LACONIA — When Hillary Clinton brought her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region, where she hosted a forum on substance abuse Thursday afternoon, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont closed the event by assuring the crowd that "Hillary gets kids!" But, this week, not so much.
Following the event Celine McArthur of NH1 in Concord reported that Clinton left the venue without mingling with the children who were prepared and eager to welcome her to their club, leaving them disappointed and crestfallen. The report quoted Traci Tucker of the club to say, "it just didn't happen. She ran out of time. There were tears, they were really looking forward to it. There were a bunch of kids that had decorated her little bathroom."
One of the children, Landon, told McArthur "When I heard it, I was kind of angry and mad at the same time and I kind of felt a little bit sad because I was looking forward to it for all day today. Mostly what I wanted to do was maybe, um, like maybe for her to write her name on a piece of paper for me to show everybody."
In confirming the report yesterday The Daily Sun learned from individuals who asked not to be identified that nearly three dozen children between the ages of five and 13 had written letters, drawn pictures and prepared questions — even decorated the restroom designated as a dressing room — in anticipation of meeting Clinton. While the children waited in vain for Clinton inside, their parents, who were barred from entering the building, waited outside.
A Clinton campaign aide declined to speak to NH1 on Thursday and The Daily Sun was unable to reach the campaign yesterday.
NH1's report drew 75 comments on the station's website, virtually all negative and many outright hostile, including this from an unhappy parent: "My daughter was so excited to meet Hillary. She was so upset when she found out she wasn't coming. I know life isn't fair and things happen, but I feel like this is inexcusable. Why make plans to see them and blow them off? Like it was no big deal? The children had been looking forward to seeing her all week! She couldn't take 20 minutes out of her life to follow through with what she had planned? Is she really going to follow through with anything else she promises? Makes you wonder!"
One woman wondered why, if meeting with the children was not a priority, the event was scheduled at the Boys & Girls Club rather than any number of other suitable venues.
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