What: The Alfred E. Smith (Al Smith) Dinner. Not to be confused with the Alfred E. Neuman anything.
When: Thursday 10/20/16 at 750pm CT
Where: The Waldorf=Astoria in NYC (live streamed on CSPAN.org)
Who: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, having to pretend to be comedians for a surreal and bizarre evening
Why: Beats me. I think these events, including that White House Press Corps laughfest they do every year, are stupid. I know that this one raises money for charity, but there are lots of ways to raise money for charity. Have a bake sale instead. Sell chocolate bars like we always had to in Catholic school. But, don’t make presidential candidates come to the Waldorf and beclown themselves. I think this dinner is one of the most bizarre things we do during an election: pause the campaigns and have the candidates do a standup comedy routine. It’s like we ripped a page out of the script of the movie Idiocracy. This thing is even more strange in 2016, now that they are doing this the night after the last presidential debate. Prior to today, I didn’t think this Al Smith Dinner thing could be any stranger…so, shows what I know. I’m going to start keeping quiet about how strange I think something is from now on, since people seem to take that as a dare to be even stranger.
Since it’s you who is reading this, I am going to watch this whole thing — no matter how strange it gets — and take notes on it. But, only because we are friends like that (and have been through so much together already). I will be using CSPAN’s stream on the Internets via the Googles while computering. This will not be a transcript, but my livestream reflections on what happened as it all happened. I will not be going back and fixing typos and all that. This is just me capturing the moment for you, as if I was live-texting it or Tweeting it or whatever, like people do now. I am a really fast typist, thanks to Sister Adelaide’s 7th grade typing class at the Immaculate Conception School…but I am not a court reporter. You wish I was a court reporter, but I am not. Not all your wishes come true, hoss.
715pmCT = Settling in for the show tonight. Some people on the Tweeter were nice enough to twit me over some pics of the seating chart and maybe the actual dinner. It’s weird if this is really a pic from tonight, because Hillary is wearing her bright pink pantsuit…and that’s the one that the Alfred E. Smith website had her in on their promo. So, she wore the same thing tonight that they had a picture of her wearing on the website? That’s a weird coincidence.
This color is one of my favorite things she ever wears, besides gold/yellow. Trump is in white-tie in the photo (he’s wearing a yellow tie in the promo picture). But Hillary wore the same thing in the promo picture as she’s wearing in real life tonight. Which is so strange.
If she would win the presidency, don’t expect her to ever look nice like this ever again. She seems to hate wearing that nice wig and she hates the nice clothes. What she would wear as Secretary of State (the loose, tent-like muumuus) with the long unkempt hair is how she would dress as president. Because she would have attained her lifelong goal and would say eff-it.
Do you remember some of the strange get-ups she had as she traveled the world from 2009-2013? All of these strange outfits would come back again. This is who she really is. The character she plays with the nice wig and the colorful pantsuits is only for when she wants people to really like her and vote for her. That’s not who she really is. That’s how people like her to be and she seems to resent that.
722pmCT = What is that Alfred E. Smith thing anyway? It’s an annual dinner that raises money for Catholic charities for children in New York. It is named after the former Governor of New York state.
The dinner is going on still…but it’s not the part where Hillary and Trump will speak. It’s just a live feed of people eating and/or waiters clearing away plates. Riveting!
I really can’t stand these sorts of things. I think all of this is very un-American: the fancy dinners and tuxedos and all of that. I can’t stand state dinners.
In America, we have barbecues and picnics. This is not Buckingham Palace. There should not be a pyramid of wealthy and powerful people sitting there with white roses in front of them, being served like they are royalty. All of this irks and vexes me. It is kind of funny to watch them all eat though. They are just being real people as they are chowing down. And then people want to interrupt them mid-bite and get pictures of them while they are eating, which is so weird. I don’t think they know a live-feed is running on this.
Keep your eye out for Mystery Black Medical Man. See if that guy shows up again, the Mystery Black Medical Man who always seems to be carrying some kind of epi-pen for Hillary. Let’s see if he appears at this dinner anywhere.
The Waldorf=Astoria is usually where they have events with the president in NYC…but it’s owned by the Chinese now. And it’s about to undergo a renovation where it will no longer be a hotel, but will instead become condos. Which is sad. I’ve stayed there before and it’s enchanting. It is really old, so the rooms are strange and not up to modern standards. But it’s fun being in the hotel where Hoover lived and the Duke of Windsor resided with Wallis Simpson. I think they are going to keep only a few hundred hotel rooms…and turn the rest into the condos that will be owned by very wealthy foreign people who will almost never be in NYC. A lot of Manhattan is dark and empty because the buildings are all owned by rich foreigners who just buy those condos as investments. Lots of Chinese and Muslims do this.
I always think this is a security risk, because can’t they be slowly putting together bombs in all those buildings that they will detonate one day? Just over time keep bringing in the bomb-making parts and putting the devices together after lining the apartments with lead so no one can detect the bombs? And then one day when they have the president come to the Waldorf for something, the will detonate?
That sounds like something from a Tom Clancy novel…but apparently Tom Clancy got ideas from people who really worked for the CIA and NSA and whatever. And look how his Debt of Honor book pretty much came true on 9/11 (and almost came true entirely if the Capitol had been hit as Islam planned).
730pmCT = Hillary disappeared at some point when I was typing. Where did she go?
Oh, there she is. Looks like she was checking to see that everyone had enough breadsticks. Which was nice of her.
[NOTE: Later on, someone spotted something and twitted it on Tweeter. Hillary got up, walked down the row of people saying hello, and then Mystery Black Medical Man walked really fast across the room and was fumbling in his pocket. He seems to have taken out that mystery epi-pen she needs. Hillary then came down the stairs and met him on the far left where the American flag is. Then the two of them disappear for a bit…and then she returned and went back to her seat. So what did she do there with Mystery Black Medical Man and what is he always taking out of his coat?]
He’s very hard to see, but that’s definitely Mystery Black Medical Man in the far left, lower corner, by the flag. Hillary meets him over there. For what?
Here’s something that Trump doesn’t seem to understand, but Hillary gets: you have to go around and be nice and talk to people. Trump doesn’t like to do that. Have you noticed? Whenever there has been a debate, the Clintons go around and talk to people and they do not leave the room unless they have met everyone. This way, no one leaves in a sour mood and can complain that they didn’t get to meet them. They’ve always been like that. The first time I ever met Hillary was in 2003 or so at a book signing in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She made sure she spoke to everyone who wanted to say hello to her at that Joseph Beth Booksellers. And everyone in line told her to run for president in 2004, but she didn’t listen (she would have won back then, I think…but the Kennedys told her to do a full Senate term and wait until 2008).
Trump is not cognizant of things like this. He doesn’t go around glad-handing people, but people like that. They like it when a famous person comes over to talk to them. That makes them feel special. It’s harder to badmouth someone who made a point to come over and say hello. Hillary is very nice in person, too. Even people who claim to hate her will walk away from an encounter with her saying she is nice.
I really don’t know what to say about those Secret Service guys who years later gripe about her. I know people like to believe those stories. I also know that being nice to the public when cameras are out is different than being off-camera in private settings where the SS might have been yelled at (if that is true). I wasn’t there, so I don’t know the truth. But the many times I saw Hillary on the 2008 campaign trail she was at her low point, having the nomination taken from her and nothing going right for her. Yet, she was always so nice to everyone behind the scenes at every venue I saw her at. I don’t know how she managed to pull that off if she’s such a monster. There are days when I am tired and frustrated and it’s hard for me to be nice and pleasant and funny and cheerful too.
I know this is Chuck Schumer, but for a second it looked like Dracula and I got all excited that Katie Couric brought Dracula to this dinner.
This other guy kind of looks like he’s wearing a Dracula costume as well:
Look at Michael Bloomberg in the lower left. Remember when he was in Bermuda or the Bahamas at his Caribbean palace when NYC was hit with a huge snow storm? Boy, people were mad. The streets were not plowed but he was sunning his buns in the Caribbean. They were so mad at him!
Here’s Giuliani talking to Trump and Melania:
Do you like going to fancy parties? I think this would be hell. I hate dressing up. I am a jeans and a tee-shirt kind of gay, not a fancy gay. Any day that I have to wear a tie is like a punishment. Might as well be a noose.
Hillary does not have any wine in front of her, but she likes wine. She usually does this thing where she has wine or other alcohol in a coffee cup. If there’s anything in a coffee cup, people assume it is coffee. So if you want to drink in public, drink from a coffee cup instead of a wine glass. That’s a pro-tip, right there. You’re welcome.
750pmCT = Some guy is talking. He’s listing all the New York politicians who are there. DeBlasio. Gillibrand. Giuliani. Schumer. Etc. The jokes are things like: somebody check the lights, because Giuliani is in Trump’s shadow; Chris Christie was supposed to be here but he was too fat to get through the door; Chuck Schumer is here and he’s dressed like Dracula. You know, lazy jokes. Easy jokes. Then there’s jokes about so many Jewish people being in New York, because for some reason New Yorkers think that is hilarious. Then he says, “I have to address the elephant in the room…I was speaking to Cardinal Dolan.” He’s really fat, so I guess that is funny. Hillary and the Cardinal laugh and laugh together. She does her loud cackling laugh that I happen to love. No one else likes it. But my mom used to laugh like that. She reminds me of my mom sometimes. Or a Disney villain at the end of the second act.
He did a joke about Hillary wanting to destroy the Catholic Church…and said that if the Church didn’t destroy itself then Democrats won’t be able to. Hillary cackled and cackled.
Trump will talk first…he won the pre-dinner wrestling match or something.
Trump: I see that Schumer is here…used to love me when I was in real estate. Hello to everyone who has known and loved me all these years. I was their best friend in many instances. They always wanted my endorsement and money. They called me a dear friend…but then decided that after I ran as a Republican, I was a dirty rotten scoundrel. But that’s okay. They told me I had to be self-deprecating. But the truth is…I am a modest person. It’s true. Modesty is perhaps my best quality, even better than my temperament. The Cardinal and I both run impressive properties on Fifth Avenue (he’s talking about St. Patrick’s Cathedral). My properties were built with my hands; his were built with hands of God and no one can compete with God. As Hillary would call this gathering: it’s her largest crowd this season. This is corny stuff. I come into this event with an advantage. Many here have a place in their heart for a carpenter working for his father. True. For about three weeks anyway. What’s great about the Al Smith dinner is that even in the middle of a very hard fought campaign — the most vicious debate in history — and I don’t know if that is true. We can have some lighthearted moments. Hillary will laugh tonight, maybe even in an appropriate moment. We can be civil. Hillary bumped into me and said pardon me..and I said we will talk about that after I am in office. Hillary was really gracious. She said if she would somehow win, I would be the Ambassador to Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s my choice. I’ve known Hillary for a long time. This is the first time she is speaking to major corporate donors and not getting paid for it. Last night I called Hillary a nasty woman. After listening to her rattle on and on and on, I don’t think so badly of Rosie O’Donnell anymore. I’m actually starting to like Rosie a lot now. This event allows the candidates an opportunity to meet the other side’s team. There’s her team: the heads of NBC, ABC, CNN, NYT. They are all working overtime. Obama told me to stop whining. But the Media is more biased than ever before. You want proof? Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it. They think she is great. My wife Melania gives the exact same speech and people get on her case and I don’t get it and don’t know why. She took a lot of abuse from you people. I am in trouble when I get home tonight. Since there are Catholics here, let’s talk about going to Confession. Or as Hillary calls it: Fourth of July weekend with FBI Director James Comey. Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate Commission. How corrupt do you have to be to be kicked off the Watergate Commission. (The audience didn’t like this…booed.) I wasn’t sure if she was even going to be here. I thought you sent her invitation by email and she only found out about it from WikiLeaks. (Audience turns on him at this point) She has one position in public and one in private. Tonight she’s pretending not to hate Catholics. Look at her staring at me. She’s not laughing because she got all the jokes in advance from Donna Brazile. (People booing and being nasty at this point, yelling at him to stop and shouting “That’s not nice” and “Be nice”). She likes to take a Village…and took many in Haiti. Look what she and her husband did to those poor people. Hillary has forgotten more things than most of us will ever know. We are having some fun tonight. I want to congratulate Hillary on being the nominee. In the next 19 days, we will see who will be chosen. My father used to bring me to these events. A lot of good comes out of these dinners. I applaud those who put together this event. We broke the record tonight. More than $6Million net-net-net. We need to stand up to anti-Catholic bigotry and we need to celebrate life and protect life. We need to stand up to barbarism in the world.
Host: this dinner is a fundraiser for the needy children of the archdiocese. We have raised more than $6Million. That will pay for more than 5 minutes of Hillary’s speeches. She had a tough primary and endures questions about her health. She caught pneumonia, just like William Henry Harrison. She didn’t really mean Basket of Deplorables. She has a career in public service and working for Arkansas and New York and tireless children’s advocate.
Hillary comes to speak. There is a wine glass behind her that looks like it is floating on her shoulder.
Hillary: This is a labor of love for 30 years. We all owe Al Smith a round of applause (that’s who the host is, Al Smith IV). I took a break from my rigorous nap schedule today. Usually I charge a lot for speeches. Al Smith was a fiery populist. He would be very proud of us today. If he saw all these plutocrats celebrating him, he’d be very confused. The Cardinal told me that I am not eligible for sainthood, but I’ve gone through 3 debates with Donald and that’s a miracle. I am up against a stained glass ceiling. Mortal enemies. Bitter foes. Are here together. I’m talking about the Governor and the Mayor. There are a lot of friendly faces here in this room. I want to put you all into my Basket of Adorables. You are all wearing your formal pantsuits. Donald, feel free to shout WRONG when I am talking. I didn’t think Donald would be okay with a peaceful transition of power, but he passed the mic to me. Tomorrow I will look forward to listening to Mike Pence deny that you gave a speech tonight. If you don’t like tonight’s dinner, then it must be rigged. New York embodies the best of America. People look at the Statue of Liberty and see us as a nation of immmigrants and beacon of hope. Donald looks at Lady Liberty and sees a 4…maybe a 5 if she loses the tablet and torch. A good number for a woman is 45. It took a Village to write these jokes. People say I am boring next to Donald. I am the life of the party to everywhere I’ve been. I’ve been to three. I picked Tim Kaine to be the designated driver. I don’t use a teleprompter. Donald translates things from their original Russian. There are sensible mainstream Republicans here and they are Hillary supporters. People say that I tell them only what they want to hear. This election will be over very very soon. Look at all the notables here. This counts as a press conference right? All kinds of elected officials are here. And Rudy Giuliani is here. He’s a Trump supporter now. There is nothing like sharing a stage with Donald. He wanted me drug tested because he thinks I use performance enhancers. I do: it’s preparation-H. I’ve listened to him for 4.5 hours. I’ve stood next to him longer than any of his campaign managers. He doesn’t even pay his workers. It has been a long long campaign. We should shorten the campaigns. We will either have a first female president or the first president who had a Twitter War with Cher. How will Barack get past Trump’s Muslim ban? People say Donald has no policies. He has issues. Serious issues. He has a complex. I ruined healthcare in the 90s. He’s been concerned with my health. He sent a hearse to bring me here tonight. You should judge our relative health. My blood pressure is 100/70. I have 189 cholesterol. My heart still beats. Donald is as healthy as Vladimir Putin’s horse. I will be the healthiest and youngest woman to ever be president. Donald attacks me for a life in public service. He fires his wife after a few years. I inspire the young people. The Republicans are not spending a dime to help him. Let’s all unite and just rip on Ted Cruz. WikiLeaks will have all my jokes online in a few days. Donald will decide at the Benediction if the dinner is over or not. Many people here or their parents were immigrants. Many took advantage of the American dream. Al Smith went through a lot. It was groundbreaking for a Catholic at the time to be the Democrat nominee for president. People were claiming that Holland Tunnel was secret tunnel to the Vatican. People were really stupid back then. I am a Methodist not a Catholic. We need faith and good works. You don’t have to be Catholic to like Pope Francis, the Marxist Pope. He is the Left’s pope. My running mate went to Jesuit schools. We need to get better at finding ways to disagree while finding ways to agree on decency. I have tried to do as best as I can in this campaign. How can we do more for each other and better for each other?
Cardinal Dolan: Forgive me that I am coming down with a cold because I have been sitting between these two in the iciest place on the planet. Where is Al Gore’s Global Warming when we need it? The $3,000 ticket to this event is more than most people make in a month. The $6Million raised tonight will go towards helping many people afford sending their kids to inner city Catholic schools and will help many Mexicans get around immigrations laws.
Hillary and Trump did shake hands this time at the end.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I thought that there were moments during this when Hillary was talking that she seemed like the woman that we all knew back in 2008. The nice lady that she is underneath came through. She didn’t do the robotic thing she normally does in public. There were even times when she was vulnerable, like she was before the New Hampshire primary in 2008 when she was sitting in a diner talking about why emotionally she wanted to run for president, and she cried a little. And that put her over the top to win the primary.
So on days like this, she can be her old self. I don’t know why she is not like this all the time. Her jokes aimed at Trump were pretty funny for the most part. The theme she always pushes is that Donald is crazy and that this election is a joke and she can’t believe that he’s even a real candidate. That seems to play really well to the elite crowd at an event where a ticket is $3,000. Do regular people like hearing that though?
Trump really pissed the Establishment off. He really went for Hillary’s throat and made her uncomfortable. This was a smart strategy, I think, because the Media is guaranteed to play those clips…and in them he keeps pushing her corruption.
I still am very fond of Hillary on a personal level and I am happy to see her looking so nice and I enjoyed hearing her speak…but her corruption bothers me. The voter fraud that Democrats push bothers me. If Hillary needed a kidney and I could donate it, I would do it for her…but I do not regret not voting for her. The corruption she has been involved in is just too much. She will never do a damn thing to change any of that and she will never drain the swamp.
It is a weird position for me to be in, but I am very angry with her over everything involved with that email and with all that she did that has been exposed by WikiLeaks. She will never apologize for any of it, either. The only chance we will ever have of draining the swamp is with Trump. Every single crooked person in that room hates Trump now. All the crooks love Hillary. That should tell you something about who you should vote for if you ever want any of this to be cleaned up.
Like him or not, Trump’s the only chance for change. Hillary will just continue the status quo and nothing will ever get better. The people in that room who could afford $3,000 tickets to a dinner don’t want anything to change because it’s all working just fine for them. Everyone who can’t afford that $3,000 ticket should want to see changes come. Changes that she will never, ever deliver.
UPDATE: Someone sent me this picture, which is a full-length of Hillary’s outfit tonight. So, it was a gown…and it is really pretty too. She looks great in this. It is really flattering. I’ve never seen her in anything like this before. Her dress is certainly much nicer than the Cardinal’s.
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