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Hillary Rodham Clinton Makes It Official

April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton's campaign for President has officially begun. Her announcement video was great and Hillary said to the people of America: "I want to earn your vote. This campaign is about you; I will be your champion."

While the official campaign just began, for the past two years, many have worked with Ready for Hillary to ensure the campaign gets off to a good start. When she wins, and she will, a debt of gratitude will be owed to Adam Parkhomenko and Allida Black for founding and building that organization. No candidate for President has ever begun their campaign with four million supporters, over two million FB supporters, and a current donor list of 135,000. Ready for Hillary organized over 1,300 events in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam and with the help of Democrats Abroad in five countries. There are over 200 colleges with Ready for Hillary groups.

All those supporters will now begin work in a massive grassroots campaign. Clinton campaigns have never been easy and the media, right wing and even the very left wing of the Democratic Party will attack. We haven't seen anything in the run-up to this campaign compared to what we will see going forward. The right-wing knows this campaign is a fight for the heart and soul of the nation. Its outcome will determine which direction the people of America want to see their country go. If Hillary is president, her appointments could remake the Supreme Court, influencing the nation positively for decades to come.

Every potential Republican candidate differs with Hillary on nearly every issue. The major one being how we rebuild our economy so it benefits not just the rich. The Republican Party continues to believe if laws and the tax code help the rich get richer, we all benefit, and they tout a failed trickle-down economic theory.

Hillary has a record of supporting the inclusion of everyone in the economy. That includes women, the LGBT community, African-Americans and immigrants. She supports increasing the minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act and improving education opportunities for all. She will lead a Democratic Party that believes building a stronger and more inclusive economy cannot be done from the top down. Hillary understands workers need to be paid a fair wage, have guaranteed sick leave, paternity and maternity leave, and a real chance to enter the middle class to build a better life for themselves and their families.

Hillary will be out on the stump meeting with voters in small groups and listening to their ideas, hopes and dreams. There are about 270 days until the Iowa caucuses, and over 500 days to the election. Neither Hillary's most ardent supporters, nor those who have yet to endorse, should expect to hear everything they want in the first few days of her campaign. But over the next months, they will hear her platform and policy initiatives and realize that she is the right person to be president. Hillary will run a campaign that will reach out across party lines in the same way she did when she was in the Senate.

Hillary isn't taking anything for granted. She understands better than anyone what a Presidential campaign entails and how grueling it is. Whether it is winning large states like California and New York, or small ones like New Hampshire and Montana, this campaign will leave no stone unturned. The host of issues a President must be prepared to deal with will all get Hillary's attention and the Ready for Hillary army of volunteers will help carry her to the White House.

Because she is Hillary Clinton, we know the press is just waiting for her to make any minor miscue. They know nothing gets attention and a front page story, or more airtime, than reporting a Hillary minor mistake or presumed mistake. With Hillary they are more than willing to take something minor and blow it up. They did it with the so-called 'email scandal' and that may be just the first of such stories which could be summed up with a famous line from Shakespeare: "Full of sound and fury signifying nothing."

The Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United allowing unlimited money in campaigns is horrendous. But the fact is, until we can change it, Democrats will need to match Republican's dollar for dollar. The Clinton campaign will work to raise the money they need to promote her candidacy. My hope is the Democratic National Committee will spend the money it raises on building the best get-out-the-vote operation we have ever seen. Democrats win when our voters come out. Hillary is an inspirational candidate and making sure the voters who support her get to the polls is crucial. When Hillary's voters come out Democratic candidates for Congress, governor, state legislatures and town councils will all be the beneficiaries.

There are just over 500 days to make a statement to the world about what America believes in today and to make history when Hillary Rodham Clinton is sworn in as the first woman President of the United States of America on January 20, 2017.

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Don't Miss 'Man of La Mancha' at Harman Hall

April 8, 2015

On Tuesday evening I saw one of the shows remembered fondly from my youth when I saw it for the first time on Broadway. Knowing the show, I took the opportunity to attend one of the many events provided by the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) which is to meet the cast of their shows at a ‘meet the cast’ evening. So knowing the show, having met the cast and heard about their backgrounds still didn’t prepare me for the impact this show has when performed as brilliantly as this cast did it. 

It is directed by the masterful Alan Paul who recently had a great piece written about him in the Washington Post. Alan assembled a cast for the show that is just superb. Anthony Warlow as Cevantes/Don Quixote brings alive every song he sings and when he does The Impossible Dream the thunderous ovation is richly deserved. The audience gets goosebumps. Washington, D.C. audiences are lucky to have the chance to hear and see this incredible Australian singer and actor.

Amber Iman as Aldonza in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of Man of La Mancha, (Photo by: Scott Suchman) Amber Iman as Aldonza in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of Man of La Mancha,

Then there is Amber Iman who plays Aldonza. She went to school here in D.C. at Howard University and clearly must make them proud. She has an absolutely beautiful voice and is a fine actress as well. She brings the audience to tears as she reprises Dulcinea toward the end of the show.

The show is just under two hours without an intermission and it never once slows down. Each member of the cast is great and they take turns displaying their talent and each receives heartfelt applause. I’m Only Thinking of Him/We’re Only Thinking of Him are both performed to perfection by Martin Sola, Maria Failla, Robert Mammana and Rayanne Gonzales. Sancho played by Nehal Joshi is perfectly cast and so much fun to watch. He has been at the Shakespeare before in The Boys of Syracuse and hopefully audiences will get to see him again.

What is also wonderful about this Man of La Mancha is the live orchestra seated not in an orchestra pit but in the boxes above the stage. It is directed by the supremely talented George Fulginiti-Shakar who has won two Helen Hayes awards and been nominated seven times. Every part of this production combines to make it a great night in the theater and that includes scenic design by Allen Moyer, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, choreography by Marcos Santana and lighting by Robert Wierzel. There is a great fight scene choreographed to perfection by David Leong.

Everything about La Mancha led the audience to jump to their feet and give the cast a richly deserved standing ovation at the end of the show.

I would suggest for a great night in the theater you get tickets to Man of La Mancha which will be at the Harman through April 26th.

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150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

March 9, 2015

Harold Holzer (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) Harold Holzer

On Wednesday, March 4th there was a celebration for the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address held in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. The event was sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and the Illinois State Society of Washington, D.C.

It was a moving evening to be sitting in Statuary Hall which was where the House of Representatives met when Lincoln was a Congressman. There is a marker where his desk was.

Stephen Lang (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) Stephen Lang

I was invited by my good friend Harold Holzer who is a Lincoln Scholar and Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation. He spoke of Lincoln the man and the statesman, as always when he speaks making Lincoln come alive for everyone in the audience. His latest book is Lincoln and the Press: The War for Public Opinion.  Other speakers included Rodney Davis (R-IL) who represents Springfield, Il; Dr. Edna Greene Medford, Chair, Department of History, Howard University;  and the Hon. Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation; member of Congress and Co-Chair of the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Before talking about Lincoln LaHood apologized to actor Stephen Lang who was there to recite Lincoln’s inaugural address, for not recognizing who he was. He told Lang that was likely the biggest mistake he has made since leaving congress. Some in the room may have thought the mistake   referred to the person who now has his seat, Aaron Schrock, who is best known for decorating his Congressional office to look like a set from the TV show Downton Abbey.

Ray LaHood (Photo by: Peter Rosenstein) Ray LaHood

Lang, a renowned and incredibly talented actor who has appeared often on TV and in many films including Avatar, did credit to the inaugural address. His voice rang out in that room as he spoke some of Lincoln’s most famous words which are the last paragraph of the address; “With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and all nations.”

It was an evening to remember and what made it extra moving was hearing those words ring out realizing just to the left of Lang as he spoke them was the statue of Rosa Parks.

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