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#66: "I'm Clay Aiken, and I Approved This Message!"


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Another recap from CV, with permission from the author, PermaSwooned:

L.A. Fundraiser & Dinner

Everyone near me at work just went to get lunch, so I'm going to see if I can write up a brief mini-recap from the L.A. events from last night.

I was able to attend both of the L.A. events last night. I felt really fortunate that people outside of his district had the chance to show support for him. I am a Democrat from a blue district in a blue state. My Representative is retiring at the end of this term, so the primary is a free-for-all with a zillion candidates. Almost no one is campaigning yet because it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that it will be a runoff between Wendy Gruehl, who is running as a consolation prize for losing the race for L.A. Mayor, and my guy Ted Lieu, who is my current State Senator. I'm sure I'll be getting lots of literature soon, but in the meantime my husband encouraged me to support our favorite Democrat make a strong local showing.

There have been several nice descriptions so far, so I'll try not to repeat everything. I did take a few pictures, but the lighting was very low and moodish and my camera was misbehaving all night, so they aren't going to be much. I'll try to take a closer look tonight after work.

The setting was really nice. Very modern. Very elegant. They had a bar with wine and sodas...I'm not sure if there were other beverages. A very nice spread of appetizers, wraps, a crudite display that reminded me of a dragon. Very nice.

I was very happy to see a number of fans that I recognized there. I think we all represented the fandom well. Everyone was really nicely dressed. Fans greeeted each other, mingled and chatted. No one seemed to feel like they should lurk in a corner. Simon Renshaw was an excellent host. He was in very good spirits and circulated a lot making sure everyone was comfortable. He made introductions between people, which I'm sure meant the most to some of the entertainment people. Lots of people from CAA there. I had really nice discussions with a couple of people from the agency who were really friendly and interested. I didn't hesitate to say nice things about Clay, and I also presented part of my professional persona and my concerns about why I would be supporting a Democrat from outside my own district to try to change the current makeup in Congress and restore some of the funding for medical research that has been impacted so much. I got to talk to Clay about that as well. My area is chronic diseases, but one wing of my building is devoted to HIV research and the number of studies that have been shut down prematurely; have been postponed indefinitely; and the number of colleagues who have lost their jobs is frightening. Clay was very interested and we had a short discussion about the impact of the sequester vs. the reluctance to fund the NIH right now in general. I kept it very short. He had many more people to talk to more important than I!! He did walk up to me late in the event when he wasn't tied up with his arms wide open and gave me a big hug. He thanked me very sincerely for coming and for lending my support. It sure felt like it came from the heart to me.

I can't remember now.....did anyone mention that Desmond Child (Invisible writer and producer) was there? Clay introduced him to the group after the main presentation part. I think Clay was really touched that he came. Also, Mary Brannan (many-time Clay tour manager) was there. Everyone there said nice things about Clay. That's to be expected, I'm sure, but it seemed very sincere. I'm not sure I can explain it adequately, but they tended to look towards wherever Clay was and then almost as if they were musing to themselves about what a "great guy", "highest-quality person", "intelligent", "thoughful", "sincere", "honestly nice person" he is....take your pick.

Simon Renshaw did the first part of the formal presentation. He was great. Very high energy, having a great time. Talked about being Clay's long time manager, and how it had evolved over the years into so much more than a professional relationship. He said that Clay had sent him an advance clip of the intro video before releasing it to ask his opinion. Simon is the one who told us that Clay said he thought he looked fat in it, and then Clay and Simon were bantering back and forth about the Spanx, etc. It set a great tone of people with a long-time relationship that obviously really liked each other.

Next they showed the video. Nice reception for that, since I'm sure many people hadn't seen it. Then Simon introduced Cindy Horn, the wife of the Disney CEO. She is originally from Durham, and by happenstance was on the plane coming back to L.A. yesterday with Clay and Brice. Fess up....are any of you Cindy? I wouldn't be at all surprised.

I didn't try to video or record any of the "speeches". I took a few pictures, that's all. However, I dearly wish I could have captured her speech. When she went up to talk after the video, she was wiping away tears, I kid you not. She talked for quite a while, about what an amazing person Clay is, and all he has accomplished, and what he stands for. She is a big supporter of Democratic campaigns, and how important she feels to get more Democrats back into Congress and hold the Tea Party at bay. She stated in A Thousand Different Ways that Clay is exactly the kind of person we need in Washington D.C. I swear, I really think some of the people there looked at Clay differently after her speech.

Then Clay. I think his talk was very similar to the others he has given at similar events. A few extra jokes and parallels between politics and the mechanics of artist agency wars. He did state emphatically that asking for money and fundraising was the most uncomfortable part of running for office, but that because of the money being thrown at North Carolina right now to defeat Kay Hagan, and that the race he is in will be the most expensive House race in N.C. history. I don't think anyone thought it was going to play out that way going in, but Mr. Pie Crust has certainly changed the game on that score.

At any rate, he said since it was hard for him to ask for money, he was going to make Kathy Griffin do it.

Kathy said that she was proud to say that she was a staunch Democratic supporter, and that she was a huge admirer of Clay Aiken. She said that she got all dressed up and wore her killer heels to let everyone know that she was serious about raising money for Clay. She made it clear that they had an instant ipad program set up to take the donations and then demonstrated how it worked by donating $1000, and then she told everyone to line up to see her and make a donation. She chatted with everyone, posed for pictures with anyone who asked, and supervised the donation process.

OK. I was never prouder of the fans that attended than at that moment. I believe that everyone who was there had already donated, and yet, most of us lined up again to make another donation. It just seemed important. And when others there saw all of us do it, I think it made more of the NJU line up to do the same thing. At any rate, I felt really good about it.

I did get to attend the local dinner afterwards. This is my first time attending a private dinner with Clay and I'm really glad I did it. I'm sure they are all different depending on who is there and what is going on at the time, but Clay was so completely relaxed and forthcoming, it was seeing him in a completely "off stage" setting and getting to laugh with him and crack up with all the teasing going on....it was priceless. The fundraising dinners are less than the auctions for "National Inclusion Project" usually are. If there is any way someone could swing it, I would urge any of you to try to go. Smoochies to my DH, who insisted that I go.

OK, here is my important message to all of you. Well, OK, a few messages. First is from me. If there is ANY WAY for any of you to get to an event like a fundraiser or M&G situation, etc., PLEASE GO!! Brice Barnes was standing next to me when I signed in, and her face actually lit up when I told her my name, since we had corresponded about logistics of the evening. She was very personable and friendly and absolutely sincere in her thanks for the support that I and other fans were showing for their events. Clay also made a point of trying to greet each of us in person, and express his thanks for our support.

Next. If there is ANY WAY any of you can make it to the New York event, PLEASE try to make it there. They consider the NYC event to be a critical one coming at a critical time, and made it clear they would appreciate any and all support.

Also, if there are any out there that had more money budgeted to contribute to Clay later, it might well be more beneficial now. Personally, I am wondering if Crisco is banking (heh) on the idea that he will get more outside money to campaign against Ellmers if he wins the primary, so he's throwing lots of his own money into the pot now.

Lastly, they are coming up with some ingenious ways of utilizing volunteers who do not live anywhere near Raleigh. Contact Brice@clayaiken.com if you are interested in helping out.

Obviously, I got interrupted and had to go back to finish this up. And I guess I don't know how to be brief. If I got any usuable pics, I'll post them later.

Hope the group in San Jose is having a lovely evening tonight.

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Another red recap, used with permission:

By some stroke of divine providence I was able to attend the CAA fund raiser yesterday. Clayskater, Artquest, CopinginCA and especially Claymaniac24 gave excellent accounts, and Clayskater's selfie shows just how handsome and fit Clay looked, and how all eyes would naturally be drawn to him. I was surprised by how tall he appears in person though I noticed he was wearing shoes with about a 2 inch heel. He seemed to tower over everyone, and he seemed to know most of the people in the room.

Cindy Horn of Disney was his right hand woman there. She is a force in Democratic fund raising, and is so very charming and personable. She seemed completely smitten with Clay as a candidate and human being and got quite emotional in her introduction. Kathy Griffin was indeed a revelation, RESPECTFUL and affectionate to Clay, and very gracious to all those who lined up to donate, posing for pictures. She must be a size 0 with the waist of an 18 year old. As official keeper of the money box, she started off with her own big donation, and a line of donors formed, though not as long as one might have wished, as attendance was limited, and probably at least a third of the attendees were fans I recognized as staunch supporters, many of whom are tapped out and can only give a little additional. I would hazard that very few in that room had given less than the $250 minimum on the original invitation.

Clay's welcoming speech was just right, covering points about why he decided to run and what he hoped to accomplish. He showed the full "Open Door" video, then complained that he looked fat in it; he said he should have worn his Spanx or something to that effect. Everyone laughed. He was most eloquent talking about the Privilege game, where everyone in a room starts in a line in the center. Then the questions start and the players move accordingly. Example: If you are white take two steps forward, if you are black take one step back. If you are another minority take two steps back. If you have a disability, take two steps back. The questions continue along "privilege" or lack of privilege lines and at the end there are at least three lines in the room, those with the most privilege in front, those with the least along the back wall. Clay said he wanted to stand up for the people in the back. The Koch brothers have indeed spent many millions, continue to spend, and have targeted Sen. Kay Hagan and other Democrats, Clay included, for defeat throughout the south. (To me it is unconscionable that outside interests can buy elections, and there is no legal way to thwart them).

PIc from Facebook:


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One time I would have been excited to hear Clays name on the local radio but not today! I can't wait to hear the story.

The radio guy is a as close to tea party as you can get without saying it. He made the usual snide comments about Clay and said that neither would win against Ellmers. He also called Crisco Cisco.

He was making fun of Crisco! Said that if that's the worst thing you can say about Clay well it's no big deal because that's a Democrat for you!

Like this tweet.

@DereksDaycare: Next question. Whose campaign for office is so bad that they have to slander CLAY AIKEN?
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Just saw this on twitter.


2. Some House candidates favor term limits and pledge, if elected, to limit the number of terms they will seek? Is that a good idea? Will you, if elected, impose terms limits on yourself?

My goal is to persuade the voters to impose term limits on the incumbent Congresswoman. I don’t believe we should have career politicians, and I’m not trying to be one.

Cover is nice too!


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Here's the actual endorsement.

Republican Renee Ellmers, the incumbent, is preferable to her tea-party challenger, Frank Roche. That's not saying much. Ellmers is best known for insisting that, though she opposed the federal government providing health insurance to ordinary citizens, she was taking it for herself, as a member of Congress, because otherwise health insurance would be so expensive. Later, when the Republicans shut down the government, she wanted to be paid anyway because while other federal employees might have to go without, she needed her check. That was so dumb Ellmers took it back a day later.

Ellmers has said a sensible thing or two about immigration reform, probably because businesses in her district—farms, especially—rely on undocumented labor. Strident opposition to reform—and to the Federal Reserve—is the backbone of Roche's challenge.


This district was drawn by Republicans to elect a Republican—the Democrat nominee will start at a big disadvantage. But it's not insurmountable if the Democrat is as well known and well-liked as Clay Aiken, the Raleigh native who burst into national prominence a decade ago on TV's American Idol. Aiken proved to be an excellent singer. He was also a credit to Raleigh's reputation for having nice people.

Before he was Clay Aiken the star, Aiken was a special education teacher. As a star, Aiken raised money and awareness for special-needs children through the Bubel/Aiken Foundation—Diane Bubel, the mother of an autistic child he tutored, convinced him to try out for Idol—later renamed the National Inclusion Project. He's been a UNICEF ambassador and a gay rights activist in show-business groups and the Human Rights Campaign. Aiken is gay. He's serious about politics, and he's mounted a strong campaign, especially with younger Democrats. He's endorsed by the N.C. Association of Educators.

Aiken's chief opponent, Keith Crisco, is 70—literally twice Aiken's age. Crisco is a smart, successful businessman who employs 200 people in his Asheboro textile company. He was Gov. Bev Perdue's secretary of commerce. But Crisco has pledged, if elected, to serve just three terms in Congress, an acknowledgement that his age is against him as a first-time candidate for the House.

Democrats in N.C. need new candidates with a fresh appeal. Aiken fills that bill. Aiken's name on the ticket will be especially helpful in the part of this district that's in Wake County, where other Democrats running will need a strong turnout to defeat Republican incumbents.

Toni Morris, was the nominee in this district two years ago and lost to Congresswoman Ellmers by 57-43 percent. She is a private therapist who is active in the Junior League of Fayetteville.

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Wanna signed sign?


Election Day is drawing near. Our ads are on TV, we’re distributing yard signs across the district, and we’re signing up volunteers to help us as we count down the days to May 6.

A limited number of Clay for North Carolina rally signs just arrived at our campaign office, and we’d like to give you an opportunity to get one before the rest are delivered to the voting locations across the district.

Contribute $25 today and get an official Clay for North Carolina rally sign. Not only that – we’ll have Clay sign it for you!

Want to go the extra mile for Clay​ and get a little something extra in return? Then be a part of our 100/100 campaign! ​

We're offering 100​ signs for a $100 contribution​ that will be personalized by Clay with your first name and Clay's special "use your voice" motto.

Show off your support of our campaign while giving us the resources we need to run our TV ads and reach more voters in the final days of this election. Hurry, these signs will be gone before you know it!


Gene Conti

Senior Adviser

Clay Aiken for North Carolina

Paid for by Clay Aiken for North Carolina

Clay for North Carolina

PO Box 3809

Cary NC 27519-3809 United States

If you believe you received this message in error or wish to no longer receive email from us, please unsubscribe.

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I'm glad people are sharing their experiences but damn if that didn't sound like lessons on how to get Clay played on the radio. Same vibe. That man has a strong pull that he can keep people so passionate all these years later. So he's in San Jose tonight? Right down the road. There's money to be had there. Hope it is a success.

Mom is coming home on Monday. Tomorrow I go and stay all day, through all of her therapys. I have a few things I will be looking into - medi-cal - which I have previously rejected but want to make sure that it can't work for her. And also paid family leave. It's more affordable for me to get two days a week of paid family leave then pay someone to come take care of her 5 days a week. I can afford 3, and that's it. Yep, give me my damn entitlement LOL. 32 years of work with only 4 months of unemployment in all that time - yep earned. it. My employer may explode but family comes first.

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Good for you couchie, you do what you have to do! I'm so glad to hear your mom is well enough to come home. My mom has made great improvements over the last couple of days. This morning, even though she knows she is not supposed to, she got out of bed by herself, went to the bathroom, went back to bed and pretended to be snoring when my daughter went to check on her. I'm glad she has such a drive to be independent, but I also don't want her to fall.

Wow, it's already the primary? I hope he does well. He really seems to want it.

ETA the signs are pretty.

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couchie, I'm glad there's an option for you to take paid family leave to help with your Mom. That sounds like a really good solution. Glad she's doing better!

luckiest -- good for your Mom, although I totally understand the worry! My Mom was very independent too, and we frequently had to "scold" her into not doing something!

If anyone wants a copy of that newspaper/article that is posted above, I've read that you can write them and get a copy sent to you. I think they are asking $2 for each one. If people want, I can get the address...

I'm only sort-of-a-sheeple, as I didn't send money for the yard sign. I would really like one, but not at this time...

Early voting starts today in NC...hope it works well for Clay!

My workplace is back to being crazy town. We've got one new librarian hired, but she doesn't start until June. We also now have a new full time circulation assistant; while she starts next week (and this is a GOOD thing), that means our evenings are going to be short staffed. And then, our librarian who had been here the longest (and frankly, was a pain in the butt) FINALLY got her nose out of joint, and left in a huff. Her last day is next Monday. Unfortunately, her position is the one that processes all our materials. I used to have a similar job, but haven't done it in several years; however, I've volunteered to help out best I can. But I've got 50 other irons in the fire too, so this is going to be a zoo!

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Couchie and luckiest, glad to hear your moms are doing well. You need to do whatever it takes to help them. I'm bummed out because we had our cat put to sleep. It was sudden and when I had a group of friends over for bridge. We sure miss that cute little guy.

I guess I'll volunteer to make calls again. It appears that they didnt want me the first time or maybe I'm invisible.

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Good for you couchie, you do what you have to do! I'm so glad to hear your mom is well enough to come home. My mom has made great improvements over the last couple of days. This morning, even though she knows she is not supposed to, she got out of bed by herself, went to the bathroom, went back to bed and pretended to be snoring when my daughter went to check on her. I'm glad she has such a drive to be independent, but I also don't want her to fall.

Luckiest, this made me laugh out loud. My mom is the same way. So when she first got to rehab she was in this big single roome. She kept trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom so they put the alarm on her bed. So any time she moved out of specific zone on the bed the alarm went off. But that didn't stop her. A couple of days later I went to visit and they had changed her room and put her in a bed that had this big tent around it that locked from the outside. I laughed so hard when I saw it. She was so mad. THis woman is way too independent which is why she needs someone 24/7. And do you know she had the nerve to mention the July family reunion today in SC..I couldn't believe it. No way is she going.

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@NY2NC08: Well look who finally showed up in my hood #55&jenks! @clayaiken proud to support you! @MovingNCForward #nc02 http://t.co/9VeIsBeskI

@TeetsMcGee316: Yeah that's a face time with Clay Aiken and marleesyeates http://t.co/Yb80n97rHQ

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I grabbed this from Facebook. This is from the event tonight:

Congratulations to Superintendent June Atkinson for being a recipient of the Champions for Children award. Clay Aiken presented the award on behalf of the NC Foundation for Public School Children at their annual gala tonight.


From the CH (thanks playbiller):

Dan Froelich shared New Frame, LLC's photo.

10 minutes ago

Great night to be behind the camera. It was a good assignment.

New Frame out on a school night honoring the Champions of Children. Clay Aiken introducing State Supt June Atkinson


Vivian Connell ‏@vivconn 35m

@clayaiken introduces @DrJuneAtkinson, one of @NCFPSC's Champions for Children. #ncpol @PS1NC #nc2014 #leandro #nced pic.twitter.com/Dlk0s2taic


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