Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joe the Plumber in Pensacola

We'd guess the Obama rally in Pensacola yesterday is considered by campaign officials an unqualified success. Official turn-out was estimated at 6,500, the Civic Center crowd was told nearly an hour before Michelle Obama appeared on stage. Troy Moon reports it was closer to 7,000.

Our estimate is 7,500. You should believe us. We had the best view for estimating the crowd because we were seated on the aisle high above everybody else in the nosebleed section.

That's what you get -- a cold, dirty cement step to sit on -- when you arrive at an Obama rally on time. As Rebecca Ross reports in the PNJ today, everyone else got there at the crack of dawn.
By 8 a.m., cars lined nearby Alcaniz and Wright streets, and attendees formed long lines that snaked around the Civic Center parking lot.
We made the same mistake -- arriving on time -- the last time a Harry Potter book was released at the stroke of midnight. Then, as now, we were hauling along a couple of wide-eyed, pint-sized tykes. If this keeps up, those unfortunate kids are going to grow up seeing nothing of the adult world but the backsides of strangers standing in line ahead of them.

There was one advantage to our sky-high seats. We got to meet the real Joe the Plumber. At least, that's how he introduced himself when we mentioned how much we admired his Piggly Wiggly T-shirt.

"I'm the real Joe the Plumber," he said, "except I'm really an electrician. But I'm the real deal. I already own my own business. It's called Argo Electric.

"I have an electrician's license. I have a business license. I pay my taxes. I did my time as an apprentice. I work mostly in the Gulf Beach highway area, ten or twelve hours a day, six days a week. But I don't make no $250 thousand a year. That's a joke. Real Joe the Plumbers like me are tired of going broke. That's why I'm here."

His real name, he told us, is Charles Mathews and he lives in Milton.

"There aren't so many of us [Obama supporters] in Milton," he said with a grin, "but more than you'd think. A lot of people there are really hurting."


Anonymous said...

Join the Campaign!

Share the wealth!

Anonymous said...

Feed the enthusiasm.

Here's a rockin' get out the vote video:

Tune in, turn on, turn out.