Hillary Clinton evoked themes of sisterhood and motherhood while addressing women voters in Blue Bell today - and reminded them she'd be a strong commander-in-chief and a fighter for universal health care.
"We have seen changes that are unimaginable for our mothers and grandmothers," Clinton said at a crowded gymnasium at Montgomery County Community College. Yet, she noted, even when she was growing up, "there were colleges I couldn't go to, scholarships I couldn't apply for."
Her talk resonated with the crowd, one of whom told the candidate during the question-and-answer period, "I'd like to say 'Madame President' just once."
Nearly a thousand people filled the room, and more were directed to an overflow space, the line to get inside stretching for blocks along campus sidewalks. The crowd at the "Pennsylvania Women for Hillary" event looked like Clinton's base - female, white, a little older. Not that the over-35 crowd were the only ones present. Mothers came carrying babies or trailing teen daughters, and two little boys held up a sign that said, "Our Mama's for the Mama!"
Clinton emerged onto a platform at the center of the gym, her red blazer punctuating a sea of white and blue signs that said, "Hillary for President." The first two dozen people into the building claimed much-sought-after space, pressing against the barrier that surrounded the platform like fans around the stage at a rock concert. Some carried copies of Clinton's book, and one had a small stuffed Hillary-bear.
Sister, wife, daughter, mother - she's all of these, Clinton said, and she takes the experience of those roles "with me on the campaign trail and I hope into the White House, with your help."
She battled a balky microphone - "There must be a Republican gremlin in the sound system," she said, provoking laughter - as she noted that the April 22 primary falls on Equal Pay Day, an event held to point out the wage gap between men and women.
Authorities say women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and for no reason other than gender.
"This is not a 'woman's issue,'" Clinton said of the disparity. "This is an issue of equality and justice. This is a family issue."
"I love her," said Nancy Streit, of Oreland, who hobbled into the event on a cane. "I'd like to see a woman become president."
She was among those who came out on a sun-splashed spring day to see not just a presidential candidate but what they hoped would be a part of history.
"Not only women love Hillary," said Catherine Allison, who works with the Chester County Democrats, noting the men in the audience. She supports Clinton, she said, because of the senator's courage and intelligence - evident in her 1990s attempts to secure universal health care.
Obama likes to say that Clinton failed, Allison said, but the fact is she was the only one willing to try.
Allison said she would support Obama if he won the nomination, because she dislikes the Republican alternative, but doesn't believe he has enough experience.
"In eight years he'll be seasoned - when Hillary is done," she said.