Today I saw the ex-president, and yesterday I saw the next president.
The turnout at UH was downright anemic, with less than 3,000 in a venue that seats over 10,000. The fact that a former president couldn't even one-third fill the Pavillion has to be worrisome to this campaign. I agree that Obama's rally yesterday had the advantage of better weather, and the actual candidate appearing, but this turnout was still just plain awful.
It was good for us though, because Mike was two rows (and about 10 feet away) from the Big Dawg, and I was just a little farther back. I had to run back to the car, because apparently umbrellas are a security hazard. Interestingly, security was much tighter at tthe Obama rally, and there were no metal detectors for Clinton's speech.
As far as content goes, I was pretty upset with the Clinton campaign's decision to trot out Florida Congressman Kendrick Meek, who called for the Florida primary delgates to be seated at the convention. I've explained why this is an unfair and harmful idea over at Turning Texas Blue. Additionally, attempting to undermine the DNC rules is not a smart move for someone who will need the establishment on her side should she win the nomination.
Bill Clinton's speech was full of policy details, clearly designed to draw a contrast to Obama's practice of speaking in broad themes. (more on this difference later) He was forceful and believable in his advocacy for Hillary, and he stuck to the major campaign talking points_ that Hillary will be "Ready to start on Day 1", and that "she offers more than inspiration".
These days his hair is a little whiter, but the President looked fired up and happy to be back in front of a crowd. He's a natural politician, and you can tell that he lives for this stuff. He stayed for almost an hour after his speech, shaking hands, signing books, and talking to people in the crowd. Mike was happy that he got his Clinton auto-biography signed, and wasn't sure he'd ever wash his hand again after Bill shook it.
While it's true that the Houston demographics favor Obama, the contrast between the rallies has convinced me. I don't think it's a matter of "if" Obama wins Texas, but a matter of how much he wins it by. There's still some work to do, but as far as I'm concerned, the Clinton campaign is over.