YANKTON, S.D. -- Hillary Clinton, joined by daughter Chelsea, had a tough afternoon at a campaign stop in the eastern part of South Dakota today, starting by getting the name of the mayor of Yankton wrong. Clinton incorrectly thanked Curt Bernard instead of Mayor Dan Specht, with the mere mention of the former's name drawing jeers and some boos from the crowd.
"I also want to acknowledge your mayor, Mayor Curt Bernard, where is the mayor?" Clinton asked but realizing something was wrong when the crowd began to jeer and boo. Clinton leaned down to hear what a supporter was yelling to her.
"Oh! Dan Specht? Right? I got the wrong list, I don't know who the other gentleman is, but I hope I haven't offended him."
The other gentleman, Bernard, was the former mayor who was ousted from office 6 months ago for questionable practices while in office.
Soon after she recovered, Clinton began to lose her voice, something that has happened often on the campaign trail, and at one point she had to excuse herself off the stage. The first time, the coughing caused Clinton to stop and reach for water. To buy some time, Clinton told brief stories of her campaign trip to Puerto Rico. The coughing continued. She then called her daughter Chelsea to the stage who began filling in while Clinton popped a lozenge into her mouth.
Chelsea went on for several minutes on her mother's universal health care plan. The crowd listened in awkward silence. Clinton then motioned to Chelsea that she was ready to resume her speech. Clinton continued where she left off, discussing her strategic energy plan, but minutes into her speech she again began to cough uncontrollably. Clinton realized she could no longer continue and asked the crowd if it was okay for her to go backstage to "gargle a little bit," saying Chelsea could take over or a few minutes. The crowd applauded in acceptance, although some saw an opportunity to exit the event.
After several minutes, Clinton finally came back out to the stage cutting into Chelsea's remarks on the Bush Administration's problems dealing with Hurricane Katrina.
The rest of the speech was relatively flat despite the fact that Clinton told the crowd earlier that she was going to lay out her "closing argument." What ensued, however, was just a drawn out version of her regular stump speech.
Clinton has one more event in South Dakota tonight before heading back to New York.