Among the invited guests at the fundraiser were Gov. Jon Corzine, U.S. Congressman and former West New York Mayor Albio Sires, and City Councilpersons Michael Sottolano and Mary Spinello. There was a cross section of local developers and businesspeople that also showed up for the event.
The event was organized by the Lefrak family, who are the builders of the Newport developments, and downtown City Councilman Steven Fulop.
Even though the public rally was canceled only three days before her scheduled Monday appearance, many residents came out to try to catch a glimpse of the former First Lady.
One was a Korean woman, a resident of Newport for the past five years.
"It was really exciting to see her," said the woman, who declined to give her name. "I hope she comes back again."
According to the organizers of the fundraiser, Clinton raised over $150,000 for her campaign.The impression of Hillary
Corzine, Fulop and Sires all praised Clinton before she spoke. Corzine commented that it was "time for a woman president."
Among those impressed with Clinton was James Carroll, a Jersey City attorney and former police officer. He is also considered an ally of Fulop and a future candidate for City Council.
"I like what she had to say about wanting to improve health care in this country," Carroll said. "I think she's great and she's my choice for president, and I hope she does become president."
Clinton's campaign website (www.HillaryClinton.com) states her seven-point plan for improving this country's healthcare system, including a prevention initiative to reduce the costly illnesses such as diabetes and cancer, and a new "paperless" technology system for tracking healthcare data.
Spinello was convinced that she heard the next president of the United States speaking.
"She presented a real plan on how she will run this country," Spinello said. "And based on her past experience, she will be an asset in the White House."
Developer Paul Silverman and his brother Eric head Jersey City-based Exeter Properties, builders of such projects as the Majestic Condominiums on Montgomery Street and the current Hamilton Square Condos next to Hamilton Park.
Silverman said he wasn't sure he was allowed to comment since it was a private fundraiser. He also would not commit yet to endorsing Clinton for president. "I donate to everyone, like I did with Barack Obama," Silverman said.
Candidate and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama came to Jersey City in May for a fundraiser at the Liberty House Restaurant near Liberty State Park. He has been endorsed by Mayor Jerramiah Healy and Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Not everyone was supportive
It was estimated by organizers that over 500 people waited behind barricades for Clinton to step outside.
Once she came out of the Newport Financial Center, there was applause followed by spectators holding up their digital cameras and camera phones.
But amidst the hoopla and good feelings, a loud voice cut through with: "BRING THE TROOPS HOME!"
The chant continued until Clinton was escorted by Security Service agents into a black, tinted van and whisked away to a fundraiser in Bergen County.
It turns out there was a person behind those words.
Eric Anders-Nilsson, Jersey City resident and activist featured in the documentary "Confessions of a liberal actor-vist" (see recent article in the Hudson Current at www.hudsoncurrent.com). Founder of the Jersey City Peace Movement, an anti-war activist group, Nilsson came to the impromptu rally to join a small group of fellow activists expressing their disapproval of Clinton's support of funding of the war in Iraq.
"Democrats who were supposed to have ended this war, and they could have if they brought the troops home," Nilsson said. "And for Hillary Clinton to plead naiveté about how it would turn out in Iraq when she voted to give George Bush authority is just insulting."
Nilsson said while he was disappointed only seven came out in a show of dissent "instead of 700," he was thankful for the response they got after the crowd dispersed.
"About 20 or more people came up to us and shook our hands and thanked us for telling the truth," Nilsson said. "They wanted to take pictures with us." Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at email@example.com.