That's vaguely, poorly alliterative, eh?
It's the morning after the All-American Presidential Forum that I've gone into just a little bit (harhar) on my little website so far. I've got a couple more posts in me about it yet, at least, but today I thought I'd share some of my observations from the question and answer period after the actual forum, and what I saw and heard in the media center during that time.
Later on in the far away galaxy of my weekend I want to talk about what an interesting time this is to be a blogger of any sort, and what it felt like for me to be a decidedly newbie political blogger amidst a crew of veterans, but those are posts unto themselves and I'll need more coffee and probably a nap, but you really don't need to hear about my personal problems. (See? THIS is the hyrbid mess that happens when life bloggers try to crack the big issues! Actually, you may come to like getting a dose of political madness with a chaser of my occasional ruminations on my FEELINGS. Maybe. And if you don't, can't help you. It's all (or most) of what I got.)
LOOK: the Blogger's side! This was definitely the fun side (or at least the side that led the laughter after Biden's weird "Barack got tested comment," which led to a classic camera cut from him to Obama to Sharpton.)
After the forum was over, which felt like a minute after it began, to be honest, some of the candidates came over to the media center to be hounded mercilessly by microphones and cameras (anywhere from my little Powershot up to the big guys with the telephotos and whatnot.) John Edwards,
Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama did not show. That was disappointing. It seems to me that particularly with the numbers of journalists of color who were covering this thing, the amount of hype that it got, and what most of them referred to as its historical significance, that it would have been nice for all of them to make an appearance, at least. Advance news had been that Obama wouldn't show, but no word on the others...until there wasn't any.
I did what I do best, which is to kind of wander around through the fray, saying my "excuse mes" and keeping my antennae up for anything interesting. Note to self: bring digital recorder. Most of this gig is about watching people, to be honest, and there's really nothing I do better, so in that case I have an advantage. At first I was a little hesitant, but when Professor Kim came back to get something and said, "I got a quote from Richardson. I'm going back in!" I was emboldened.
Here's a little bit of what I saw.
*Tavis Smiley getting into a heated discussion with a tall, blond, male reporter who I was told was from the Washington Post. The reporter was incensed that Smiley had spent time he could have spent asking questions, hawking his book and his tv show instead (at least according to the reporter.) Smiley wasn't having it, of course, told the guy he was "missing the point", and walked away. The real kicker to me was Smiley's makeup artist (I suppose, based on her patting him with foundation sponges and the arsenal of brushes in the kit on her belt) getting into a verbal spat with the same reporter after Smiley moved on. "At least you'll get good copy, baby," she said, as she walked away.
*Gravel, whose responses spawned one of my favorite quotes of the night, continuing to expound on the War on Drugs. Next episode, he and a red-clad Nancy Reagan are going to spar, Real World Inferno-style. I watched him talking with another reporter, and walked up just in time to hear him say, "Why should people go to jail for marijuana, when they don't go to jail for WHISKEY?"
Good question, and he's going to answer it for you. It's the WAR ON DRUGS, fools! He also told a young African-American woman who was interviewing him that the African-American media (because it's no one else's responsibility, hmm?) needed to stand up and tell the truth, "That they're the most damaged" in this drug war. He also told her that "people are dying as I'm talking to you...These people say "I want to be President, and they can't even lead in Congress," making refreshing-for-this-event mention that there's a war on, and continuing his complaints about his competitors.
*Overhead: Vernon Jordan saying, "It was a great night for democracy and for the American people."
*Cornel West stood in for Obama, and responded to Gravel's closing statement that slammed the other candidates by saying, "I take exception to that man's statement...That is wrong. Barack Obama shows moral leadership."
*Smiley continued to be asked by others around the room about the lack of time for candidates to answer questions, and the frenetic pace of the whole event, in light of the length of the introductions and his own comments. He said they "made the best of what we had," and that these were nine questions that "hadn't been asked before", resulting from people "wrapping their arms around the Covenant" (for Black America.)
(I have more pictures but they're not behaving. I'm going to post and try to get them in a little later. Meanwhile, here's the evolving Flickr set for the forum.)