Hillary Clinton's Austin Rally

9:13pm: We end with the ready-to-answer-the-phone-at-3-am line and the crowd cheers madly. The acoustics in this room, again, are AWESOME. I felt like that speech was the perfect length. And we're out. Tune in for a historic (and crazy) day tomorrow.

9:12pm: "Nobody's vote is more important than anyone elses, assuming we count them all, which is what we're gonna do," she says with a grin. I THINK this is a reference to her push to have the Florida and Michigan delegates seated, even though Obama's name didn't even appear on the Michigan ballot because all the candidates agreed not to run in those states after they broke national party rules.

9:08pm: About half an hour into this speech, Clinton takes her usual digs at President Bush, but still no mention of Obama. She makes an opaque reference to him that we've heard before... "There is a big difference between talk and action and speeches and solutions and rhetoric and reality," she says. It looks like both candidates will leave the dirty work of sniping at each other to their respective campaign surrogates.

8:58pm: Big applause as she talks about our dependence on foreign oil. "We are more dependent on foreign oil than we were on 9/11," she says. "We are done. We are going to have an energy policy that will enhance our security, protect our planet and improve our economy." (HUGE applause.)

8:51pm: "I am a little older, and I have earned every wrinkle on my face," Clinton says. "And I feel just as energized about what we're going to do in this election as I did back then!"

8:39pm: Any minute now... yes. Here she is... the crowd goes wild. In the photo below, there's Chelsea Clinton, US Rep Sheila Jackson Lee and to her right, State Rep Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, who is introducing her.


8:35pm: Crowd's getting restless. It's chanting on its own now... but then someone just turned up the music (Shania Twain) and it drowned out the chant.

8:28pm: Here's something interesting. The cheerleader just asked the audience how many of them haven't voted yet. Only a few hands went up, actually. So based on the hand count, most of this audience has already cast ballots. Obama has tended to bring in new voters, many of whom don't early vote. Not sure what a stupid "raise your hand" count really means, I just found it interesting that so few hands in this audience have yet to vote. These fervent supporters are going to be the ones caucusing tomorrow though, I'm fairly certain.

8:21pm: More t-shirts being given away. And a cheerleader starts teaching the crowd cheers for tomorrow's caucus. Examples: "When I say Hillary, you say Texas... Hillary, Texas, Hillary Texas"... etc etc. Or there's also "When I say Madame, you say President, Madame, President, Madame, President..."

8:14pm: Not sure if Greene is supposed to introduce Clinton. But she's good at energizing the crowd so I feel like she SHOULD introduce her... okay she's definitely not. With how claustrophobia-inducing these risers are right now, I totally forgot that the traveling press corps isn't even here yet.

8:08pm: Now we hear from former Rock the Vote president Jehmu Greene. "Is Austin Hillary country or what?" she asks. She knows how to fire up the crowd much better than the Bastrop mayor did eariler, let me just say.

8:05pm: This is another part of the pre-rally that I enjoy. The crowd warmer upper guy. He's throwing out t-shirts and doing the "gimme an H" stuff.

7:59pm:Like I explained earlier, this gym is oval shaped and the risers rise up like a bowl. Or a hockey arena. Anyway, about half of the risers are full. The security guard photo below is the side behind the press. Here's the look at the folks in front of him, squished around one long table.


7:56pm: Oh sweet, the wave! I love the wave. The press is not taking part in it though, so I'm stuck sitting here even though we are leaving the wave incomplete.

7:52pm: The program is officially supposed to start in eight minutes, but take a look at part of the room. It's possible, however, that the town hall folks will be coming down here when Clinton comes down here and fill up these risers quickly:


7:46pm: Barrientos has taken the stage again. He's actually a pretty recent Clinton convert. He was the Texas chair of the Bill Richardson for President campaign until Richardson dropped out.

7:41pm: Now we hear from State Rep Valinda Bolton, D-Austin, whose district we are actually in right now. "I'm so glad y'all are all here tonight," she says. She doesn't get an applause line until she mentions how the first person she voted for who actually won was former Governor Ann Richards.

7:37pm: State Rep Donna Howard, D-Austin, is now talking up Clinton. "No other candidate has a healthcare plan that will cover all people," Howard says. "It is not black and white, we don't want a robot walking into the White House."

7:33pm: It's ridiculously crowded on the press risers right now, while only have the actual audience risers have filled up. The campaign is working on filling the side of the "Burger Bowl" (which I'm now going to call it) which the cameras are going to face.

7:31pm: Former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos is getting things warmed up, beginning the pre-program as Clinton wraps up her live town hall meeting downtown.

7:28pm: The Burger Activity Center, where the rally is being held tonight, is just a big basketball gym. But the acoustics in here are fan friggin' tastic. It is so loud in here -- the place is designed kind of like a bowl, and the seventies era wood paneling on the walls probably help with the acoustics.


7:26pm: Took a while longer than I thought to get through security, find a spot on the extremely crowded press risers and get the computer connected to the internets. But we're back

6:14pm: All right, photog Justin and I are going to sneak off to the nearby South Austin Madam Mam's for some food before things get crazy tonight. If anyone wants to come, it's the one on West Gate.

6:12pm: Down to 38 degrees, I would guess. Everyone's still standing outside. After about six minutes outside for the 6pm liveshot I can barely feel my fingers, so I can't imagine what it's like for someone who has been at the front of the line.

5:30pm: The crowd has lined up outside to wait to get inside the lovely sixties green colored Burger Activity Center for tonight's election eve rally.


5:23pm: Senator Clinton is expected here around 8pm, right after her hour-long town hall which will be broadcast on Fox Sports Network Southwest. It means those of you who were looking forward to an evening of relaxin' and watching Spurs Insider will get to watch Hillary Clinton take questions instead.

5:20pm: The wind is blowing so hard out here at the site of Hillary Clinton's Austin rally tonight that a strong gust just shook the livetruck. I don't think I've ever eaten more hair in one liveshot as I did during the 5pm hit a few minutes ago.

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