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Diary of a Teenage Political Pundit
Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner (SC)

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Chaos! Claustrophobia!

Basically, the J-J dinner was 1,000 people in a Big Canvas Tent (BCT) at Sewells Restaurant and seven candidates (Sharpton and Kucinich didnt show) trying to make their way through the mob. Each candidate had a camera following him or her through this crowd of connected/deep-pocketed people. You'll have to bear with me as far as the exact order of events and what was said. Only the candidates had personal microphones, so anyone they were talking to had to be loud enough to be heard over the crowd and into the boom microphone.

We begin with Lieberman talking to an old man who apparently was a fighter pilot in World War II. Lieberman throws around "the greatest generation" a few times and looks just about confused as I feel as the man repeats his name over and over and mumbles something about Tom Brokaw. Finally, Lieberman breaks away and works some other people. He seems nice and comfortable, like hes done this a thousand times. Which he probably has. He leaves early because of religious obligations (how Liebermans religion affects his job).

Graham flickers onto the screen for a few moments, dead in the water. He gives someone a pen and talks to Rick Wade (he unsuccessfully ran for S.C.s secretary of state last November). Hopefully those notebooks of his wont keep Graham from being chosen for veep.

Howard Dean talks to Senator Fritz Hollings about his fiscal conservatism. He seems to be comfortable in the BCT and is very friendly. I can see why so many people are so passionate about him.

Everyone seems to want to have a pow-wow with former S.C. governor Richard Riley. Hes obviously a very influential man. Riley tells Lieberman that hes "not going to commit [to a candidate] for six months" and that its time for one of them to "make a mark."

While tagging along with Edwards, it appears some Dean supporters are trying to take the place by storm. (In the background, you can see a few people with "Dean" rally signs force their way in, but are pushed back out with no big fuss). Edwards is the obvious rookie here, but still operates well.

We also see Kerry giving good old fashioned hugs and backslaps. He talks to an older woman very earnestly, but only the tale end of the conversation is picked up (she knows someone who is in a wheelchair and has two brain tumors). Kerry makes his rounds, gliding through the crowd like an old-pro, eager to meet everyone. Hes very touchy-feely. He really needs to translate the energy he has here into future debates . . .

We also see Gephardt shaking hands around a table. People shake his hand and smile pleasantly, but only a few seem to really warm up to him. He also seems at ease. Either these guys are good actors or not affected by claustrophobia!

We end with Edwards and Dean having an odd conversation. Dean: "you do anything nice you always pay for it." (He said something before this about national policy. (?)) "I made a mistake." Edwards responds: "you did the right thing." A weird note to end on . . .

Despite my criticism of some candidates, thats just my opinion. It is still anyones game and a dark horse could surprise us come next spring. Either way, any of these candidates would be an improvement over Bushsomething we have to constantly keep in mind.

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