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Busy day in Los Angeles yesterday.  Newly elected Rep. Laura Richardson (D-California) joined Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Sen. Hillary Clinton in Watts at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science for a town hall meeting.  During the 90-minute event, which was moderated by Richardson, students, teachers, and parents asked Clinton questions regarding the future of America and her priorities for urban communities.  Among the issues discussed were education, health care, interest rates, the war in Iraq, the Jena 6, and increasing respect for teachers while encouraging more minorities to become teachers. 

I must say that I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with Sen. Clinton before and after the event and thoroughly enjoyed listening to her speak yesterday.  The impression I get from watching her on television doesn’t compare to having a conversation with her and then watching her live in action discussing her plans for America’s future.  Needless, to say, this Black girl was impressed.

I also spent some time with one of her senior political consultants Minyon Moore, who I have been a huge fan of for some time.   Moore is the founder of America Coming Together, and heads Dewey Square Group’s state and local practice.   She was formerly COO of the Democratic National Committee, and before that, assistant to the President of the United States and Director of White House Political Affairs under President Bill Clinton.  Before that, Moore worked as an advisor to the presidential campaign of Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988. She also served as Governor Michael Dukakis’ National Deputy Field Director.

I told Minyon that after speaking with Sen. Clinton and watching her handle yesterday’s questions, that I was going to have a hard decision to make when California’s primary rolled around. 

Many of you know that I came into this Presidential campaign a die-hard Obama supporter.  But when Obama failed to display that audacity he’s known for when it came to gay and lesbian civil rights, I stepped back.  Over the course of the last few months, I haven’t been that impressed with anyone to be honest.  I was even more depressed about the candidates after the big “gay debate.”  While gay issues aren’t my only concern, they are a concern for me when candidates are good on everything else except that.  I’m looking for the total package. 

Thankfully, as my friend Keith reminded me, I don’t have to make a decision today.  I have several months to continue to gather and weigh information on all of the candidates.  Meeting Sen. Clinton today and speaking with her helped in that process.  I was fortunate enough to meet and hear Sen. Barack Obama earlier this year in Los Angeles when he came here for his book signing.

I called my grandmother when I was leaving the event and told her my thoughts on Sen. Clinton and that I was impressed with her.  My grandmother is a Jehovah’s Witness and is not political in any way.  She doesn’t vote because Witnesses don’t.  She told me that she agreed that Clinton was a good speaker and very impressive but that if she voted her conscious would dictate that she vote for Obama because he’s a Black man and that race trumps gender for her in this case.  Now here’s a woman who just turned 87 years old, so she’s experienced racial and gender discrimination and seen our country change its views on both women and Blacks.  I wonder how many other senior African-American’s share the same opinion.  After all, they do tend to be high propensity voters.

Well it ain’t over till it’s over, and we’ve got several months left of these types of meetings with the candidates to get to know them.  I’m glad that I attended yesterday’s event and had the opportunity hear Clinton for myself.

Click here to read Clinton’s  Youth Opportunity Agenda.


MORE PHOTOS (Photo credit: Shon Smith for D’Angelo’s Photos)

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Me w/ Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rep. Laura Richardson

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Magic Johnson, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Me, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Rep. Laura Richardson, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Assemblymember Mervyn Dymally, and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

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Hillary Clinton for President senior political consultant Minyon Moore.