Perhaps Hillary Clinton knows what it feels like to be a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again. Or when she’s in need of a pick-me-up—like, say, on the morning of the Benghazi hearing—the former Secretary of State rolls out of bed, cranks “Roar” up to 11, and does her best punch-dance at the mirror. Either way, one thing is certain: Hillary is a huge Katy Perry fan, selecting the “Teenage Dream” singer as the headlining act of her star-studded concert-fundraiser in New York City.
And the love is mutual as Perry, donning a Wonder Woman-esque red-and-white jumpsuit—with an “H” emblazoned on the lapel—gave a speech in praise of Hillary to the sold-out crowd at Radio City Music Hall.
“This election feels very personal to me, and I think it feels very personal to a lot of people here, and I know there’s a lot at stake,” said Perry. “So I think we need to elect a president that can do all parts of the job, including being commander-in-chief. A person that is strong but also a human… that looks out for us and our needs, our basic human rights and needs, which I can’t believe are still in question in 2016.” “I do believe this woman believes in unconditional love. She sees equally, all parts.”
The “I’m With Her Concert” benefited the Hillary Victory Fund, Clinton’s Super PAC, with tickets ranging from $125 to $2,700. Sponsors of the event gave over $100,000 as well. And, despite parting with some serious cheddar, the mood inside was festive, with the mostly female crowd regularly chanting, “Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!” at various intervals. They had reason to celebrate, after all, as Hillary was fresh off her big Super Tuesday victory, taking seven states—including the hotly contested Massachusetts—in the Democratic primary, and increasing her substantial lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Things kicked off with Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx, who criticized the “trash-talking” amongst the Republicans before introducing Grammy nominee Andra Day, who brought the house down with her hit song “Rise Up,” before dedicating the Sam Cooke classic “A Change Is Gonna Come” to Hillary.
Following Day’s performance, Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore came out to introduce Chelsea Clinton, and during her intro speech, spoke out against gun violence in America.
“I believe that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to keep our country moving in the right direction, and to make sure that every child has a chance to live out his or her dreams—and for me, that means we have to stop the gun violence that claims 88 American lives every day,” said Moore. “As a parent, and as a citizen, I have had it, and that’s why I’ve joined forces with Everytown for Gun Safety. And, it’s one of the many reasons I’m proud to support Hillary Clinton for president—someone who knows it’s not enough to offer condolences after a tragedy, that we have to do whatever we can to prevent the next one from happening, and someone who’s not afraid to stand up for the NRA and who will keep fighting for common sense gun reform.” She added, “Hillary has always fought for us, and now it’s our turn to fight for her.”
Chelsea then strolled out to introduce Sir Elton John, who, for whatever reason, served as the opening act for Katy Perry. The slight seemed particularly egregious given the strength of his set, with Sir Elton belting out hits like “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man” to the rapt crowd.
“This is a very important year for America, and she’s the only hope you have,” Sir Elton announced to heavy applause.
Following his lengthy set, Sir Elton re-emerged to welcome Hillary’s “First Mate,” Bill Clinton, to the stage. And while most of the speeches were a few minutes in length, Bill took the opportunity to deliver a 20-minute endorsement of his wife, joking that they needed to kill some time to construct Perry’s elaborate stage, and even, strangely enough, making light of her email controversy.
“I see little snippets of people writing articles on the Internet or making public comments that show that [Hillary’s] finally breaking through, that people actually do get her,” said Bill. “I saw this remarkable story by a woman who said, you know, I didn’t support Hillary in 2008—I didn’t even like her. I was glad when she agreed to be Secretary of State and I sort of softened up, but I never really was enthusiastic until I read her emails. And the woman said, ‘How anybody could have been so slandered over those I don’t know, but I read over a thousand of them and it made me appreciate how really good she is as a human being.’”
Then, Bill gave a shout-out to the recent piece by former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau—published at The Daily Beast—about why electing Hillary in ’16 is more important than electing Obama in ’08.“President Obama’s former speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote a very interesting piece saying, you know, I said some really unkind things about her in 2008, and then I did a pretty ham-handed thing posing with one of those cutout dolls, and I was embarrassed until she laughed about it and told me not to worry. And I noticed when she came to the White House she was often alone, stopped and spoke to everybody—especially the youngest people here—and then was always the best-prepared person in every room. We really do need her and, in some ways, the challenges we face today are perhaps more momentous than they were eight years ago.”
Bill also, while not calling him out by name, took some not-so-veiled shots at the GOP’s leading presidential contender, Donald J. Trump.
“Now, at a time where we need a strong commander-in-chief who understands, yes, we need a mobile, strong military, and yes, we need a very tough diplomacy, but we also have to make a world with more partners and fewer adversaries, because no matter what anybody says about walls, most of the world’s borders look more like nets, and the big battles are being fought inside the brains of billions of people over the Internet,” said Bill. “You can’t really be president at home unless you’re president as commander-in-chief. You have to do both in a way that allows us all to rise.”
“We need to present the right face to the rest of the world to keep us safe, and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies,” he continued. “We don’t need to blame categories of people. We’re making a mistake, those people who think we should demonize all Muslims. We’re making a mistake, people who think we should demonize all immigrants. We have to do this together.”
With that, Hillary finally strolled out onto the stage to a standing ovation. And before introducing her new BFF Katy Perry, the candidate echoed her husband’s wall analogy.
“I’m running for president to knock down all the barriers that stand in the way of America living up to its potential, and of every American living up to his or hers,” she said, adding, “America has always been great—we do not have to make it great. What we have to do is we have to make America whole, and that means working with one another.”