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Winners & Losers from JJ Dinner

Here are some winners and losers from the Virginia Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner Saturday night in Richmond. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) spoke to about 6,000 party activists and donors. Before the event, which also featured speeches from a elected leaders and party officials, hundreds of Clinton and Obama supporters faced off outside the Stuart C. Siegel Center on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Winners:

Barack Obama Virginia organizers: Obama supporters appeared to outnumber Clinton supporters by about 3 to 1. Before the dinner, about 300 Obama supporters paraded down one of Richmond's busiest streets to show their support for their candidate. The Obama campaign, aided by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's (D) trusted political aide Charlie Kelly, even brought in a marching band to lead the group. There was little doubt inside or outside the Siegel Center that Obama supporters appeared more energetic.

Hillary Clinton -- Though the the audience was more pro-Obama, some said they thought Clinton actually gave a better speech. She played up her differences with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), her plans for health care and the historic nature of the Democratic contest because either an African-American or a woman will be the nominee.

Tim Kaine - There is no other way to say it, except that Kaine was "Fired Up and Ready to Go." When he introduced Obama, Kaine was more passionate than many reporters have ever seen him. He spoke of Obama's character, electability and early successes on the campaign trail. Though Kaine may have offended some Clinton supporters, it probably played well with the national press.

Del. Jennifer L. McClellan (D-Richmond) -Often mentioned as a possible statewide candidate, McClellan got to introduce Clinton at the event, not a bad gig for a delegate. McClellan - who is a super delegate because she is a Democratic National Committeewoman- has emerged as one of Clinton's key supporters in the state.

Mark Warner's staff - Warner volunteers were up early Saturday, plastering the Siegel Center with "Warner for Senate" signs. They also made sure all 6,000 guests had a sign to take home.

Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder -- Though he can be unpredictable and has strained relations with some Democrats, Wilder was a good advocate for the party this year. He stood with Kaine and Warner during a press conference to talk up the state party to the Virginia and national press. Wilder, an Obama supporter, even made a little news. Wilder said he is still unhappy with former President Bill Clinton over remarks he made about Obama in the days leading up the South Carolina primary.

Losers

Jim Webb -- Webb didn't appear at this year's dinner. While everyone knows Webb doesn't like campaigning, there were lots of people at the dinner who would have liked to see him, considering the time, sweat and money they put in helping him get elected in 2006.

Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria) -- When Moran spoke, he appeared to be screaming into the microphone. It's a big place, but someone should have told him the microphone was working fine.

Mark Warner - Warner, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, was overshadowed by Clinton's and Obama's appearances at the dinner. Warner also didn't his deliver his speech as well as some of his past speeches.

U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) - When Moran spoke, a big part of the crowd got up and started socializing. Moran had to stop his speech at one point to plead for respect.

By Tim Craig  |  February 11, 2008; 1:06 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2008/President , Election 2008/U.S. Senate , James P. Moran Jr. , James Webb , Mark Warner , Timothy M. Kaine , Winners and Losers  
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