Campaign Trail May 18, 2008Posted by lpbw in Uncategorized.
Tags: bill, bill clinton, campaign, election, hillary, hillary clinton, hillary rodham clinton, kentucky, kentucky primary, paducah, paducah ky, politics, primary, speech, vote, voters, william jefferson clinton
“Wonder if he’ll be on time?” Was the talk on Friday, May 17, 2008. I along with several other bloggers, photographers and reporters, waited in anticipation to see former President, Bill Clinton. Very rarely have I been to hear a politician speak, that they arrived on time. While waiting, I heard tale of Govenor Rod Blagoevich giving reporters and onlookers a 2 hour wait at an outdoor event in the middle of June. Only to arrive and have his platform position changed because the wind was blowing in the direction of his hair! WOW, how would you write that story?
“He’s here, Secret Service is in the building!” A talk radio personality calmly, but with excitement, announced to me. Immediately I made my move for a good photo position. Introduced by Benton notable, Mike Miller, Dottie Barkley, granddaughter of former Vice President to the United States, Alben Barkley, made entrance stage left, to introduce the one and only….President Bill Clinton.
The crowd went nuts! Us photographers did as well, each trying to capture the perfect shot. I don’t know if I accomplished that goal or not, but it was very interesting none the less. Talk about the press pin was more conservative and general. I spoke with 2 reporters who had been listening to Rush Limbaugh before leaving their cars. I also noticed no applause from the press pin, realizing their need to stay neutral. There were a few chuckles at times and also some snickers, and also moments when I could tell applause was imminent but never occured.
After Mr. Clinton gave his campaign speech, for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, he exited stage right to meet and greet a few folks in the audience. I immediately made my way to the stage, following that plume of white hair through the crowd. After much mass confusion and lots of “excuse me-s”, I was there. Front row, face to face with the infamous Mr. Clinton. Those of you who read my blog, know by now I am a Republican, so I have to admit I do own a copy of “My Life” by Bill Clinton. (only because i feel a responsibility to inform myself of all sides of politics) Anyway, I had my book jacket and sharpie ready for that autograph. What a wonderful collection addition this would be! “You’d better write your name on it, or you’ll never get it back!” I was told by an onlooker. “Are you sure about that?” I had to ask. “Oh yes, positive”, was the response. So with 5 seconds, and counting down, I pulled out my sharpie, scribbled my name on the cover and handed it over with this request, “Mr. President, could you please sign this for me?” He looked me right in the eye and said, “I’d be glad to, just let me take it and I’ll make sure you get it back.” That sealed the deal, my onlooker friend was correct in her observation.
While waiting for my autograph, I encountered a group of teenagers who informed me they had left school early to be there. I asked them if I could take their picture, they agreed with excitement. In the course of our conversation, I found out 2 of them are supporters of Barack Obama and the other 2 of Hillary Clinton. I asked why they chose the candidates they chose, and was this their first election to vote. The response was unanimous, they both gave the same reasons for both candidates. Reason being, pulling out of Iraq. I asked why they all gave that same reason for both candidates, but had picked one over the other. They had no real answer. I told them it was great that they chose to vote and exercise that freedom, but that everyone was entitled to their own opinion and that’s what makes us great! They agreed whole heartedly, and I gave them the link to my flickr.com account so they could view their picture.
Needless to say, it was a great experience, and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. On to the next stop, Mayfield, KY to hear Mrs. Clinton’s point of view. Hopefully, also to get that perfect shot and story. Thanks Bill for some great material, hopefully your wife’s up to the challenge