DNC delegate spotlight: Melissa Watson

Melissa Watson

EDITORS NOTE: Each day of the Democratic National Convention, The Post and Courier will feature a different delegate representing the Palmetto State.

BY EMMA DUMAIN

edumain@postandcourier.com

PHILADELPHIA — Melissa Watson was “fired up and ready to go” for Barack Obama in 2008, to quote the campaign’s famous slogan coined, coincidentally, by Edith Childs of Greenwood.

But by the time 2016 rolled around, Watson was “with her” — that is, Hillary Clinton.

The second vice chairwoman of the Berkeley County Democratic Party and a high school teacher, Watson said eight years ago it was difficult for her to choose between the two Democratic front-runners for the party’s presidential ticket.

Obama won her support, she recalled, because of his promise to unify the country, a pledge that resonated with so many Democrats at that time.

Watson eventually became especially excited about Clinton, however, during her tenure as Obama’s Secretary of State.

“She came in and helped Barack Obama be successful,” Watson said. “It showed a different side of Hillary Clinton than I had never seen before, just a willingness to put aside everything in her campaign to go with him.”

A few years ago, Watson joined the “Ready for Hillary” Political Action Committee, organized to encourage Clinton to run for president.

“I really do believe, had it not been for Ready for Hillary, she would not have run again” Watson said. “The grassroots, the ground movement, that organization calling for her to run, she actually considered it, decided it really was possible for her to make another stab at it.”

Her confidence in Clinton solidified during the 2016 South Carolina primary.

“It was just really amazing because one of the things she did in South Carolina was she really wanted to have that one-on-one with voters, and people like myself were like, ‘I know you can pack a stadium. Why don’t we rent a stadium?’ She really wanted that one-on-one interaction,” Watson said.

Watson herself had one of those moments with Clinton leading up to the Feb. 27 primary election.

“I remember saying to her one time, ‘I have a son, and it was nice for him to be able to see someone like him be president,’ ” Watson, who is black, recalled. “ ‘When you become president, my daughter is going to see an example of how women really can do anything, and that’s going to be really important.’ (Clinton) said, ‘I have a granddaughter, so it’s going to be the same thing.’ ”

Emma Dumain is The Post and Courier’s Washington correspondent.