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The John Kerry Bloogers Meeting in Los Angeles

by Pamela Leavey

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 whatโ€™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.

There’s more photos of the day here, here and here.

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).

65 Responses to “The John Kerry Bloogers Meeting in Los Angeles”

  1. What Teresa said. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The guy stands tall for America and Americans. Toss in that photo that Marjorie talks about where JK is scanning the skies on 9/11. Tall man, heads and shoulders above the rest.

    Not that hard at all.

  2. Amen KJ and Teresa!!

  3. Pamela,

    It’s not one guy. Many people have come to the same conclusions.

    Whether Kennedy is ultimately right or wrong is a matter of opinion, but his sloppy research and misquotation of sources is pretty obvious. If there was election fraud, Kennedy’s article does not provide any evidence for it.

  4. Indie- what did warner say about the Iraq war?
    although he’s favorite of the Virginia folks I tune him out as he and Kaine piss me off with their constant trashing of Kerry to score points last year.

    Judith- as you come from the senators home state you have a view that should be looked at as well. I think Kerry’s learning the more personal on TV but he does need to add more personal life and less policy. I will give you that.

    I also think its harder for him than say Bill because Kerry seems to be a more independent thinker and a loner which is why I like him.

    As for hill in the end she’s no bill although she’s going to use Bill to further her ambition like he used her.

    Hopefully, folks will see where the media and gop lied on Kerry but he has to show those who say that downhome Kerry doesn’t exists that the man does. I think its unfair that he may have to open up more than is comfortable but unfortunately to many americans won’t look for the truth or listen to the facts. That’s where us on the KErry train can help him as well.

  5. Pen, agreed. Although I think a television ad campaign that markets Kerry can be presented up front, ahead of Kerry’s appearances. Simple ads to fire the passions, then “let Kerry be Kerry” in his appearances, where he will more than deliver the goods.

    I don’t advocate changing Kerry at all, what I advocate is changing how he’s initially presented and making sure that image/message/focus is geared right straight at the heart of what America wants/needs/craves… the chance to be whole Americans again, taking care of our own needs, our own energy, our own innovations, our own families.

    Sorry, can’t seem to get off that bandwagon. I just keeping hoping in this campaign, someone with clout will listen to someone like me who is deep behind the lines in the heart of rural red. There are voters for Kerry here, still. And there are voters that will swing Democrat.

  6. “John Kerry, Looking Out for America”

    insert photos of:
    Kerry on 9/11, scanning the skies
    Kerry in VN
    Kerry testifying for the Winter Soldiers
    Kerry at the BCCI investigation
    etc. etc. etc.

    LOL I’ll stop now, promise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. oh shoot, I lied. Okay, here’s another:

    “John Kerry, A Man for His Time”

    insert photos of:
    Kerry on 9/11, scanning the skies
    Kerry in VN
    Kerry testifying for the Winter Soldiers
    Kerry at the BCCI investigation
    etc. etc. etc.

    Simple to produce. Simple message that resonates. Flood the airwaves, including radio. (Conservatives used radio ads in 2004 in multiples, very effective.) Billboards. Bumperstickers. Just catch the damn eye and ear, you know?

    Then let Kerry be Kerry in his appearances and speeches.

    Now I really will stop. I’m a poet and editor, not an advertising executive. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. In the meantime, let’s bring our troops home from Iraq.

    John Kerry: Tell Your Senators – Support Senate Joint Resolution 36 to Bring our Combat Troops Home in 2006

  9. pen Says:
    June 3rd, 2006 at 11:27 pm


    here you go:


    At Tapped, Matthew Yglesias notes that Mark Warner is firming up his position on the Iraq War. Warner says that, knowing what we know today, he wouldn’t have voted for the war. I think that’s almost a no-brainer. Absent a strong threat of developing nuclear weapons, you can’t justify having gone to war to convert a brutal Sunni dictatorship into a somewhat less brutal Shiite dictatorship. (No, that’s not the best case scenario, but it’s not the worst-case scenario, either, and it’s one many U.S. policymakers would probably take right now.)

    But that’s the easy question. The tough questions are: 1) Given the information before us at the time, was war a good idea? I think the answer is still probably yes, but it’s not so clear-cut. And 2) What should we do now? Warner thinks we should stay, and I agree, but this, too, is debatable.

    Warner’s huge advantage here is that he doesn’t have to answer question number one. Answering that question is what tied John Kerry in knots, and I suspect it will do the same thing to Hillary Clinton. Warner ducks the question, which is smart. (The answer is complicated, and complicated answers inevitably get portrayed in the media as waffling.) People often note that governors fare better as presidential nominees than do senators. This is one of the reasons.

    –Jonathan Chait

  10. I’m delighted to have been such a stimulus, pleased that no one seems to have been horrified and sorry I wasn’t around yesterday. And maybe there have been too many articles posted since this one for anyone to be reading anymore …

    Everything you guys have said is certainly true. But … Kerry still has to overcome the perceptions of people who believe that he ran a terribly campaign and lost by a lot more than he did … and he has to present himself in such a way that people are willing to listen to him. He’s also got to overcome the belief that if you’ve run and lost you can’t run again … much less run again and win.

    If he’s warm, then the country has to see that … We’ve never seen him project warmth in Massachusetts … never mind nationally. The way he won against Bill Weld who was supposed to win here because he was charming, was that he informed the voters that he knew he didn’t have charisma but he did have ideas. And we voted for him. I don’t know whether that will work nationally but if he can’t project the warmth that he is said to have in small groups, he needs to do something. Selling ideas might be a good thing even if he can do that.

    And like it or not, I think he has to be ready to attack the Swift Boat types … and to deal with whatever religous issues come up.

  11. Judith, welcome to the Democratic Daily. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You make valid points, I lived in Massachusetts during the infamous Weld vs. Kerry campaign and remember those days well. It was a nail biter of a campaign. Weld has charmisa and savvy to spare.

    I think Kerry is running, just a hunch, and as smart people do, he is taking stock of where he ran weak and spending time and energy shoring up those places. Time will tell, but there is still good feelings about him among liberals in rural red, so the idea that he ran a weak campaign might be an internet perception. If so, he’s certainly reaching out to the blogosphere, not to mention standing up to the SwiftLiers.

    Sorry so short, early am and no coffee in sight!

  12. Actually, the perception that he ran a poor campaign exists among mainstream voters (alas) and among my friends – US citizens – who live in the UK (and vote). The perception that Kerry lost by a lot more than he did, seems to be quite common; it’s not just the bloggers. In any case, he needs to do something about it – and whatever it is, if it works, it’s fine by me.

    As to Weld, I’ve never thought much of him but his charisma paid off when he ran for governor against John Silber. I didn’t much care for either of them but Silber’s programs actually made some sense; his presentation was apalling. Weld’s programs were actually much more destructive of the poor.

  13. Judith,

    Second KJ’s welcome and the validity of your points. The # of people who still have misperceptions and the # who are weekly coming to see them will be ongoing over the next 2 years. It definitely needs to be enhanced in the lead up and during the campaign.

    KJ has the ‘hook’ concept just right. I of course, would like it to be ‘American Synergy’ – but might be too much for John and Mary Public. Speaks to putting our efforts into coordinated teamwork instead of partisan offense/defense.

    Since JK has his staff working on the whole Swift Boat story: lies, media distortions, etc. There is the potential for him to have enough $ to get it out there early – like shortly after he announces. So that can be laid to rest.
    Have to wonder about the potential sympathy vote that could come from it. Not enough to necessarily tip the scales in itself, but could garner more supporters who come to check him out and realize there’s a really superb reason for this bandwagon. Add more people talking the positive truths about JK. Nice ripple effect.

    If he starts off by totally debunking the SB BS, gets the meme hook going early, maintains and/or improves his comfort in being who he is on camera, and the mood of the country continues to be angry about the past and desperate to find a candidate that comes across as the real deal; I see his chances as better than any one else.

    Not easy, and not without those pieces and more. But for JK: very doable.

  14. Kerry On!!!!

  15. Kerry’s Second Shot

    “Meet the Next President,” The Examiner says, there’s no reason why a Democrat shouldn’t have a second shot.

    Contrary to the notion that some Democrats have that โ€œYou get one chance. If you canโ€™t win, then itโ€™s time t…