Candidate Roundup, February, 2008

In February, 2008, Cincinnati was visited by four candidates
for US President and two surrogates for those candidates.
I saw them all, I heard them all, and I photographed them all at their rallies.

(linked to photos)
Thoughts and Impressions
Mike Huckabee
Feb. 26, 2008
Venue: Suburban conference center.
Security: None visible.
Audience: A few hundred; mostly sweet, downscale, white families.
Introductions: Woman warmed up the crowd with long rant about abortion and fetal sanctity. Introduced couple with two children that had been "rescued frozen embryos." Photo op for Huckabees.
Speaker: Did well in the band; attacked those who disagree with his positions as "wack-jobs"; got lost in a rant on slavery.
Summary: Not playing with a full deck. All kitsch, no cooking.
John McCain
Feb. 26, 2008
Venue: Run-down theater near downtown.
Security: Nothing to write home about. Cops, but no scanners.
Audience: Several hundred, mostly professionals, lots of older white guys. The stage was crowded with dignitaries, including the very creepy Mike Dewine.
Introductions: Disastrous bigotry by Bill Cunningham.
Speaker: Sincere cold-warrior, nothing to offer except lower taxes and more war.
Summary: Seemed a bit tired, a bit lame, and a bit over the hill.
Barack Obama
Feb. 25, 2008
Venue: University basketball arena.
Security: Thorough, with scanners and wands, but I got in to the media area with home-made press credentials.
Audience: Over twelve thousand people, many university students, lots of black people from across the economic spectrum, lots of white middle class men.
Introductions: Mayor Mark Mallory focused on Obama's career; crowd went wild when Mallory announced his super-delegate endorsement for Obama.
Speaker: Pretty good, but not "A" game. Stumbled on a few details, but eventually got his stride. Didn't live up to hype, but did live up to expectations.
Summary: Seemed tired, a bit over-done, but resilient and ready to go the distance.
Hillary Clinton
Feb. 23, 2008
Venue: Community College Gymnasium
Security: Thorough with metal detectors and TSA people in charge.
Audience: About two thousand; mostly middle-aged white people. Others well represented.
Introductions: County Commissioner David Pepper focused on Clinton history and strength. Governor Ted Strickland escorted Clinton to the stage and continued the descriptions of her qualifications and promise as President.
Speaker: Excellent speech. Seemed to be in command of facts and figures. Seemed least effective attacking opponent for touting hope.
Summary: Ready to go the distance.
Michelle Obama
Feb. 15, 2008
Venue: Music Hall Ballroom near downtown
Security: Light
Audience: About fifteen hundred. Evenly split Black/White, Young/Old, all very enthusiastic.
Introductions: County Commissioner Todd Portune focused on both Obama histories and contributions. Announced super-delegate support for Obama.
Speaker: Exuded strength, confidence, and competence.
Summary: Clearly a strong woman praising a strong candidate.
Chelsea Clinton
Feb. 13, 2008
Venue: Downtown bar/restaurant.
Security: Light
Audience: About two hundred; mostly young urban professionals.
Introductions: (not heard)
Speaker: I saw the prep and wrap-up for this event, but did not hear the speech. I came later and watched and listened for an hour as Chelsea interacted one-on-one with a wide range people. She demonstrated great agility moving between topics and contexts, and showed she had a thorough command of the information and positions of the campaign.
Summary: Clearly an eloquent spokeswoman for her mother's campaign.

Hillary Cincinnati Headquarters, Saturday, March 1, 2008

Barack Cincinnati Headquarters, Saturday, March 1, 2008

Home, March 2, 2008