Fish Fry Photos!

Here are the photos I took at Congressman Jim Clyburn's Annual Fish Fry in Columbia the day after the first Democratic debate. (Copyright warning: If you like the photos, please feel free to link to them on this site and give me credit for them. Don't publish them elsewhere.) Unfortunately, some of these photos didn't turn out so well because everyone was moving around in such a small space and people were constantly moving their cameras.

Here's Hillary Clinton speaking at the fish fry. From left to right, the other people one the stage are Congressman Jim Clyburn, Governor Bill Richardson, former Senator John Edwards, and Senator Barack Obama. Like her or not, there's no denying that she is a veteran politician who doesn't make a lot of mistakes. Her presence is very professional. Every detail down to her hand gestures and her clothes has probably been thoroughly planned. Notice how she's wearing a bright yellow pantsuit, which contrasts tremendously with the darker colors everyone else was wearing. That differentiated her from everyone else on the stage and made her seem like the main attraction.

Here's a picture of Clinton and Obama laughing on stage. Notice how they are not looking at each other even though they are standing right next to each other. They barely spoke to each other the entire evening. Here's another photo of them ignoring each other.

I mentioned in my original post about the fish fry that Obama had received a letter that was passed to him by someone in the crowd. Here's a photo of Obama reading that letter. I don't know what that letter said, but whatever it was, Obama seemed quite troubled by it. Here's a photo of Obama after reading that letter. Notice how his arms are folded and he is not smiling even though Clyburn is speaking. And here's yet another photo of an obviously distracted or perturbed Obama. I wonder what that letter said?

Here's Obama speaking to the crowd. Whatever was bothering him about that letter earlier must have been shoved to the back of his mind because he gave a rousing speech that the crowd ate up. Perhaps he was playing through the pain, so to speak? Or did he get a fish bone stuck in his throat like my sister joked?

This is Chris Dodd speaking on stage. I kinda felt sorry for him because of the six candidates who came to the fish fry, Dodd seemed to be the least celebrated. But then again, he was competing for oxygen with Bill Clinton's wife, the hometown hero turned North Carolina senator, and the well-spoken guy whose dark skin makes him look just like "us." But the crowd gave him polite applause. I didn't get a chance to meet Dodd at the event, unfortunately. I heard that he worked the crowd, but I must have been on the other side of the parking garage.

This is Joe Biden getting ready to take the mic from Clyburn so he can address the crowd. He seemed to have more fans in the audience this time compared to the previous day's debate. I was able to talk with him while he worked the crowd after speaking on stage. He remembered me (and said he definitely remembered my wife) and posed for another picture with me. Biden is a funny guy. It seems like the off-camera Joe Biden is totally different from the Joe Biden we see on C-SPAN. If he can convey this off-camera persona to a bit more people, I think he may have a chance because the intellect and vision are definitely there.

One of the main stars of the night was John Edwards. Admittedly, I was in Edwards' camp before I switched to Richardson's because of his compelling argument about shared sacrifice. Rather than spouting off a list of things he wanted to accomplish, his message was one of our own responsibility for helping us achieve these goals. The crowd loved him and his speech, and even I was impressed. He seems to be the Mitt Romney of the Democratic field in that he is polished, some of his views have "evolved," he's relatively inexperienced, and he's got a lot of cash. A Romney vs. Edwards election would be quite intriguing in this regard.

Here we have John Edwards and Bill Richardson shaking hands. Richardson seemed to have more supporters in the audience at the fish fry than at the debate. (Notice how Hillary is standing politely on stage. Even her stance seems disciplined!) The two kids standing on the right are Congressman Clyburn's grandchildren. These are the two people he was referring to when he said "the most important people on this stage are..." as if he was going to make an endorsement.

And finally, here's a photo of Congressman Clyburn and I. Clyburn is going to be in Congress until he retires. People in Columbia love him. Even his Republican opponents from South Carolina have to concede that this fish fry was an awesome event that did wonders for his PR. When I met Clyburn, I thanked him for scoring the VIP tickets for the debate and told him about how one of my relatives was friends with his wife. It might not seem like much of a connection, but it was obviously enough.

What a great evening. I am definitely making a return visit next year.

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