Author John Grisham adds star power to Hillary Clinton fundraiser

Published 7:50 am Monday, September 24, 2007

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Democrat Hillary Clinton said on Sunday her campaign will not concede traditional Republican strongholds like Virginia in this year’s election, and President Bush’s ebbing popularity gives Democrats more reason than ever to feel that way.

During a fundraiser with author John Grisham, Clinton said Bush’s promise last week to veto a bipartisan health insurance program for children of low income and working class families is part of “a dangerous experiment in extremism” by the White House that will help Democrats that much more.

Clinton said many Congressional Republicans were angry about Bush’s opposition to the SCHIP legislation. “If the president wants to veto it, there could not be a clearer example in the difference in values” between Bush and the mainstream of the country, she said.

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Before a crowd of about 1,000 people who crowded into a restored Charlottesville movie theater, Clinton said that, if elected, she would appoint people from both parties before her inauguration to fan out to capitals across the world. The message they would convey, she said, would be that “the era of cowboy diplomacy is over.”

“All over the world we’ve alienated our friends and emboldened our enemies,” she said.

Clinton answered mostly softball questions for about 50 minutes from Grisham that ranged from foreign policy to her simultaneous support for the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees.

It marks the second time since July that the Senator from New York has campaigned in Virginia, a state that last supported a Democrat for president in 1964.

The creator of Deep South legal thrillers that later became box office blockbusters attracted prominent Democratic donors to a renovated downtown cinema for a fundraiser billed as “A Conversation with John Grisham and Hillary Clinton.”

In July, addressed a statewide gathering of county elected officials in Richmond.

Grisham and Clinton became nationally known about the same time — the early 90s.

Clinton was the little-known first lady of Arkansas until the 1992 presidential campaign cycle that made her husband the president.

Grisham was a lawyer and a Democrat representing the Memphis suburb of DeSoto County, Miss., in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1983 to 1990. His breakthrough hit, “The Firm,” was published in 1991.

Grisham now lives with his family near Charlottesville.