Fire Fighters Hear from Eleven Presidential Hopefuls
IAFF 2008 Presidential Forum -- March 14, 2007   ...Next >
March 14, 2007--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) received an enthusiastic reception during her speech at the IAFF 2008 Presidential Forum in which she emphasized "being there for you."  
Speech notes.  Sen. Clinton hit all the right notes with this audience.  

She started with a bit of risque innuendo.  "Thanks so much and thanks for last night too," Clinton said (alluding to an IAFF reception the night before).

There was a bit of a riff between IAFF President Schaitberger and Clinton.  In his introduction, Schaitberger recalled how Sen. Clinton had invited him to her office on the morning of Sept. 12, 2001.  He recounted her saying, "Harold, I'll do anything.  And everything you and your members need to look after our fire fighters and to take care of the families of your fallen."  "And without question that's exactly what she did," Schaitberger said.  

Early in her remarks, Clinton reciprocated, recalling that conversation as well.  "I want to tell you what he said to me.  He said, we will stand with New York.  Fire fighters across this country and even across our border to the North will be there for you."  Clinton continued, "Well Harold, you were true to your word.  Not only you but fire fighters and paramedics and others poured in to our city.  You shared equipment with us.  You raised money for us.  You worked side by side with us.  And you prayed with us.  You were there when we needed you, and I want you to know that I will be there with you, when you need me."  

Clinton recalled that when she ran in 2000 the IAFF had endorsed her opponent, but that their endorsement in 2006 "meant the world to me." 

Clinton presented many specific examples of "being there" for the fire fighters, as these excerpts show:

"....When George W. Bush tried to cut the funding for the SAFER Act, which I co-sponsored, and the FIRE Act, I took that personally, and with my colleagues we fought him.  And we he did it again we fought him again.  And I'm going to keep on fighting until FIRE and SAFER are fully funded, whatever it takes."  
"...Working hand in hand with many of you and with the IAFF we created a program to screen and monitor those who were sick [following the World Trade Center attacks] and we got $90 million to expand it.  And when President Bush tried to take $125 million back we knew we had to draw the line, and you once again came in and helped us win that fight.  Let's just say the president picked a fight with the wrong people."

"...And in this latest budget the president is proposing to cut funds for first responders at the Department of Homeland Security to the tune of $1.7 billion. Well the way I see it, saying you believe in homeland security without funding first responders is like saying you believe in building a hospital without doctors and nurses."

She spoke for a bit more than 26 minutes. [transcript]

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R-VA)
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM)
Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)
Presidential Forum Survey

Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action