Oct 24 2006
09:30 pm

We ditched work this afternoon and went over to the Harold Ford Jr. rally/MSNBC Hardball broadcast from the U.T. campus. Then we went over to Congressman Jimmy Duncan's annual barbecue event at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum.

While waiting for Ford and MSNBC to get rolling, we ran in to Brandon Cook, the Blount County Democratic Chair. Matt from the Tennessee Progressive Report blog also came over to say hi. It was nice seeing both of them again.

At the U.T. Ford rally, Democratic Congressman Lincoln Davis from Tennessee's 4th district gave a rousing speech ("Democrats aren't going to go to Washington and take away your guns or your Bibles!"). He then introduced Harold Ford Jr. The crowd went wild.

Ford gave one of his trademark stump speeches to a crowd of nearly 400 by our estimates. He talked about Iraq, education, health care, and more. The crowd went wild.

Then Congressman Ford got wired up for his live interview with Norah O'Donnell on MSNB's Hardball. We Tivo'ed it, and as usual he nailed it. If you missed it, it will probably be available here.

Congressman Ford was asked about Corker's racist ads. He took the high ground and talked about issues. When pressed by Chris Matthews, Ford made an excellent point. He noted that Corker has said that he asked for the ads to be pulled. Ford was a little skeptical about that, but said that if Corker can't even get his own despicable RNC ad pulled from TV, what makes anyone think he will be able to accomplish anything in the United States Senate?

After the U.T. campus event, we headed over to Congressman Jimmy Duncan's annual barbecue. It was like walking into the belly of the beast, but every politician who wants to get elected in East Tennessee has to go through Jimmy Duncan's barbecue. Governor Phil Bredesen was there. Jim Bryson and his Big Bus were also there.

And who did we run into going down the stairs to the coliseum floor? None other than Harold Ford Jr. and Lincoln Davis. The Mrs. said she thought she saw Bob Corker there, but we looked around and never found him. We did run in to Schree Pettigrew, who was charming as usual. We were also quite pleased to meet Chad Tindell and his wife in person.

There must have been a couple of thousand people at the Duncan event. (Ed. note: This morning's paper says 5000 attended.) Norah O'Donnell is as pretty as she can be, but free food and East Tennessee tradition trumps pretty every time.

Lots of photos and some more commentary after the jump...

This guy was quite vocal. A Ford advance man came over and asked if he might be persuaded to trade his sign for a Ford sign. He wouldn't give up his sign, and the Ford advance man didn't press it. But here's the kicker. They guy heckled Ford some during his speech, and Ford came over to him later and shook his hand and spoke with him for a moment. We talked to the guy afterwards. He said that he was planning to vote for the Green candidate, but Ford may have changed his mind. Seeing Harold Ford Jr. in person has that effect on people.

Firefighters for Ford.

Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) works the crowd

Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) gets serious

MSNBC Washington Correspondent Norah O'Donnell waits for Ford

Congressman Harold Ford Jr. fires up the crowd

Ford and O'Donnell sound check gets a thumbs up

Asians for Ford

We encountered this walking in to the Duncan event at the Knoxville Coliseum. We guessed that the barbecue would be pretty fresh.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Bryson at the Duncan barbecue. He seems like a nice guy. We almost feel sorry for him, considering that he probably won't break 30% in the election. But at least the Republicans put up a credible candidate.

Here's Schree Pettigrew, candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives from the 18th District, with Governor Phil Bredesen.

Here's Schree with Congressman Lincoln Davis.

Congressman Jimmy Duncan. There was a huge line to shake his hand, so I stepped in and snapped this photo instead.

Stacey Campfield was there, too. As soon as he saw me aiming my camera at him, he turned his back and crossed his arms. We're not sure why he didn't want to have his photo taken at Republican Congressman Jimmy Duncan's event.

Here's Schree again, with Congressman Ford.

UPDATE: Here's a great shot of the crowd and the MSNB set by Midori Barstow. Thanks, Midori.

JaHu's picture

Once again Randy,

Once again Randy, outstanding photos.

Brian A.'s picture

Great report.


Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Brian A.'s picture


As many faults as he has, you have to give him more than a little credit for not falling into line with all the other Republican sheep in supporting that fiasco in Iraq. 

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

mpower1952's picture

I did give him credit at

I did give him credit at first. Even called his office and offered my thanks. But what has he done since that vote? Has he looked into the mismanagement of the war effort? Has he looked into all the money wasted or gone missing (was it 8 or 9 billion?)? Has he joined with the Democrats in any of their requests for information on pro...no make that pre-war intelligence? Has he attended any Dem hearing (oops I forgot they can't have hearings) like Conyers' Downing Street Memo? No, no, and no. oops and no again. He didn't do anything courageous. He knew it wouldn't affect his re-election since it didn't turn the outcome. He voted his narrow-minded conservative pocket. I hope he choked on his barbeque. Be a blessing to someone today.

JaHu's picture

He didn't do anything

He didn't do anything courageous. He knew it wouldn't affect his re-election since it didn't turn the outcome.

I'm not so sure that he didn't think it wouldn't affect his re-election bid. If I were a betting man, which I'm not, I would be willing to bet that he was afraid of being ostracized by the Republican party if he wandered too far left on many of the issues. He could risk losing any endorcements for future elections which would be nothing less than political suicide. What good would that do him or us. I'm personally glad to have someone with a little sensibility on the right. You also may not think so, but he was extremely brave to go against Cheney and Bush on the vote concerning the war. I admire him for that.

SteveMule's picture


Way very cool pix, Randy!!!!

I'll bet that Campfield didn't want you to take his picture was because it was you. 

Take Care, Be Good and don't play in the street!


R. Neal's picture

I didn't think he even knew

I didn't think he even knew who I was. But who knows? I've never met him before, and sadly didn't get a chance to tonight.

rikki's picture

Unite for blight

Maybe he just didn't want to be photographed standing next to Mark Saroff.

J. Jackson's picture

He. . .

doesn't have the best of luck when his pic is taken at the Duncan BBQ.

Great pics, though!!

mpower1952's picture

I was sick today and not

I was sick today and not able to get to the Hardball event. Quel domage.

I didn't know about Duncan's barbeque. I might have dragged myself there just so I could slap his face, a la that repug from Missouri(?). Boy I think that man is a useless piece of
rotting pig meat but don't tell the pigs or they might be offended. (yes, I read Digby today)

Has he ever done anything for the people in his district who aren't rich? I don't mean individual things that cost him nothing but make people think he cares. I mean pass or vote for legislation that actually helps the large majority of people in his district.

All he seems to do is vote against every appropriations bill, vote for every tax cut, and "support" the military. Talk about no nuance! If a tax cut only helps corporations and actually hurts the general population he votes for it. If an appropriations bill has money for the poor, for housing, for help with heating bills, he votes against it because he is against "big" government. He even voted against a bill to appropriate money for better equipment for the troops, which passed, because some said it wasn't needed.

I don't understand what he does all day since his votes could be phoned in. And I've been on a waiting list for over a year to see him in his office for the allowed 10 minutes.

ps-I know he voted against the Iraq invasion. But I'd put money on it that his main reason was that he didn't want to spend the money.

pss-I did meet Campfield and told him he should be ashamed of himself for that stunt he pulled about the Black Caucus. I said it showed he was a racist and he said he had a black girlfriend. Was she there with him? Bet he doesn't want his supporters to know about that.

Be a blessing to someone today.

JaHu's picture

Aren't you being a little

Aren't you being a little hard on the man. You may not like him, but most Tennesseans, whether they be Repugnants Republicans or Democrats, like him considerably.

mpower1952's picture

They like him, they really like him

JaHu: Please see my reply to Brian. 
Now, please tell me why Tennesseans like him. I don't get it. I see nothing he has done for them. 

Be a blessing to someone today.

JaHu's picture

I see nothing he has done

I see nothing he has done for them.

I totally understand your point and reasoning, and I can't really argue against it. It's just that I feel that since Duncan stuck his neck out voting against the war, that I owe him my support for taking a stance on what might be the most crucial issue of our nation in recent times. Hopefully we will be able to address the other issues in the future and correct them. Who knows maybe Jimmy will wise up and turn Democrat. Then he can vote the way he knows he should.

mpower1952's picture

maybe Jimmy will wise up and turn Democrat

JD will become a Democrat when *ell freezes over. Of course, he'll be there at the time. Next people will be telling me that he's a good guy to have a beer with. What has he done to help the 2nd district.

BTW- What kind of politician was his father? Anybody know?

Be a blessing to someone today.

CBT's picture

Randy, Nice to meet you and


Nice to meet you and the Mrs.

Bob Corker was there, his big bus outside and all. Con. Duncan has an "official" receiving line in the middle of the coliseum floor. He will shake hands and take photos (complete with backdrop) with all of the 5,000 or so who attend this bi-annual event. People stand in line for an hour+ for the photos. In that receiving/photo line are usually members of the Duncan family, other elected officials and invited candidates. When I walked by last night, I saw Con. Duncan, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker side by side. I later saw Corker working the crowd. I also heard he was on Wolf Blitzer (CNN) last night.

As for invited guests, you might remember that a hard-working Presidential candidate named George W. Bush made the Duncan BBQ in 2000. You never know who you'll see at this event.

I think it was Bredesen four years ago who started the deal about Democrats stoppping by (likely at the suggestion of old-time politico Mose Lobetti). It's a mixed bag. It riles up some Republicans (I heard some even told Ford he ought to leave). But, there are 5,000+ people at the event. That's a huge political rally. Good, short story on the event in the Chattanooga Times Free-Press today.

Good to see and hear Con Hunley (as well as the Crown College Choir, high school bands, UT Band, cloggers). There was free BBQ, fried chicken, chips, ice cream sandwiches, popcorn and drinks. Con. Duncan always has a great event. One thing I like about it is you see a lot of political types, but most of the 5,000+ attendees are good, regular folks. This event is classic Duncan. I dare say no other elected official has such a connection with every day people than Jimmy Duncan.

Tess's picture

His staff help a lot of people

If you ever need to expedite a passport or some such, his staff here in Knoxville are very helpful.  They have never asked me what party I vote for either.

mpower1952's picture

I dare say no other elected official has such a connection with

Boy, free ice cream, chicken, and bbq, while the repugs rob us blind with tax cuts for the rich and war profiteering for their friends. That Jimmy sure does a lot for the everyday people of the 2nd district.
Other than one comment about expedited passports (which cost him nothing) no one has told me how he helps this district. I'm really asking. I don't see it.

Be a blessing to someone today.

Egalia Stanberry's picture

If we lose, I say we blame Diebold.

Every poll has Bob Corker ahead of Junior now. Looks like Ford's press conference "crash and meltdown" didn't work out too well.
RCP average shows Corker went from being down 0.8% last week to three points ahead today.

Uh-oh, time for some more Foley emails! We've got to "suppress conservative Christian turnout."
; -D

WhitesCreek's picture

Egaberry, I think we're

Egaberry, I think we're seeing the temporary effects of Corker's racist and personal atacks on Ford...When Corker brought in the Swift boat people we knew this was how the campaign would go. Maybe it's time to go back after Corker's shady land deals and his use of the Mayor' office to enrich himself.

And his "Stay the Course" lie  might have to pop up again...But the most damaging lie of all is the one about him claiming to be 5' 7" tall.

I mean, being short is nothing to be ashamed of...Why lie about it?

NedWilliams's picture

"Despicable" Ad?

Great pics and report, but we must be thinking of different ads: "despicable"? It was funny because it was self-deprecating (on behalf of southerners) and because it was light-hearted (of course, it stings if you're a Dem), but "despicable"? Come on.

Brian A.'s picture

Looking back

I presume Senator Obama was not at this event, as he was mentioned.

Interesting that he campaigned for Ford in Nashville (and Memphis?) but not here.


Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

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