An Evening With Candace Owens

Last Saturday evening, Candace Owens delivered the keynote address at the Annual Dinner of Center of the American Experiment. The Annual Dinner is a distinguished event; speakers have included such luminaries as Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev and the first President Bush, along with leading conservative commentators. Candace is probably our youngest Annual Dinner speaker by more than 20 years.

It was a great event, with a crowd of close to 1,000.

Candace was her usual spellbinding self. As always, she didn’t deliver a canned speech, but moved seamlessly from one story or piece of analysis to another, reading the audience and improvising as she went. It is rare to see anyone with such an easy rapport with an audience, which gave her a rapturous reception.

I won’t try to summarize Candace’s speech, but the Center’s Communications Director tweeted some quotes as it went along. Here are some samples:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune covered our event and quoted me, along with several African-Americans who attended the dinner. The Star Tribune story isn’t bad, but it focuses more on other blacks’ reactions to Owens than on her message.

At the end of Candace’s speech, I asked her some questions and we had a little dialogue, after which we finished with questions from the audience. Here, someone seems to have said something funny, but I don’t remember what.

Offstage, Candace was delightful, as she was when she appeared at a lunch forum for us a year ago. Her popularity is remarkable for someone who burst on the scene so recently. Saturday night, around 400 people had their pictures taken with her–300 who had VIP tickets, and 100 students who got selfies on their own phones. Her patience and infectious good humor are commendable. On a personal note, we also enjoyed meeting Candace’s British fiance, who proposed to her two weeks after they met. Who can blame him?

Owens has departed amicably from Turning Point USA and is focusing on her own Blexit campaign. She also has a show on Prager University, which from what I have seen is excellent.

It was a wonderful evening, including the 12-year-old who sang the National Anthem beautifully and Senator Rudy Boschwitz, who delivered the invocation. And I took 17 minutes for a Power Point presentation about the Center’s accomplishments of the past 12 months–for me, probably the most fun 17 minutes of the year.

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