Sorry for the delay. Who knew that being out of work could be so much work?
This was the second rally for the President that I've been to this year, and while the speeches were mostly the same, there were differences, too. For one thing Red Rocks is gorgeous.
As for the rally itself, Bob Beauprez of the 7th District emceed, and seemed at ease, confident, relaxed, and energetic. Far different from his pictures.
The invocation was beautiful, calling the country to duty, and to kindness and justice. "We are not called to be a theocracy, but we are called to be a light among the nations." It reinforced the notion of America as the latter-day Israelites.
Owens gave the requisite applause & cheer lines to Bush & Coors, then spoke at length about Amendment 36, poking fun at Jorge Klor de Alva, his residence in Brazil, and unwillingness to debate. Laid out the reasons for objecting, not just for the presidential vote, but also because of the national issues at stake. (I was waiting for an "86-36" chant, but apparently Owens isn't a blog devotee.)
Coors made a few jokes: "I've been coming here for a long time. Used to sneak in when I was little." (Nice, considering it's the one major venue in the state they haven't slapped his name on yet.) He pointed out clear differences between Salazar and himself. He spoke with comfort and confidence not evident on Meet the Press, but he should. He's delivering a stump speech he's given 1000 times.
It sounded like a non-sinister, pretty harmless version of the standard script-lines that Orwell talks about in "Politics and the English Language." There was nothing new here, really, and there were some odd pairings of lines: health care and national security; unemployment and terrorism. Given the time constraints, I'm sure if Salazar had the suicidal urge to campaign with Kerry he'd sound pretty much the same.
Cheers: from "Pete, Pete" to "Four More Years," Republicans continue to give evidence of being rhythmically challenged. When the President mentioned the Senate race, they swiched to "they're not booing, they're saying Coors," instead, which requires less cross-venue coordination. Honestly, I've been listening to "Four More Years" since 1984, and if Bush gets re-elected, one of the bonuses will be that I won't have to hear it again until 2012.
Broncos cheerleaders to introduce Shanahan, and they spent 5 minutes surreally shooting t-shirts into the crowd as though it were a game. They probably would have had those little blimps floating around dispensing tickets if it weren't a security threat. A press guy caught one, and looked at it like a leftover from Rocky Flats. Prevented by peer pressue and professional ethics from keeping it, threw it back over his shoulder like a confirmed bachelor who'd caught the bouquet at a wedding. Came to me, but then, I'm just a blogger, looking for a t-shirt to go with his pajamas.
Shanahan introduced Gen. Tommy Franks. He read it like a Shane Diamonds Co. commercial, but that's fine. Tommy Franks, Rock Star. His appearance was something of a surprise, and judging from the crowd response, a welcome one. "I have seen the President close in his eyes when it was not convenient to be President of the United States.... I saw Character, Courage, Consistency... This vote means more to them (servicemen) that at any time in my lifetime." Franks took his time endorsing the President, but he's in it now for real, and he's a serious asset.
The President's speech was substantially the same as his stump speech from before, but with a little updating and a lot more energy. He's almost completely gotten rid of his habit of dropping his head away from the mike to read a quote, which sapped all the momentum from his delivery. His eye contact was virtually constant. When a leather-lunged classmate of mine at DU yelled out from behind him, "We love ya, Dubya," the crowd went wild, and Bush stood there, letting it have its fun.
(As an aside, his daughter Jenna, as well as Karl "the Brain" Rove, Karen Hughes, and Condoleeza Rice were there with him, probably for debate prep. Someone needs to give Jenna applause lessons. She sort of props up one hand on her knee, palm up, and slaps the other palm down like she's stamping out passports or something.)
Some quick notes:
- He takes Bill Kristol's advice (neocons, please pick up your pagers) and labels Kerry as a liberal on domestic issues, which goes along with the "Run But Can't Hide" refrain.
- He refers to "minority citizens," not "minorities," which I like.
- He talks about his energy plan, but builds up to the punch line of energy independence, which chimera gets huge applause.
- "Make sure the all-volunteer Army remains the all-volunteer Army."
- "Gathering threat," and resolves to threats seriously "before they fully materialize." Emphasizes out that he never said "imminent."
- "Afghanistan held elections this weekend and is an ally in the War on Terror." First person to vote was a 19-year-old girl. So he's keeping that current.
- He also mentioned the Oil-for-Food bribes, the vote against the 1990 Gulf War, and the New York Times interview
On the whole, a lot of fun.