from The Record dated Monday,
March 21, 2003
Michael J. Wildes, Mayor, City of Enlgewood
N. Van Brunt Street
March 31, 2003
is target of war protesters
- There were nursing home
residents and domestic violence counselors, rabbis and ministers, ward
heelers and political consultants. They all crowded into a stuffy ballroom
Sunday for the closest thing Democrats have to an elected celebrity these
But the 300 who surged toward the podium at the Radisson Hotel, where
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
appeared at a fund-raiser,
included a few who were less than thrilled with her support for the war
in Iraq .
As the transplanted New Yorker spoke of supporting the troops, anti-war
protester Michael McLean broke into shouts.
"No war in 2004!" the 19-year-old from Mahwah shouted as he
fell toward Clinton .
He was still yelling when authorities quickly escorted him out.
The former first lady, wide-eyed for a moment, never stumbled during her
speech. "I deeply respect differences of opinion," she told
"That's what elections are for, and that's what we will have the
opportunity to debate" - but in the future, she said.
Clinton, who in October voted to authorize military action in Iraq
, skewered the Bush administration
for its proposed tax cut, the weak economy, and homeland security funding.
But she avoided the war and military strategy, other than to express her
devotion to the troops.
Mostly, the event was a time to sound Democratic themes and gather cash
for Clinton 's
political action committee. The freshman senator is a heavyweight among
party fund-raisers, distributing nearly $1 million to candidates nationwide
Sunday's appearance was organized by Englewood Councilman Michael
Wildes, a candidate for mayor this year. The speech and a closed-door
reception beforehand raised more than $50,000 for Clinton
's committee, he said.
Admission was $1,000 per person, although many said they came for free
as Wildes' guests.
Outside the hotel, about two dozen people protested Clinton
's stance on the war. They
said they have been targeting Democrats who authorized the conflict.
"The people in Congress, those who voted for it, are now responsible
for these many, many deaths of Iraqi civilians and our soldiers,"
said Paula Ragovin, a teacher from Teaneck
, who held a makeshift
coffin under dreary skies.
Protesters said they support the troops and oppose Saddam Hussein. But
President Bush could have resorted to another course, such as tougher
weapons inspections, they said.
said she had voted to authorize military action to encourage Bush to give
diplomacy and the United Nations a try. She did not mention that vote
Though some have questioned the White House's war plan in recent days,
the closest Clinton
came was to note that the Pentagon always reviews its performance after
a conflict. "I expect our political system to do the same, and I
will be an active participant in that," she said.
She was less circumspect on other issues, blasting Bush for what she said
was poor funding for local authorities who serve on the front lines of
As for the proposed tax cut, which the president says would stimulate
the economy and tax revenues, Clinton told the cheering crowd that the
savings would go "mostly to the rich."
"When my husband left office, we had huge surpluses and no deficits,"
she said, referring to former President Bill Clinton. Now, she argued,
the federal government is back in the red, thanks to "the most wrong-headed
economic policy we have had since Herbert Hoover," the president
at the start of the Great Depression.
Invitees said they supported Clinton
, whatever her stance on
the war. Wildes praised her for serving during a time "that now offers
very few painless choices."
The event was officially closed to the media, although a reporter, perhaps
unnoticed, was able to hear the speech. Clinton
's staff ordered a photographer
for The Record out of the building. The senator left without taking any
But a few protesters, such as McLean
, did sneak in. Another
man stood quietly in a tuxedo until Clinton
's speech ended. Afterward,
he asked loudly why she was supporting the "con man in the White
by that time, was shaking hands at the side of the stage. The man was
hustled out of the room. Englewood
police said later that
they made no arrests.
for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes, Claudia Colbert, Treasurer