New Hampshire Democrats Purge Bill Clinton

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The New Hampshire Democratic Party is ditching former President Bill Clinton from the name of the party’s annual fund-raising dinner, less than two years after he was first honored.

The Kennedy-Clinton Dinner, as the event was known in 2016 and 2017, will now be called the Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner, the party announced Tuesday.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat who served as president from 1933 until his death in 1945. Mrs. Roosevelt was a social activist and globalist who advised her husband when he was president and as a widow stumped for generally left-of-center causes through speeches and newspaper columns. She also served in the United Nations General Assembly.

“We are proud to honor Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman revered around the world for her bold leadership and tireless efforts to create justice. She dedicated her life to helping all hard-working Americans and all those who needed a champion,” said Raymond Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, in a written statement. “… The Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner is particularly fitting given our party’s steadfast commitment to electing women.”

The statement doesn’t mention either of the event’s former names.

For decades the party’s annual fall fund raiser was known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, after the two 19th century presidents Democrats consider to be the founders of their party, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. But both were slaveowners, so in recent years Democrats across the country have purged their names from their official party events.

In New Hampshire, party officials decided in 2016 to replace Jefferson and Jackson with two more recent Democratic presidents:  Jack Kennedy and Bill Clinton.

But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Clinton has come under fire for his past treatment of women. As president he had a sexual affair with a White House intern, and after he left office he settled a sexual harassment claim against him from when he was governor of Arkansas for $850,000. An Arkansas woman who had dealings with Clinton when he served as attorney general of the state accuses Clinton of raping her in 1978.

Accusations against Kennedy are less dramatic, but he is well known as a womanizer.

Such a reputation has become particularly problematic during the past 10 months.

The #MeToo movement started October 15, 2017, when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted about sexual harassment in the wake of reports about sexual misconduct by movie producer Harvey Weinstein on October 5 in The New York Times and on October 10 in The New Yorker. Milano asked other women to join her, and hundreds of thousands did.

On November 16, then-Senator Al Franken was accused by California radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden of forcing himself on her in an unwanted kiss during an overseas UFO appearance in 2006, and Tweeden also posted a degrading photo of her that Franken had taken while she was asleep on the airplane ride home.

The day after, on November 17, New Hampshire Democrats held their annual fund-raising event under the name Kennedy-Clinton Dinner. Earlier that day, state party chairman Jeanie Forester released a statement calling on New Hampshire Democrats to remove Bill Clinton’s name from the dinner in light of the allegations against Weinstein and Franken and Clinton’s own past. That started the conversation about changing the name of the dinner.

New Hampshire Democratic party officials initially resisted, but sent signals they might be open to a change, in the meantime enduring withering criticism.

The state party’s full statement is below: