Monday, August 30, 2004

Blogging the Bowles Event Live!!!

We're here, it's 7:23, and the room is starting to fill. There are 400 seats laid out, and I'd estimate that 250 of them have warm, enthusiastic bodies in them. The reason more people aren't sitting is because they are busy paying dues in order to join the Young Democrats.

Update II

Now, its 7:31. And I'd say we're at capacity. Justin Guillory, President of YD - UNC has taken the stage, and folks are starting to quiet down.

Update III

And Guillory is speaking, and the crowd is pumped. I dont see a single Republican --- so it looks like no protests tonight. Every time Justin pauses, the crowd claps. Doesn't matter what he says. That's kinda funny.

Update IV

Time is officially 7:35, and folks are standing in the back. There's not a seat left.

Update V

Meg Scott, the Secretary of YD - UNC has taken the podium, and unfortunately, its a little bit tall. That's ok though...

Update VI

Gotta close the laptop because Erskine is standing directly over my shoulder, and I think it's gotta violate journalistic integrity to have the man you're writing about read your posts before you make them...

Update VII

*Breathes sigh of relief* He's gone off to shake other peoples' hands.

Update VIII

It's now 7:41. Tom Jensen, chair of Student for Bowles, is talking about students getting involved! He's talking about keeping folks pretty active until November. That's exciting. And he's just made a joke about sounding like Howard Dean --- people laughed, but I think it fell a little bit flat.

Update IX

Time 7:45 --- Erskine's on the stage. He's a lot more comfortable with this group than he was two years ago. Best story so far? He said he had a fellow recognize him today. Erskine asked, "Well, who am I?" Guy replied, "You're the weatherman!"


Update X

Time 7:47 --- Erskine tells the story about his Uncle Sam and the obituary his wife had printed. He tells it at every event I've ever attended. Good to know some things don't change!

Update XI

Time 7:49 -- This is Erskine's seventh event today.

Update XII

Time 7:50 -- Erskine's talking about his plan for the state. Every single part of his platform is available to be downloaded on his webpage. Go here, look for the Issues page and follow the link. There are PDF files that explain how every part of his plan will work, how much it will cost, and how he will pay for it without raising taxes.

Update XIV

Time 7:54 -- Erskine's actually talking about policy now. Speech so far is really economy focused.

Update XV

Time 7:56 -- "We have the greatest health care system in the world, but we have the worst health care delivery man can concieve."

Update XVI

Time 7:57 -- I'm just going to slide into analysis for a minute here. I've seen Erskine speak live five times now. But I haven't seem him this focused before. I haven't seen him this energetic before. He's breaking up his speech with anecdotes about people he's met on the campaign trail -- a little girl named Katie, a truck driver from Greensboro -- It's really working.

Update XVII

Time 8:00 -- "I think this new prescription drug plan is crazy. It makes me so mad I could spit."

Update XVIII

Time 8:01 -- "I don't think any of those ideas I've just talked about are Republican ideas or Democrat ideas. I think they're good ideas."

Update XIX

Time 8:03 -- "I've got an opponent in this race. I hope you never learn his name. This opponent of mine goes around this state bragging about how he votes with this administration 96% of the time. I'm gonna tell you what: I'm not going to do that. But when we have a Democrat administration, I'm not going to vote with them 96% of the time either. We don't need a rubber stamp."

Update XX

Time 8:04 -- And he's done. But questions are next.

Update XXI

Question One: Would you support a tobacco buyout with FDA regulations.
Answer: "Yes, I support FDA regulation, but I tell you what, I want this tobacco buyout to happen with or without regulation but that's what so many rural families need.

Question Two: What can be done for education in tight budget times.
Answer Two: "We can be much smarter in controlling these unfunded federal mandates...I'm sure most of you have heard of this program called 'No Child Left Behind.' I'm not a fan of it....You've gotta give people the resources to get the job done..."

Question Three: What about Bill Frist's obscure use of parlimentary tactics...how important is a Democratic majority in preserving the civility and integrity in the Senate?"
Answer Three: I'll tell you what, if we don't win North Carolina, we have no chance of winning back the Senate -- That's how important this seat is. But I think we want civility in the Senate and ideals

Question Four: How proud to be a Democrat are you?
Answer Four: "My daddy told 'I don't care what church you raise your kids in as long as you raise them as Democrats.' People tell me 'You brag about being the White House chief of staff but you don't brag about which administration it was in. ' I tell them, 'What adminstration do you think I worked in?' ... I'm very proud to be a Democrat."

Question Five: Where do you stand on military benefits?
Answer Five: "I think the thing that galls me is that the current members of the House voted to give themselves a pay raise but voted against giving our military a pay raise."

Time 8:13 "Thank you all very much. I'm glad to be here."

11 Comments:

At August 30, 2004 at 9:53 PM, Blogger Dan Harrison said...

Matt's exactly right about the enthusiasm... by the time the event got started not only were all 400 seats filled but there were people standing in the back of the room. Lots of people.

Folks came out to hear a red meat speech and definately got it, but with some good substance as well. Real nice mix of the two, in fact. One recent interesting development is the phenomenon where politicians plug their websites (specifically their platforms contained therein) as an alternative to actually talking policy in a speech. Erskine certainly plugged the site, but he also threw enough numbers at the audience to keep the policy wonks satisfied as well.

 
At August 30, 2004 at 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were 600 people there, no problem...

 
At August 30, 2004 at 11:34 PM, Blogger M. Compton said...

UPDATE -- Organizers estimate that 600 people did indeed come to see Bowles.

 
At August 31, 2004 at 12:12 AM, Blogger Nathan Denny said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At August 31, 2004 at 1:29 AM, Blogger Justin Guillory said...

Matt,

Thanks for blogging up our event. To settle the attendance figures- there were more than 500 seats plus some standing in the back. So the 600 figure is accurate.

Keep up the good work.

 
At August 31, 2004 at 9:42 AM, Blogger Ruby said...

Nice job on the live blogging, Matt!

It's great to hear that things are coming together. I hope Erskine can muster up some momentum. I'll always be disappointed about how he jumped from the Clinton ship when it was under Republican fire.

But of course I'll hold my nose and vote for him regardless. It would help if he would be less of a homophobe, etc etc.

 
At August 31, 2004 at 12:03 PM, Blogger ayoungken said...

Homophobe? Can you elaborate on what you mean?

 
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