Photo & media by Chris Kornelis. Click the image to view video of Edwards' chat with reporters after the program. Click here to download an
Photo & media by Chris Kornelis. Click the image to view video of Edwards' chat with reporters after the program. Click here to download an iPod-ready version.
— Download Edwards' speech here.
— Download the Q&A here.
— Download the whole thing here.
— And if you only have 10 seconds, listen to the laugh of the man who wants to be the next president of the United States.
Thank goodness unionized workers are patient people.
Nobody expects presidential candidates to be on time, but John Edwards, after 45 minutes of "he's on his way" announcements was pushing his luck with the local labor vote.
Many of the 800 or so people present were there for the speech (and the spectacle) but are a long way from deciding who they want for president in 2008. Edwards is the first announced candidate to visit Seattle, though John McCain showed up to speak to the City Club in February.
Some made cracks about what was taking him so long. “He’s probably in the greenroom getting all fixed up,” said one white-haired woman.
“Yeah. Getting one of those expensive haircuts,” seconded her friend. (In case you’ve been living under a rock, Edwards’ most recent FEC filings listed not one, but two $400 haircuts. So not only is the humble country kid from North Carolina going glam, he’s paying for it with campaign cash.)
When the candidate finally arrived, the emcee’s attempt at rebuilding the excitement with “Hey everybody. It’s show time!” only got a smattering of applause. But Edwards, with his boyish charm and classic pro-worker stump speech was able to woo them, even if he didn’t wow ‘um.
“I’m proud to be with my brothers and sisters of organized labor,” he shouted. “It doesn’t matter who I’m speaking to, I talk about this issue wherever I go. We desperately need comprehensive labor reform in this country.”
The crowd got rowdy.
“What we want is a level playing field. What we want is a decent chance. That’s all we want.”
“The top 300,000 people in this county make more than the bottom 150 million. You think we don’t have income disparity in America? The two Americas are alive and breathing in this country,” Edwards continued. “I don’t want to live in a country made up of a few rich people and everybody else. I DON’T!”
The room exploded. Unions in their matching pods of green, yellow, blue, black and red T-shirts leapt to their feet. Whoops and hollers all around.
Seattle City Council Member David Della, observing from the back of the room before the speech, said he likes that Edwards values working families.
It’s clear from the reaction of the unions that working people want to like him too. But they also want someone who’s real— not someone who’s simply going to tell them what they want to hear… a flashy trial lawyer, with perfect hair.