Jul 14 2006
11:25 am

A commenter here said a while back that once you see Harold Ford, Jr. in person you will be converted. The commenter was right.

He is a charismatic and skilled orator. He walks in like a rock star (to the music of Big and Rich's "Coming to Your City") and he seems to know everybody, and makes you feel like you know him if you don't.

Backed by nearly every local Democratic candidate, Ford gave an inspiring speech even though it was short on substance. It wasn't so much about issues as it was working up the crowd, and he did a pretty good job.

At one point, he said he liked President Bush, personally. (This was met with a few grumbles.) But he went on to say that we had given him and the Republican controlled Congress five years, and the only thing we have to show for it is higher college tuition, more poverty, larger government, more homeless, higher prescription drug costs, and higher taxes on the middle class. This was met with thunderous applause.

He says his opponents are out of touch with the reality of America. He said he listened to the debate last night and heard all the usual rhetoric, but what he didn't hear was anything about higher gas prices, the war in Iraq, immigration, or health care. He said these are the things he hears most about from voters across the state.

He talked about his faith and religion, saying faith isn't going around talking about how much you love Jesus, it's about love thy neighbor and give them a chance.

He said folks at the rally might all have a big "D" after their name, but what was more important was the big "A" in front of everybody's name, and that stands for American. (Or something to that effect.)

He urged everyone to get five people who want change and opportunity to get out and vote.

He wrapped up by saying this election is about the future, and that it's time to send a New Generation to Washington.

Needless to say, his speech was well received by the crowd of fans and supporters. We guessed somewhere around 150 people there, including just about every Democrat running in a local election. The Mrs. also noticed a strong labor union presence. (It was a pleasure meeting Schree Pettigrew and Scott Emge, and it was nice to see Georgiana Vines and Greg Mackay again. Georgiana told Greg Mackay she was there for only one reason - to make sure everyone stayed at least 100 feet from the polls.)

Anyway, I'm sold. When I think about the three candidates I saw debating last night v. the candidate I saw today, there is no doubt in my mind who I want representing me in the U.S. Senate. Harold Ford Jr. will make us proud, and I believe he can beat any of the GOP candidates. And he will mop the floor with any of them in a debate.

Although I don't agree with him on every issue, first we need to get him elected. Then we can work on bringing him around to some different ways of looking at some things. Fortunately, on things that matter most he's already there.

OK, then.

More photos after the jump...

bill young's picture

team ford

i love to go to ut football games early...smell the the boys warm up...see the place fill up...same with political events & NOBODY hits town like team ford..yesterday they were scoutin it out askin about the 100 foot mark..& passin out flyers...they picked the spot where ford spoke this morning...& if greg said ford had plan b..over on the steps in the grassy area in front of the city county building...& if that didn't work..plan c was in the courtyard of the federal court house....the last picture you got was the one they wanted with the courthouse in the back ground...i voted for ford this morning @ the courthouse & there was a line @ 10AM...the new machines are as "smooth as tennessee whiskey"

JustJohnny's picture

great coverage!

Great write-up and photos!

I especially like the last one in the series, which includes Schree standing next to HFJ.

Great Job!

Brian A.'s picture

Good report

I'm going out on a limb and predicting a Ford primary victory. 

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Eleanor A's picture


Love it.

Y'all realize that if Ford wins, he'll be the first black Southern Senator since Reconstruction?

That might be a pretty nice distinction for our state, which is in the doghouse nationally over the Gore 2000 vote.

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