KerryPool: Bloody Gun Day

id vote for the dogIn these Kerry campaign pool reports: More than you ever wanted to know about that goddamn hunting trip. You could call it fake news, even.


Highlight:

A note from photogs. Lots of blood on Kerry's left hand. Pooler suggested it was from fetching downed bird and possibly wringing its neck if it were still kicking, flipping and flopping, perhaps flip-flopping. Photog saw Mr. Kerry shaking his entire hand way up field as if he'd injured hand. When he walked by, he'd tucked his hand up into his sleeve so it couldn't be seen. Suppose we'll have to wait for after-action report, but as we all know, Purple Heart citations can be vague.
Even more after the jump, plus stats.

[REUTERS/Brian Snyder US ELECTION]

From: kerrypool

Sent: Thu Oct 21 10:19:36 2004

Subject: [Kerrypool] kerry duck hunt #4

Pool Report #4

Kerry duck hunt

At 8:49, still no shots heard from around the house. Nor did pooler ever hear any goose or duck calls.

Molnar Farms is owned by Rick and Jill Molnar who have a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. A sign out front advertises apples, sweet corn, pumpkins, cider and other things. Under fruit stand shed, various police and motorcade drivers gathered for coffee and hot cider. Three empty camo soft gun cases sat on a counter. Also, a still-boxed, broken down 12 gauge camo shotgun was in a cardboard box. Make unknown. Pooler did not reach to open box as most of the people under shed were armed and pooler feared them. Also: a box of 12 ga., three-inch steel shot cartridges was on the counter, legal ammo for shooting over water. But for all we know, Mr. Kerry may have been using lead shot, which would be illegal for waterfowl.

At 8:53, distant wails of geese could be heard from beyond tree-line to east of house, where as hunting party was to north of house. Roughly 60 large Canada geese emerged over tree line and - as if trained to do so if at the last minute no birds had been slaughtered in this great authentic moment of modern American politics - made a beeline for Mr. Kerry and his camo-clad comrades. Suddenly, an explosion of gunfire. It was enough to evoke flashbacks in your pooler, who really was in diapers when Mr. Kerry fought in Cambodia or Vietnam or wherever. There were so many shots in the course of 15 seconds that it was impossible to count the number. Certainly, everybody unloaded their guns and possibly even reloaded (Assuming they were not using some sort of large-capacity assault weapons, which would be thoroughly illegal. But we'll never know.). The honking of the geese changed from calm and plaintive to upset and confused as the flock hurried back to cruising altitude and separated into two still-large groups. A smaller - apparently smarter - group left the farm altogether. A larger group came back toward the house, where some 35 reporters and cameramen with fuzzy booms and long-lense cameras were snapping and whirring away. This appeared to further disturb the geese who flared in various directions, not to be heard from again - or so we thought.

Much relieved and even chirpy, staffers began herding us around the building to a hay trailer set up beside the cornfield from which we could view the moment of his emergence from the field. Not that it was staged or anything, Loftus explained: "He's going to walk down that line of corn. He'll turn down there and walk up this way. Then we will move with great dispatch up there." No questions were to be asked, we were informed. The four hunting men and yellow dog (a Democrat, pooler assumes) seemed to - from such a distance - crystalize out of thin air with all their camo on. They walked along the line of corn that was still standing. Each man carried a gun. Three men carried dead Canada geese. Mr. Kerry was empty-handed, but for his gun. A man walked far up ahead - outside a normal picture frame - carrying a fourth limp goose. Mr. Kerry's gun was an double-barrel, over/under 12 ga. shotgun. It was breached and he carried it in the crook of his arm, like a true gentleman. The other men, carried pump or semi-auto long guns that appeared to be 12 ga. shotguns as well. As they approached with the rust-colored trees as a backdrop, photogs snapped crazily and marveled at the perfect frame. Indeed, they looked like catalogue models on the cover of a Cabella's magazine. Their voices could be heard but not what they were saying. They were clearly animated and exuberant over their success. Woody, the yellow dog, was the only one who seemed to stray from stage notes. He kept running up to the man ahead carrying the fourth bird, then racing back to the four hunters, only to tag them and race back ahead. "The dog is out of position," sighed one shooter. Dog owner blew whistle and dog returned to a flurry of picture snaps.

Once in earshot:

Q: Did you shoot any geese, senator?

A: thumbs up.

Q: You get any?

A: Everybody got one. Everybody got one.

Q: Why aren't you carrying yours?

A: (laughter) Too lazy.

Q: Heavy?

A: No, still giddy over the Red Sox. It was hard to focus.

(Thanks to Jim Malone of VOA Radio for exact quotes.)

In addition to Mr. Strickland, the hunting party included Bob Bellino, board member of local Ducks Unlimited, and Neal Brady, a state park manager. More information on these guys in included in morning briefing sent by campaign.

There is no information who Mr. Kerry's bird boy was.

Immediately after Mr. Kerry completed his "walk-by," we were rounded up and herded back around house to waiting vans. After a few minutes, the motorcade moved us back to hotel file center. We arrived at 9:15. As we got out of the vans, the lonesome calls of geese could be heard again overhead. It was decided that they had followed the motorcade, weeping over the casualties.

Charles Hurt

From: kerrypool

Sent: Thu Oct 21 10:44:19 2004

Subject: [Kerrypool] Report #5

Report #5

It's 10:53. We're loaded up for airport but haven't left yet.

A note from photogs. Lots of blood on Kerry's left hand. Pooler suggested it was from fetching downed bird and possibly wringing its neck if it were still kicking, flipping and flopping, perhaps flip-flopping. Photog saw Mr. Kerry shaking his entire hand way up field as if he'd injured hand. When he walked by, he'd tucked his hand up into his sleeve so it couldn't be seen. Suppose we'll have to wait for after-action report, but as we all know, Purple Heart citations can be vague.

Charles Hurt

Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004 10:43 AM

Subject: Kerry duck hunt - things to know

From abc off air ed okeefe:

Just to recap, we have all of the following ON CAMERA:

-Flock of geese flying toward farm field

-Reporters gathered around farmhouse, watching and photographing the flock

-Pull backs from flock in the sky to reporters watching

-Two geese shot in the sky, falling to the ground

-Woody, the lab, retrieving the fallen birds

-Reporters hear the gunshots

-Pull to Loftus giving the "thumbs up" when two birds fall

-Campaign staffers "shushing" reporters as they gather and gawk

-Kerry holding goose, then passing it off

-Kerry, three others, walking down long pathway

-Kerry playing with dog, shotgun over arm

-Kerry comments

Stats (for a casual hunt):

-4 hunters (Kerry, Rep. Strickland, two locals including a Ducks Unlimited board member)

-1 dog (Woody, a lab)

-28 rounds fired (Kerry's shotgun was capable of firing six rounds before reloading)

-4 Canadian Geese killed (Limit 2 per person per day)

-Total hunt time: 2 hours, 4 minutes (6:58am-9:02am)

-KTI (Kerry Tardiness Index): 28 minutes (Locals feared this may decrease duck odds)

-Distance between Kerry's blind and "pool" press: 500 yards

-"Pool" Press: at least 30 (2 national cameras, 2 local cameras, numerous photogs, local and national print pool, local and national radio pool)

-Staff: 10 (Morehouse, Wade, Warren, Nicholson, LaRossa, Hanna, Hale, three additional advance staffers)

-2nd "hunt" of the campaign (First, a pheasant hunt, on October 31, 2003, in Colo, Iowa)

-Has also gone skeet and trap shooting during the general election

-Number of staffers wearing Red Sox caps on Wednesday: 0

-Number of staffers wearing Red Sox caps on Thursday: 3

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