Oregon IS Kerry Country!!!
First stop Medford, deep in southern Oregon conservative territory. A recent local poll has the southern part of the state dead even which is great news considering this area went to Bush easily in 2000. The rally drew a crowd of around 7,000 and had traffic backed up for two miles. What a sight!
Comments from the Mail-Tribune:
Volunteer Alex Grove of Ashland, who got an autograph from Kerry, said he now has a better measure of the man after meeting him in person and hearing his speech. "He’s just a real guy," he said.
Grants Pass resident Allen Primer, who received two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star for gallantry in action during Vietnam, criticized attempts to undermine Kerry’s war record as "sleazy and unprofessional."
Primer, who still has shrapnel in his hip and stomach, said the Republican-led charges against Kerry "don’t surprise me a bit. I expected it."
Next stop, Eugene. An overnight stay at Valley River Inn brought out lots of people hoping for a chance to see the future President. As one young voter put it, Kerry's missing out by not speaking in Eugene, he's got alot of support here. That is so true, maybe we'll get him next time. He did spend some time at a front porch event in Springfield, with the best Congressman in Oregon, Pete DeFazio. Springfield is another area that tends to lean Republican, more of a gun rights and local control sort of place. Glad to see Kerry go right in there and take his case directly to the people.
They met at the home of Jeff & Clair Kronser. Let's hope the visit convinced their neighbors, the Greens, to vote Kerry.
"I'm weeding because everyone else weeded," she laughed.
Details surrounding the presidential candidate's visit were already in place: The Kerry campaign had instructed Kronser not to talk to the press for security reasons; Green had been informed she won't be able to leave or enter her driveway for a four-hour period today; and a member of the Secret Service was expected to stand guard there Thursday night.
Green, 36, is a Democrat, and her husband is a Republican. She's still on the fence regarding Kerry, she said, and she hopes he will be persuasive."
Next stop... PORTLAND!!! What can I say. Reports are between 40,000 - 60,000!! I went to the Kerry/Dean rally in May and I thought it was huge with a little over 5,000 people. I can't even imagine what being in this crowd would have been like. Part of me is totally glad I didn't go and another part of me is kicking myself for not being there. But it was covered on every local channel, so I at least got to see the highlights and the full Kerry speech.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Jon Bon Jovi started things off and really got the crowd going. I saw a bit of Andre and Teresa speak. As usual, the crowd loved Teresa. Next was Jim Rassmann who gave a great introduction and said the same thing I always say; if war is necessary, there's nobody I would trust more with my child's life than John Kerry.
Then it was ALL KERRY! He was a bit hoarse from two weeks on the road, but he talked about all the things that matter to Oregonians. Education, jobs, environment, energy independence, health care. The biggest applause though, was when he talked about the need for habitat for people who love the outdoors, and then said the thing he's been looking forward to for the last 2 weeks is windsurfing on the Gorge. The crowd went wild. We love outdoorsmen (and women) in Oregon, and I don't mean cutting brush for photo-ops.
The local news switched back and forth between Bush's invitation only event in Beaverton, with around 1,000 people, and the crowd at Waterfront Park. Bush spoke about NCLB and the closing gap in education. Kerry talked about Oregon's school report yesterday which has 200 of our schools rated failing, mostly because of the unfair testing methods of NCLB. Bush spoke about international relations with Tony Blair while Kerry spoke of a new respect for leaders of all countries. Bush spoke about creating a million jobs while Kerry spoke of the 23 million jobs created under Clinton and the new jobs that will be created through new energy technologies, manufacturing credits and enforcing trade laws. Bush spoke of tax cuts improving the economy while Kerry spoke of the CBO report released today that shows the tax burden has been shifted to the middle class. There's no comparison between the two, just don't understand how people can be so duped by Bush. One woman even got up and praised Bush and thanked him for his dangerous Guard service. That was different.
Anyway, it was a great Kerry day in Oregon. I'm still in awe of that crowd. If you're looking for a big Dem party this weekend, I bet Portland is the place to be!
One more pic: