Yes… there’s a typo in the title… and, no it’s not my mistake:
Yesterday, a group of Los Angeles area bloggers got together with John Kerry in Century City for an informal, off the record chat after the speech he delivered to the Pacific Council. As we made our way from the speech to the room reserved for our meeting with John Kerry we found the way paved with the sign above stating: John Kerry Bloogers Meeting. The humor of the mis-spelling was not missed by any of us and Steve Audio took a moment to pose with the sign.
Suddenly, as we were sitting at the table waiting for John Kerry to join us, he burst into the room waving the sign, laughing about the typo. “This is classic,” he told us… “I want you all to sign this and be sure to put the name of your Bloog under your name and I’m going to take this back to my office, frame it and hang it on my wall!” We all happily complied with the Senator’s request.
There’s been a few stories in the news recently about politicians and blogs, including one I posted about here, noting my experiences with the Kerry 2004 campaign blog. The informal meeting with the L.A. Bloggers was initiated by a suggestion I made to John Kerry when he was in L.A. in early April speaking on immigration reform.
I’ve had the experience to speak with John Kerry many times over the past few years, but for many of the bloggers at the table it was a first. Kerry was warm, funny, open, honest, frank and impassioned…
Because I have frequently written here about my experiences with speaking with John Kerry, yesterday’s meeting gives me the opportunity to note the experiences of the other bloggers at the meeting.
Dante (hekebolos on DKos) wrote a great diary about both the speech and the meeting here. Out of the group, he was the only one of to bring a laptop and he did a bang up job transcribing the adlib text of Kerry’s speech that was not included in the as prepared copy, posted here yesterday. Dante notes:
What struck me immediately was that Kerry’s demeanor in a private setting was so remarkably different from the common stereotypes about him. He was extremely warm, personable and engaging–a far cry from the aloof patrician that most people have come to expect as Kerry’s stereotype. Kerry talked with us for nearly an hour, despite warnings from his staff that the conversation would make him late for his subsequent stops in the L.A. region.
Hollywood Liberal reported on the speech and the meeting here. He noted Kerry’s opening remarks at the speech…
Kerry came out and joked to the very well dressed crowd that while we were on Avenue of the Stars today, (the street the hotel is on), the Republican party was becoming the Avenue of the Indicted. He also said that Congress is more dysfunctional right now than it has ever been in the 22 years he has been there.
On the subject of the off the record meeting Hollywood Liberal said…
The meeting was off the record so no one took any notes or recorded what was said. The first question went straight to the point, about how pissed off so many Democratic voters, are about what happened with the election, and also that it seemed like most Democrats in Congress had no idea how bad the situation was. Kerry responded by dropping the whole political routine and speaking like he was off the record to a bunch of people that already know what’s going on anyway.
SteveAudio’s post on the meeting, “John Kerry: Johnny, show me that you care, really care for me,” was a heartfelt expression of someone who “got” who John Kerry really is, as opposed to the image of Kerry pushed by the MSM during the election cycle…
He was impassioned, engaged, and not afraid of criticism. When asked why other Dem pols seem to be cowardly, he said that other members of the Dem caucus still didn’t get it. And when asked about the ennui that seems to affect the Democratic party, his response was a challenge: we need to win elections. Then we can do work, with a majority in at least one house.
We both came away feeling that this guy really gets it, that he has the ‘rock star’ vibe that only Al Gore & the Clintons have today. He said he felt like he was in the unique position, having been to the ‘mountain top’, to make some waves, both in Washington DC and in the Democratic Party, by helping articulate a message as well as helping to support other national and local Democratic races.
Had I heard those words on TV, I might have said “Whatever.” Hearing them to my face, I believed. This is a really smart guy, who has a real grip on international politics and issues, and who doesn’t seem to rely on flacks and flunkys for data. He is in command of facts, figures, and statistics. Not because he reads them, but because he cares about them.
Joseph of Martini Republic notes, “Senator John Kerry faced some progressive if occasionally grim-faced LA bloggers, including one from this blog” and he also points out that the meeting afforded a few chuckles over the “Bloogers” sign.”
Last, but not least, after the “Bloogers” meeting I had the opportunity for a little one on one conversation with the Senator about life, blogging and my upcoming visit to D.C. for the Take Back America Conference, June 12 – 14. Kerry will be one of the featured speakers and I will be one of the featured bloggers.
As we made our way through the hotel to find a quiet place to speak, John Kerry declared that he’s like an ice cream. We ducked into the hotel lobby shop to grab one.
Much to the Senator’s dismay, we could not find any with out nuts…
As I told SteveAudio by email last night, regarding his post on the meeting, sometimes “It’s hard to tell people that I know this guy named John Kerry and he’s not at all like people think he is and get them to understand that.” My impression of the “Bloogers” meeting was that each of the “bloogers” walked away with a different impression of John Kerry, from the one they went into the room with. And that, part and parcel was what it was all about.
The Bloogers attending the meeting were: RJ Eskow (HuffPo), Cenk Uygur (Young Turks), SteveAudio & Mrs Steve Audio (SteveAudio & HuffPo), Dante aka Hekeboles (DKos), HollywoodLiberal, Martini Republic, myself, Gary A (DKos – can’t remember his username) and Eric H (DCP).