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The previous evening Senator Clinton had told MS-NBC that the blackout affecting huge portions of the northeast and Canada must be looked at in the context of the GOP’s power deregulation policies. However, in her speech in Buffalo, she didn’t discuss the blackout, specifically, telling the group of Young Dems only that , “You couldn’t have met in a better place to harness your energy for the future,” perhaps in reference to the fact that Buffalo has thus far been spared the brunt of the power outages.

After touting the City of Buffalo as, “…one of the most beautiful, most hospitable and most interesting cities in America,” Sen. Clinton focused in on the recall effort of Gov. Gray Davis in California, which she characterized as an expensive end run around the Democratic system. She pointed out that while the recall referendum was financed privately with a few million dollars raised by wealthy Republicans, the State will wind up spending $65 million to enable, “…an angry minority to reverse the results of a Democratic election.”

She also compared the recall effort in California to the contested Presidential election of 2000 in Florida. She said that both efforts set a terrible precedent. In referring to GOP tactics in Florida, she asked rhetorically, “They got away with it, didn’t they?”

She then took a more optimistic tack by praising the efforts of the Young Democrats and encouraging them not to lose hope, as they work towards taking back the White House in 2004. “It’s important to understand how anxious and worried many people are about the direction our country has taken.”

She exuded confidence as she assured the convention that, “We will have a strong candidate, who I believe will be elected.”

In examining the record of George Bush, she compared his administration to a magician’s disappearing act, citing the imminent demise of numerous health and social welfare programs, increased police protection, and support for Americorps championed by her husband’s administration as a result of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

She said Bush’s tax cuts of over 2 trillion dollars, “will inevitably make us a more unequal country,” adding that, “He’s the first president to have taken us to war and cut taxes at the same time.”

Describing the Bush administration as the most radical and reactionary in American history, Sen. Clinton urged the Young Democrats to take back their future from a government that appears intent on mortgaging and short selling it.

However, on the subject of the war in Iraq, Sen. Clinton was more circumspect than a number of Democratic Party Presidential candidates, who have come out against the war. She pointed out that she has attempted to support the President when she could on issues such as increasing AIDS research funding and the war on terrorism.

She said that the Clinton administration deserved some credit for the preparedness of American troops. “If we get into a war, we can’t lose because of the quality of our troops,” she said.

Rather than criticize the decision to go to war, she pointed out that, “We can see that we were not prepared in Iraq to win the peace.”

Sen. Clinton did at several points in her speech direct comments specifically to her audience to remind them of their importance in the Democratic process. In order to counter the GOP’s “bad ethics and bad economics,” she advocated for young people to get more involved. “Politics is much more focused on people who are older than on younger people, ” she said.

“If young people had voted in 2000, “she continued, “that election would not have been close at all.”

Perhaps saving some of the more egregious sins of the Bush administration for the end of her speech, Sen. Clinton criticized the Bush Administration for its insistence on its right to use nuclear weapons in first strike situations and also its secrecy surrounding the investigation into the events that culminated in the terrorist acts on September 11.

Sen. Clinton summed up her talk by speaking of the historical roots of the Young Democrat of America clubs that arose out of the hard times of the Great Depression in 1932 to counter the “…inaction, complacency and drift,” of the Republican administration of Herbert Hoover.

Her summary drew a rousing ovation and a large portion of the crowd remained in the room in hopes of meeting the woman who has become, without question, one of the Democratic Party’s most influential leaders. By John McMahon

New York Senator Hillary Clinton spoke to the Young Democrats of America National Convention at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo this afternoon, and received an enthusiastic response from the SRO crowd.