ITHACA, NY – Just one day ahead of the primary, over 200 people packed into Colitvare restaurant on Monday morning to hear Chelsea Clinton campaign for her mother, Hillary.

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Leslie Danks-Burke, the Ithaca-based lawyer who is challenging State Senator Tom O’Mara, introduced the event. She opened the event by sharing the following Hillary Clinton anecdote:

Danks-Burke brought her daughter Anna, who was 4 at the time, to one of Clinton’s Campaign events celebrating a primary victory in Pennsylvania in the 2008 presidential campaign. Anna went around collecting all the victory confetti into a plastic cup that she kept on her desk for the next seven years.

When next the family met Clinton, was at an event in Corning kicking off the current presidential race. Anna took half of the collected confetti and put it in a jar to gift to Clinton.

Hillary said, “Oh no no, you should keep this, you’ve been saving this since Philadelphia.”

Anna said: “No, this is your victory confetti from 2008.”

“Hillary got it, she got that this was very important to this little girl,’ explained Danks-Burke. “She called her aide over and said, ‘Put this on my desk, and I will have half of it my desk and Anna will have half of it on her desk.

“That’s the kind of person Hillary Clinton is. She thinks about about each person and how that person can be empowered to make this world a better place,” Danks-Burke said.

Chelsea Clinton speaks

Chelsea Clinton was introduced by Maddie Crooker and Abby Cooper, two Ithaca High School seniors. Crooker is the Vice President of the school’s gender equality and social justice group.

Crooker talked about this election being her first opportunity to vote and said. She hearkened back to the woman’s suffrage movement and said that she was excited to be able to vote for a strong woman candidate like Clinton, given that women couldn’t vote, let alone run for office, a century ago.

Clinton, who acknowledged early on that she was “quite obviously pregnant,” themed her speech around the fact that in the next presidential candidate would have a massive impact on the life of her children.

“This election just feels so personal to me because I’m now a mom. Being a mom makes it feel even more personal to me given the fact that my mom is running, and I’m fiercely proud and grateful that my mom is running,” Clinton said.

“This feels like the most important vote I’ll ever cast, because I know that whomever we elect will play a profound role in changing out country, the future, the world that my children and all our children will grow up in.”

Clinton spoke a lot about health care, which had been a major battleground issue for Hillary Clinton during her time in the senate.

“She doesn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. She doesn’t let the pure be the enemy of the good. So she spent three years building a bi-partisan coalition to pass the Children’s Health insurance program,” Clinton said. “That program now insures over 8 million American children.”

All of the issues

Clinton did take one small shot at Bernie Sanders, running the common criticism of Sanders being a “single issue” candidate.

On the subject of the supreme court, she said that what she’d heard from Sanders was he was always focused entirely on the overturning of Citizens United.

Clinton said that couldn’t imagine that any candidate could be as opposed to Citizens United as Hillary Clinton was, because not only was there the ethical level, but it was also personal for Clinton. Chelsea said that Citizens United existed for the sole purpose of destroying Hillary’s 2008 campaign.

Returning to the single-issue angle, Clinton indicated that her mother was focused of all the important issues for the supreme court to tackle, such as woman’s reproductive rights, gun control and voting rights. She added that Clinton was the only candidate with a strong, consistent position on gun control.


About three minutes into  Clinton’s speech, local activist Ariel Gold stood up to interrupt Clinton, holding a large sign. Gold railed against Hillary’s unconditional support for Israel and part in making arms deals with countries like Saudi Arabia.

The crowd had a mixed reaction: some loudly called for her to be ejected and began to try and drown her out by clapping or chanting “Hillary.” Others could be heard urging people to remain civil and allow her to speak.

That wasn’t the only interruption. About 10 minutes later, a group of about a half-dozen Cornell students stood up, calling “mic check” before collectively speaking a statement.

The statement was somewhat jumbled and many supporters were attempting to shout them down, but their statement seemed to be about the Clinton Foundation being responsible for mistreating workers.

Protester Ariel Gold being escorted out. (Michael Smith / The Ithaca Voice)

In both cases, Chelsea said that she was open to talking and taking questions with protesters. One of the Cornell students seemed that he may take up that offer, but ultimately left with his fellow protesters.


Chelsea stuck around for a brief press Q&A following the event. See the video below:

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.