— From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
CHICAGO -- Clinton showed up a few minutes late to the breakout session, but when
she spoke, she softened the crowd with humor and hit on some of the
liberal catch phrases sure to please the netroots.
When her microphone cut out, she said, "Vast right wing conspiracy." That got laughs and applause. And she was off to the races.
She hinted that she knows she has not always been a netroots favorite, but thanked the blogosphere for their efforts.
"Not everyone says nice things about me," Clinton said. "It's a burden
I have to bear. Let me say thank you for helping create a modern
progressive movement. I only wish we had this active fighting
blogosphere 15 years ago. We are righting that balance or lefting that
balance I'm not sure which."
She said she wished the blogosphere was around in 1993 and 1994, when she was advancing her health care plan.
She also played up her Chicago credentials, saying "Cubs not Sox," which was met with a mix of boos and applause. She laughed at it and said, "I still have a T-shirt that says, 'No Lights at Wrigley Field.'"
She also hit Fox's Bill O'Reilly for his criticism of the blogs, particularly saying that Daily Kos was hateful.
"I am proud of my campaign for going on O'Reilly," Clinton said, referring to strategist Howard Wolfson, who nodded on stage as the crowd applauded. "There are things on Daily Kos that I don't agree with, but for O'Reilly to say that."
We'll see if it gets contentious in the questioning, but so far three questions in -- on education, closing Guantanamo, FISA and Alberto Gonzales -- she has sailed.
Clinton said Gonzales should either "be removed or resign."
**** UPDATE**** Note: Clinton did not hit on Iraq -- the most volatile issue with her and the blogosphere. And with just two questions left, no one brought it up.
The toughest question came on whether or not she'd repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, NAFTA and the Welfare Act of 1996.
On DOMA: "It served a very important purpose. DOMA gave us a bright line to be able to hold back the votes to hold back [a constiutional amendment]. DOMA appropriately put the [onus on the states].
NAFTA: "NAFTA did not realize the benefits it was promised...We have to find ways to work with our neighbors in the hemisphere more closely."
Welfare Reform: She said the positives "far outweigh" the negatives of welfare reform.