Nov 6 2006
05:11 pm

Both Bob Corker and Harold Ford Jr. were in town today for one big final East Tennessee push before the election tomorrow.

Report and more photos after the jump...

Bob Corker Rally, 9:30 AM

Corker had a rally downtown at Krutch Park, where he was joined on stage by an all-star GOP lineup including Sen. Bill Frist, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Congressman Jimmy Duncan, Mayor Bill Haslam, and Bob Corker's wife Elizabeth. There was a crowd of about 150 GOP supporters and local GOP who's who including Sheriff Tim Hutchison, State Sen. Jamie Woodson, Knoxville City Councilwoman Marilyn Roddy, and we even met Brian Hornback.

The introductions and speeches were brief and without much substance. Saxby Chambliss asked how many had voted early, and how many had voted Republican. He said that Sam Furrow would give everyone who voted early and voted Republican a new Mercedes Benz. (Note to self: Check with my Dad to see if he's got a free Mercedes coming.)

Bill Frist got the crowd going a little with a "Republicans are right, Democrats are wrong" call and response. Democrats are apparently wrong on cutting and running, increasing taxes, dependence on foreign oil, supporting predatory trial lawyers, and appointing activist judges.

John McCain started by saying that he had a message from the Phoenix chamber of commerce that it was 85 degrees over there and they take all kinds of plastic for those interested in going. He said that Corker's experience as mayor was a great qualification because being mayor is harder than being a senator. He also said the Bob Corker would provide all expenses paid trips to Bob's victory party in D.C.

Republicans appear to be big on incentives.

Bob Corker gave a mostly uninspiring speech about momentum in the polls, and the fact that he's from Tennessee and has lived a Tennessee life. He said that John Kerry and Ted Kennedy gave Ford $1 million to influence the race. He said Tennesseans are the only ones who should influence the race and that he'd rather stand on the stage with McCain and Chambliss than with Kerry and Kennedy, or something like that.

We were both sort of surprised by the lack of energy and enthusiasm, but I guess it was an older, more subdued crowd. Or maybe they were just dumbstruck by all the GOP star power on display. At any rate, it was an efficiently run event, as I imagine most Republican events are.

Harold Ford Jr. Rally, 12:30 PM

After the Corker rally we headed over to West Knoxville for the Harold Ford Jr. rally. There was some confusion about the venue, but everyone eventually landed at Calhouns on Bearden Hill. Congressman Ford was in Chattanooga this morning, and was running about an hour and a half late. (When he arrived he apologized for being late but said that he was mobbed in Chattanooga and just couldn't leave.) His campaign advance people told those who were there at 11:00 to go on in and have lunch on the Ford campaign while they waited.

When he arrived it was the usual mob scene. He gave a fairly long interview to local media (including our friend Amelia Daniels from WATE). He went inside the restaurant and shook every hand and asked for every vote. Lincoln Davis was there, too, helping work the crowd.

David Muir from ABC's Good Morning America was there. Apparently he has been on a three day road trip to states with key congressional races. Ford gave him an extensive interview just before leaving. Amelia Daniels said that there was a Nightline producer there, so some of that interview could be on Nightline tonight.

We estimate there were around 200 people or more inside and outside Calhouns. It was a pleasure seeing Betty Bean and Madeline Rogero there. We also ran into Scott Emge, and met Mark Cawood, Mark Seigel, and Bill Young in person. We had seen Bill at every Ford event but didn't know who he was, so thanks to Betty for introducing us. There were apparently more than a few KnoxViewers there.

There weren't any speeches, but check the local news this evening for Ford's remarks, and possibly Nightline and Good Morning America tomorrow.

At the Corker rally...

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Congressman Jimmy Duncan

State Sen. Jamie Woodson

Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison

Knox County GOP Chair Brian Hornback

Bob and Elizabeth Corker

Sen. John McCain

Sen. McCain and Brian Hornback


Bob Corker Speaks

At the Ford rally...

Supporters drum up traffic

Supporters gathering outside Calhouns

The local media sets up (WATE's Amelia Daniels center)

Congressman Ford makes a biodiesel rock star entrance

Ford talks to the media

Ford makes his pitch

ABC Good Morning America's David Muir talks to Ford campaign advisor Michael Powell (hope that's right?)

David Muir interviews Ford

BriansBlog's picture

It was

Great meeting you and the beautiful lady of your life. Thanks for coming. Thanks for capturing Senator McCain and myself. I have liked the Senator for many many years.

You can live a better life or a bitter's your choice

skirob's picture

I was there but actually

I was there but actually having a business lunch with some Canadians that have heard all about this race. Wish I could have mingled and met some of you folks.

Thanks for the update and the pics. 

Les Jones's picture

Is that Lamar in the second photo on the front page?

Interesting that Corker and Ford are spending Saturday and Monday before the election in Knoxville. There are bigger cities out there. And while Saturday was game day, you'd think they'd hit, say, Memphis, in the last few days before the election. (I'm guessing they'll both be in Nashville tomorrow.)

Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

R. Neal's picture

Yeah, that's Lamar. Just

Yeah, that's Lamar.

Just got an e-mail from the Ford campaign that he will be in Memphis for an election eve get out the vote kickoff tonight at 6 PM Memphis time. That means he must be somewhere around Nashville or better by now on the big Jr. Bus headed west.

That guy has to be the hardest working man in politics. There are rumors that he will be back in Knoxville for a breakfast of some kind tomorrow. I can't imagine how he will do that, but no one imagined this race would be this close and I attribute that to Ford working his ass off.

SteveMule's picture

All the interst in Knoxville

All the interest in Knoxville (east Tennessee actually) is based on the political calculas that Repub margin of victory in East Tennessee is less than some number (I usaully hear 100K) then the West and Central divisions will carry the day. So a good showing is important to both races.

Wish I could have been there for both events unfortunately I have to work. I couldn't afford to take the time off. 

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


CBT's picture

Les, Corker was in Johnson


Corker was in Johnson City, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis...all today. I think that will be generally repeated again tomorrow.

Corker will be in Chattanooga tomorrow night to watch the returns. Don't know about Junior.

Andy Axel's picture



You can live a batter life, or a butter life. Or both, if you choose.

Factchecker's picture


Corker was in Johnson City, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis...all today. I think that will be generally repeated again tomorrow.

I bet he was not traveling on a bus.  More like Haslam's personal jet?  Just like the average UT graduate from Tennessee!

CBT's picture

The Corker party was on the

The Corker party was on the bus everywhere except from the last leg tonight, Nashville to Memphis. At least that's what I was told by a 'source familiar with the situation'.

Maybe Junior wins a close one, but this doesn't sound like someone who thinks he's winning...from the AP:

Ford's attacks on Corker have gotten sharper in the closing days of the campaign, calling the Republican a liar, the "king of slime" for his TV attack ads, and "the little guy" _ a reference to Corker being at least half a head shorter than Ford.

Sounds more like the frustration of a beaten man.

Bbeanster's picture

I hear you get thrown off

I hear you get thrown off the bus if you slip up and call Corker's wife "Betty," which was her name when she grew up in Sevier County and when she worked at the Copper Cellar in Knoxville prior to her first marriage. Seems odd, and an insult to Bettys everywhere ;-)

Toad In The Hole's picture

Jr.'s Campaign Hasn't Been The Same Since October 21

Crashing Bob Corker's press conference in Memphis, a seminal Howard Dean moment, which served no real purpose other than to cause independents and conservative Republican's to doubt all that Jr. had said to that point in time.

This date will come to be a point in time in the Ford Campaign which will live in infamy, which had been a fabulous event until that situation.

WhitesCreek's picture

Having to feed your campaign

Having to feed your campaign millions of dollars in the last week doesn't sound like a confident man. Sounds like Corker knew he would go down in flames unless he could buy more air time to misrepresent Harold Ford's record and attack his family. Didn't the Swift Boaters lower the discourse enough for you guys?

Andy Axel's picture

Having to feed your campaign

Having to feed your campaign millions of dollars in the last week doesn't sound like a confident man.

Sounds more like a confidence man, dunnit?


You can live a batter life, or a butter life. Or both, if you choose.

Les Jones's picture

Holy cow

I don't think I realized how much those two guys travel. I still have it stuck in my head that this a little old bitty election.

Hey, Les, why don't we just call each other assholes and get it over with. - Somebody on the old (if that was you, claim your quote and win net.fame!)

JaHu's picture

Hey, from the ad I saw from

Hey, from the ad I saw from a previous date. I thought Ford was darker than that. If I had known he was that light, I wouldn't have voted for him.

Adrift in the Sea of Humility

bill young's picture

in a close one..jr wins!!

it was good to met the both of looks like the pundits..after flirting with calling this race are saying its a toss-up..its down to ground a close one..harold ford,jr..wins with 51%!!

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