Well-known author and Democratic Party supporter John Grisham, an Albemarle County resident, teamed with Democrat Hillary Clinton to raise money for her front-running presidential campaign today.
The two appeared before a crowd of about 1,000 people at a restored Charlottesville movie theater. Grisham, who moderated the event, played to the crowd with a warm, affable demeanor, saying as he came onstage to raucous applause: “I am not running, so knock it off.”
Grisham’s conversation with Clinton on the stage at the Paramount ranged from questions about the environment to the reasons she has long rooted for both the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees, which she said “really gave me a psychic balance” as the Cubs were perennial losers and the Yankees usually won.
Clinton joked with Grisham often during the hour-long event, sparring over baseball team loyalties they do not share – as he is a St. Louis Cardinals fan who delights in the annual demise of the Cubs – and joshing about potential appointments at the ambassadorial level.
After he asked about appointments, she said she might put him on a list of potential ambassadors to Paris or Rome, but implied strongly that his inability to speak French might keep him from the top of the list of candidates for ambassador to France. Grisham said that was “a very polite ‘No,’ and that’s OK, because I really don’t want to leave Charlottesville.”
During the event, Clinton said her campaign will not concede traditional Republican strongholds like Virginia in the election and President Bush’s ebbing popularity gives Democrats more reason than ever to feel that way.
Grisham said in an interview after the event that it raised $200,000 for Clinton’s presidential campaign and that his role as host was “beyond an endorsement.” According to Grisham, the event matched a fundraiser that he, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Stephen King put on at the same theater last Sept. 24 for Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Jim Webb, who last Nov. 7 defeated incumbent Sen. George Allen by about 10,000 votes.
Grisham, an Albemarle County author and member of the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1983 to 1990, also told the crowd that Charlottesville must be important because Obama is coming for a fundraiser in just more than a month. Plans for an Oct. 29 fundraiser have not been formally announced by Obama’s campaign but were leaked in an e-mail by the campaign’s finance committee.
Audio clip (by Charlottesville Podcasting Network)