Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Former First Lady, former Senator, former Secretary of State and soon to be candidate for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton came to Louisville on Wednesday night and was greeted by a screaming crowd of fans at the Commonwealth Convention Center.
The Convention Center, staged to look like a state political convention with narrow delegate signs from the 120 Kentucky counties, held a standing room only crowd of between 4500 and 5000. The free event brought out all ages on a chilly, misty night. Traffic in Louisville was snarled in several directions from construction and events re-routing. Supporters didn't seem bothered by the inclement weather.
Governor Steve Beshear and Democratic office holders from Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth to Attorney General Jack Conway and Auditor Adam Edelen joined local Jefferson County office holders in greeting the Secretary of State. Congressman Yarmuth reminded the crowd that he had known Senator McConnell for many years, accusing him of caring only for himself. It was one of many volleys hurled at the Senate Minority Leader by speaker after speaker.
Former Governor Martha Layne Collins, whom Clinton called "my good friend" was also on the program. Collins is the only woman to ever serve as governor of the Commonwealth. She told the crowd that being able to work with both sides of the political aisle led to Toyota Manufacturing locating a factory in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes introduced the woman that she said had known her since she was fourteen years old. Grimes attended the first Clinton Inaugural and presented them with roses at the ceremony. The Cliintons and the Lundergans go way back. The Lundergan's catered daughter Chelsea's wedding. Grimes joked that the Clinton's first grandchild, Charlotte, is named after Charlotte Lundergan.
Calling herself a Clinton Democrat, Grimes took issue again with her opponent and the media pigeonholing her as a rubber stamp for the President.
As she has repeated many times before, she said, "Barack Obama is not on the ballot. I am."
Clinton spent a good bit of her time lauding the Affordable Care Act, aka Kynect, that has enrolled 500,000 Kentuckians. Many, she said, were getting health care for the first time. She chided Senator McConnell for his words at the KET debate for saying he wants to pull it out by "root and branch."
"It's all about who shows up." Clinton told the crowd. Polling has teetered back and forth between the two candidates throughout the campaign. A low turnout generally favors Republicans. Grimes needs a healthy showing in the Golden Triangle to overcome rural conservative voters.
Secretary Clinton is widely believed to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2016. Looking fit and rested, Clinton didn't give any hints of her plans. But it was obvious from the crowd that Kentucky Democrats will again put Kentucky in her column, as it did in 2008.