speak Spanish.

“Maybe I should have asked him for his autograph,” my wife would later comment, but the fact was that at the time Obama was not a well-known senator from Illinois, and we had no way of knowing he’d become president.

What struck me most out of the event was that after the speech making was over, Bill Richardson commented, “these guys are rock stars” and began to realize that his bid for the nomination would not go far. In fact, he dropped out a month later, as all other contenders did, leaving Hillary and Obama battle it out.

It was a grueling campaign, and after the nomination Obama sat for an interview with Hispanic reporters in baseball park Cashman Field. I asked Obama about the number of debates he and Hillary held and I said, “it was I believe 21 debates, but who’s counting?” Obama corrected me and said, “It was 22 debates, and I was counting.”

The battle was not merely for the vote, but for the backing of the 60,000 member Culinary Union, which services most of the hotels and casinos in the state of Nevada.

The end of the battle came when the Culinary Union firmly backed Obama for the nomination, a move that that finally tilted the scale to the first African American nominee in history. On June 3, four days after she’d lost her bid, Hillary conceded.

Hillary summoned a press conference at the Del Sol High School gym. She looked disgruntled and not her usual enthusiastic self. Losing to Obama hit her hard, as Obama in Minnesota delivered a speech to 20,000 supporters and did not fail to mention Hillary.

“Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he said.

The crowd was responsive to the conciliatory message, loudly cheering Clinton three or four times, reports said.

In the long, bitter campaign fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, few states witnessed as much rancor as Nevada.

Fittingly, the contest ended in a split decision, with Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote and Obama claiming the most nominating delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Still, the Culinary Union under pressure from the AFL-CIO ended up backing Obama even if in the caucuses Clinton won not only the popular vote but seven of the nine caucuses held on the Las Vegas Strip, thanks in part to vigorous campaigning by Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea.

Times have changed, and as early as Tuesday we’ll be finding out who will be the Democratic Party nominee for president.

This time there will be no surprises for Hillary as she will surely clinch it this very week.