Tucker Carlson Wows Sold-Out Crowd at Annual Dinner

The Center held its Annual Dinner last night at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Enthusiasm about American Experiment and its mission is so high that the event sold out–a crowd of 1,240 attended. This is what it looked like from near the rear of the room:

The evening began in stylish fashion with Manny Laureano, principal trumpeter for the Minnesota Orchestra, playing the National Anthem. (Laureano became known for more than his musical gifts last December, when he walked offstage during a concert in disgust at inappropriate political comments by a performer.) The crowd joined in and sang along. I am not sure whether there is video of the song or not, but if so, we will post it. It was an emotional moment. The Center’s Catrin Thorman followed up with the Invocation.

After a 30 or 40 minute break for dinner, I talked, as I do every year, about the Center’s achievements over the prior 12 months. This year, I introduced every member of the Center’s staff and described the projects each person is involved in, and their duties at American Experiment. It was fun to honor each member of our excellent staff. This photo was taken during that part of the program:

Bruce Hendry, one of the Center’s best friends, then introduced Tucker Carlson. Bruce missed his calling; he could have made it in stand-up. (Fun fact: American Experiment Policy Fellow Isaac Orr once supplemented his income as a stand-up comedian.)

Tucker was, of course, the main event. His independent, no-holds-barred conservatism has made him one of the most popular figures in television news. His speech was consistently hilarious, but his underlying message was dark: the Left is coming after our rights and our way of life. Our only choice is to fight back.

One great feature of the Annual Dinner was the large number of young people who attended. There were 221 college and high school students at student tables paid for by donors, and others sprinkled through the crowd.

All in all, it was an excellent night for the conservative movement in Minnesota.

UPDAT: A few more photos from the event:

View from the head table toward the back of the ballroom
John Hinderaker and Tucker Carlson during the Q and A