Jul 102004
 
Wednesday night Lay and me attended the Kerry-Edwards rally in St. Petersburg. Wow, what a wait. We arrived at the St. Pete Coliseum (a very small venue) at about 6:40 in the evening. We got in the back of the line about one third of a block from the entrance. They finally started letting people in about 8:15, and we got in the door and through security about 9:10, and then only because we sort of sneaked ourselves up the line a little.

The candidates didn’t arrive until 10:00pm. They had a guy on an electronic keyboard do some entertaining. It was okay, but he didn’t do a lot to really liven up the crowd. I guess he just mostly kept us from getting too restless. The building got very hot with the TV lights and all the people. Everyone in line did not make it in.

It was a pretty interesting spectacle. This was the first time Lay ever attended anything like this. I’ve been to political rallies before, but never a Presidential one. We got fairly close to the front and were right in the center, so the view wasn’t bad. We had made our own shirts, and everyone really liked Lay’s. It said, “I like my politics like I like my women…with less Bush.”

The pilot of John Kerry’s Fast Boat from Vietnam lives in the Tampa Bay area, so he’d been invited to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. It was clearly being used to highlight Kerry’s military service, while giving Bush a backhanded slight. They had loaded the stage behind the candidate with a carefully chosen group. A few local pols, along with the right number of blacks, a couple of Asians, some college and high school students and a few people wearing union shirts.

Kerry started the evening. He introduced his wife, and they should not use her for much campaign speaking. I was 10pm after a grueling day, but she was completely out of it, and admitted to have a glass of wine. Kerry?s speech was the typical stump speech. He talked about ?no child left behind,? and the economy, and making America respected again in the broader world. It was all the stuff you?d expect, and this being a room of the party faithful, it was all well received.

John Edwards? wife is a great campaigner, and she really does know how to work and win over a crowd. She comes across as a very down-to-earth person. John Edwards? speech was the best and most rousing of the night.

I believe John Kerry increased his chances of winning pretty significantly by selecting Edwards. The guy is smooth, and knows how to get a crowd going. I think he brings a lot to the ticket. I love that the Bush campaign can only come up with the fact that he?s inexperienced in government as a criticism. Let?s see, what had George done to gain his experience?Oh yeah, he?d run three or four companies into the ground and executed a lot of people as governor of Texas.

Edwards, lets see, unlike George he wasn?t born with a silver spoon. He built a successful law practice, and served on the U. S. Senate?s Intelligence Committee.

I would have been interested to know how many people like Lay are concerned enough to be there for first time. I believe that would be a serious indicator of how the election might go. There were lots of younger people there, and a lot of them were part of organized groups. I get the sense there is a feeling among these party faithful that its never been more important to replace a republican administration. There was a lot of recruiting going on for campaign workers, and a lot of people seemed to be signing up

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