The Boston Globe has a fascinating account of the Kerry/Edwards whistle-stop tour through Bush country in Missiouri yesterday: “In Mo., hecklers try to derail Kerry team.” Patrick Healy writes:
Harry Truman gave ’em hell when his whistle-stop train tour pulled into Sedalia in 1948, but it was the townspeople of this pro-Bush burg who made life rough for John F. Kerry, John Edwards, and their wives just before midnight Thursday…
Edwards’s trademark smile melted in the floodlights to a stony stare at times as Bush supporters waved posters with messages such as ”Flush the Johns,” and he tried to shame them by mentioning that his children were on board the train. Teresa Heinz Kerry, meanwhile, began her remarks by contending that Missouri Democrats would treat Laura Bush better than the local Republicans were treating her. Heinz Kerry, who prides herself on ”speaking my mind,” spoke haltingly through catcalls of ”Go home.”
Kerry fans outnumbered protesters, but the latter dozens made their point with greater zeal, in some cases shockingly so. As the Democrat waved to some 500 supporters in Warrensburg late Thursday, one woman swore at him and then added, ”I hate you!” Kerry shrugged it off, remarking inside: ”She was so drunk. Did you see how drunk she was?”…
Heinz Kerry, who appeared a bit shocked by the reception, offered a hello to Missouri and then said, ”If Laura Bush was here, I would say hello politely to her, and I would expect all Democrats to do that too . . . In a free democratic country, we have our opinions, but we respect other people’s place. So enjoy your democracy.”
She paused at times during the shouts of ”four more years” and ”Bush, Bush, Bush” — which the larger Kerry base drowned out at some points, but not at others — and called on the crowd to stick to ideas in the 2004 race. As the Bush chants continued, Heinz Kerry said, ”Excuse me . . . let’s enjoy the moment and let’s give our great welcoming to John, my husband.”
Kerry then announced that Amtrak had just informed an aide that the Democrats’ stop was holding up another train. Still, he launched into an abbreviated stump speech amid the booing.
”When I listen to some people who say four more years, I say to myself, four more years of adding deficit and debt to the children of our country?” Kerry said to cheers from his side.
”Harry Truman came through here, 1948. He’s your Harry Truman. And when Harry was talking, people used to yell, ‘Give ’em hell, Harry.’ And Harry would say, ‘I just tell ’em the truth and they think it’s hell.'”
As Glenn Reynolds says: Indeed.