Rep. Lois Capps Attends Her Fifth National Democratic Convention

Comments on Speeches and Relationship with Clintons

Rep. Lois Capps, pictured here with Washington state's Sen. Patty Murray, was among the delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Susan Rose

Hillary Clinton hit it out of the ballpark at the Democratic National Convention this week, said Rep. Lois Capps. Bookending her political career 20 years after her first convention at which Bill Clinton was nominated for reelection, Capps expressed enthusiasm Friday about Hillary Clinton, whom she called “strong,” “solid” and “unflappable.”

At the airport Friday on her way back to Santa Barbara after her fifth Democratic convention, Capps passed a Texas congressmember, who told her that this week’s showing might have been the best convention he’d ever been to. “I think it also was for me,” she said.

“It exceeded my expectations,” Capps said of this week in Philadelphia, where muggy weather and thunderstorms outside contributed to the volatile and bustling nature inside the convention center. Diehard Bernie Sanders supporters marched in the streets, protesting that the Vermont senator did not secure the nomination.

“It wasn’t perfectly smooth,” noted Capps, who represents a district where Sanders won the popular vote. She called his Wednesday night speech “very pivotal.”

Capps gushed about Michelle Obama’s “inspirational” Monday night speech, giving similar praise to Hillary Clinton’s Thursday night acceptance speech. “I think she’s reassuring when she speaks,” Capps said. But in personal conversations, Capps added, “She really is a good listener.”

The Cappses and the Clintons have a complicated political history. Capps’s daughter Laura worked as a speechwriter for Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s. In 1996, when her husband, Walter Capps, first ran to represent the Central Coast — at the time the district was historically Republican — in Congress, Bill Clinton came to Santa Barbara to stump for him. Hillary did as well.

But when 2008 came around, Capps’s decision to publicly endorse Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton forged a fissure between the Washington families, even putting her on a “hit list,” according to a book about the Secretary of State, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton.

Asked about this split, Capps said it was “a very tough choice in ’08 … Today, I really feel it’s Hillary Clinton’s time. Our country needs it.”

As for the possibility of electing the first female president, Capps said, “It’s an important milestone, but it’s not the reason to vote for her.”


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