Tuesday, June 12, 2007

John Edwards birthday party - The People

By Libby
Updated below

Having had major connectivity problems, I'm just getting to my review of John Edwards birthday party this past Sunday. In scanning the MSM coverage, which was mainly a verbatim recitation of AP's Mike Baker's report, I have to wonder if we were at the same event. Mike's assessment of the crowd, implying it was comprised mainly of college students is wrong I think. The volunteer staff manning the various stations were clearly college kids and there were certainly a lot of young people in attendance,

but looking at a tight shot of the crowd in front of the stage...

...this was a decidedly mixed crowd that was heavily weighted with middle-aged and even a fair number of elderly supporters. There were also many parents with young children, all of them as cute as this one.

It was blazing hot in the late afternoon sun and John didn't speak long, following the even briefer remarks by the Coach, the requisite local politician and his wife Elizabeth, who introduced him.

His speech was well received. The whole crowd was paying rapt attention throughout, erupting into spontaneous applause many times, the most thunderous early on when he said, "We need a President of the United States who actually cares what the rest of the world believes and thinks about the United States of America. We need a President who asks his country to be patriotic about something besides war."

The crowd also responded equally strongly when he announced the first thing he would do when elected would be to close down Guantanamo.

Unfortunately, the video footage taken on my cheesy little camera didn't turn out well enough to YouTube but he came across as believable and genuinely concerned about the direction of America. I think what works against him the most is his slight stature and his apparent gentle nature that makes him appear softspoken in a Jimmy Carter kind of way rather than commanding in a Kennedyesque manner, which I think is what he was trying to project.

Nonetheless, the crowd was wowed and it appears what support he does have is strong. I'd guesstimate there were close to 200 people in this crush to meet and greet after the speech.

Edwards spoke to every single one of them, posing for many pictures and kissing the numerous babies thrust into his arms. I was more impressed with his handling of the crowd than I was with the speech. He was really present and engaged with his supporters. His thanks felt sincere rather than pro-forma and even after over an hour his enthusiam didn't flag. He showed no fatigue. The last person got the same undivided attention as the first, long after the cameras had left.

I still have more thoughts about the event and more photos, but for now I'll just tell you that I left this event more impressed with the man than I expected to be. The MSM coverage of John Edwards leaves the impression that he's a calculating phony who merely seeks political power. Having now seen him up close and personal, I'd say nothing could be farther from the truth.

I'm still not sure I'd vote for him, but I believe his concern for the direction of the country and the well-being of the average working class American is genuine.

(More photos here and more commentary on the candidate with photos here.)

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home