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Sunday, September 07, 2003


Can Kerry Count?

posted by Matt Singer at Sunday, September 07, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The Boston Globe isn't sure:
The business of crowd estimation was never the strong suit of any police department or, for that matter, any political campaign.

But it was downright laughable when the cops - and the Kerry campaign - tried to say there were 15,000 on hand for Kerry's Faneuil Hall announcement

Kerry, of all people, should remember a big crowd - the unions had so many workers at his 1996 debate with Gov. William F. Weld that the crowd stretched halfway down the sides of Quincy Market that night.

It didn't help matters that several media noted empty seats at the Wednesday event.

Of course all this comes after Kerry and ex-Boston Bruin Cam Neeley had to make personal telephone calls just to get a crowd on hand for the Boston "homecoming."

The Telegraph has its doubts too:
That Dean guy can sure draw a crowd

You have got to get state Rep. Jack Pratt, D-Walpole, to summarize his last weekend at home.

Pratt and Rep. McKim Mitchell, D-Chesterfield, decided to combine on a house party for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

The scene was Pratt's home in the middle of town, which is accessible only by a two-lane road in and out.

A stunning 1,200 people showed up, one of the largest gatherings of any kind during the first-in-the-nation primary season.

"The candidate was 20 minutes late because he got stuck in his own traffic jam,'' Pratt quipped.

How about the local police chief, who couldn't find anyone else to work on Labor Day weekend and single-handedly had to figure out where to put more than 1,000 cars?

"I had said, 'Oh, only 200 or so would show up.' He let me have it at the end of that one,'' Pratt said.

On the other hand .

John Kerry didn't look like a man attending a coronation at his kickoff rally in Manchester on Wednesday afternoon.

More than 330 had committed to show up, yet far less than 250 were there and the crowd was chock full of the same Kerry devotee faces that go to every candidate event whether it's in Colebrook or Concord.

Kerry shut the event down after a flat, four-minute speech and ordered the buses headed off to Boston.

Hey senator, here's a great idea.

Reverse the itinerary and have many of the 5,000 who crammed into Faneuil Hall in Boston to cheer you on board a bus headed to New Hampshire.

Presto, chango, you've got instant energy and enthusiasm where it's needed most.

We won't even get into his decision to kick off his two-day announcement standing in front of a Navy aircraft carrier in South Carolina. That was the first time the Massachusetts senator had been in that state since May.

If the South Carolina primary were held today, Kerry could easily finish fourth or even fifth behind John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman and Bob Graham.

For months, Kerry has been looking for a way to demonstrate he would not be a Mike Dukakis nominee, who would do fine in the Northeast but get his clock cleaned south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Kerry did have one shining moment here last week when he showed some emotion and shed a tear at hearing laid-off worker Barbara Woodman's courageous determination to find as many part-time jobs as possible to keep her children in college.

Thanks to some malcontents on the national Kerry bandwagon, the campaign stepped on its own announcement tour as the Iowa stop on Tuesday was dominated by rumors of an internal shakeup.

The worst-kept secret inside Kerry Central is those running the Boston and Washington campaign operations are barely on speaking terms and each blame the other for dragging the candidate into the blue funk that has him trailing Dean big in both New Hampshire and Iowa.

Don't blame the New Hampshire campaign contingent of Ken Sullivan, Judy Reardon and Kym Spell, who have delivered some of the biggest names and argued for more face time and more multi-event campaign stops by the candidate.

The Kerry ad strategy did have some thought to it as the campaign used "real-time'' footage from the Iowa and New Hampshire announcements.

This is to counteract all the buzz over Dean's use of the Internet to raise money during the last quarter, since Kerry has vowed to be the "best science president'' in recent history.

Let's hope media guru Jim Margolis got some winks over the weekend because he stayed up nearly four days straight to direct, film, edit and deliver the spots in time.

No details please, but this media buy is bigger (read $$$$) than Dean's was in August. Kerry is buying time on multiple Boston stations and has not chosen only the cheapest time slots.

If anybody needed a paid media bounce, this guy does now.
Fuzzy math.


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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.