KerryPool: Rashomon Edition

In this Kerry press pool report, two views of the same church visit. And Kerry splits the difference:

"Whose going to win the game today?'' Kerry asked. Shkolnik answered, "The Brownies are,'' to which Kerry added, "I knew you were going to say that. What's the spread on it?''

"I think the Browns are favored by a couple,'' Shkolnik replied.

Another man asked, "Senator are you a Bengals or a Browns' fan?''

"Man, I'm an Ohio vote fan,'' Kerry said. "That's what I am.''

Full report after the jump.

Pool Report by Jack Torry, Columbus Dispatch

October 17, 2004

Columbus, OH

Kerry began his day at 10:20 a.m. at the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, 428 E. Main Street, on the east side of Columbus where Dr. Charles E. Booth serves as pastor. As the choir sang, Kerry held hugged Booth, and shook hands with those near the front. Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman sat in a front row.

Kerry devoted a large chunk of his speech to criticism of President Bush's plan to allow younger workers to divert some of their Social Security payroll taxes into private accounts. Bush has insisted that his plan would not impact older workers or current beneficiaries.

"We just learned the other day, just yesterday, that the president told his biggest and wealthiest donors about his January surprise,'' Kerry said. "He's going to come out strong, in his words, to fight for his plan to privatize Social Security.'' Kerry said it would be a "disaster for America's middle class.

"The president's privatization plan for Social Security is another way of saying to our seniors that the promise of security is going to be broken. Now once again, this president just seems to be out of touch with the real choices and real concerns of our fellow Americans.

Kerry said that the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that "this plan of the president's will force benefit cuts for seniors of between 25 percent and 45 percent. That's up to $500 a month less for food, for clothing . . . even the president's own economic advisers say that this will blow a $2 trillion hole in Social Security. And guess who is going to pay? You will. America's seniors who are already facing prescription drug costs that have gone up 12 percent a year? Record high Medicare premiums, that just went up 17 percent. Higher gas costs. Family budgets that are already stretched to the limit, you know what I am taking about. That's a surprise we can all live without.''

"When I'm president, I'm not going to cut -- first of all we're not going to privatize Social Security. We're not going to cut the benefits. We're not going to raise the retirement age.''

He also vowed that Democratic officials and Kerry advisers at polling stations will make certain that all votes are counted. In a reference to the Florida recount of 2000, Kerry said, "We're not going to let this be a repeat of 2000. My campaign has put in place a voter protection dream team.

"You get to the polls and we're going to make sure this time not only does every vote, but every vote is going to be counted.''

As soon as Kerry finished speaking, his motorcade followed by a handful of pool reporters drove the few minutes to Katzinger's Delicatessen on Third Street at the entrance of German Village, where supporters, given just a few minutes notice of his arrival, applauded and cheered.

"Hi, great to see you all,'' Kerry said, wearing a tan heavy coat over his navy blue suit.

"Thank you for coming here,'' one man said. "It's my pleasure,'' Kerry replied.

"You've got my vote,'' a young man said.

"Thank you so much,'' Kerry said. "How are you all doing?''

"You did great in the debates,'' a man told him.

Kerry clapped his hands in anticipation of eating. "You know what I want; is a great sandwich. Show me around, too.'' He signed an autograph for one man.

Josh Shkolnik, a Kerry supporter from Akron, wearing a Cleveland Browns' jersey, described himself as a "huge fan of yours.''

"Whose going to win the game today?'' Kerry asked. Shkolnik answered, "The Brownies are,'' to which Kerry added, "I knew you were going to say that. What's the spread on it?''

"I think the Browns are favored by a couple,'' Shkolnik replied.

Another man asked, "Senator are you a Bengals or a Browns' fan?''

"Man, I'm an Ohio vote fan,'' Kerry said. "That's what I am.'' Then he turned to a TV reporter and said, "I want to win Ohio. And I'm going to fight for every vote until the last moment to the last day.''

Kerry approached Ashley Sullivan, who stood at the counter taking orders. Kerry started pointing at an array of dishes. "Potato salad. Cole slaw.'' Diane Warren, owner of Katzinger's, told Sullivan, a "pound of potato salad, a pound of Cole slaw. What else?'' He asked for some Szechwan pasta.

"You know what? I'll have a little egg salad on whole wheat, with some lettuce and tomato,'' Kerry said. Got that? Whole wheat, lettuce, tomato, Swiss, Mayo. And I want to get one of those loaves of whole wheat. Those are great.''

He paid $29.70 in cash.

Warren had known only 20 minutes that Kerry planned to stop by.

Steve Farrell, who had voted for Kerry in Massachusetts, grew up outside of Boston and now lives in German Village, said, "I just got a call three minutes ago from a friend who works with the campaign and she said, 'Get yourself down to Katzinger's because he's going to be there. It's pretty exciting.''

After he left the deli, Kerry turned right and walked up Third Street to a natural food store, Parsley Patch Wellness Center, on Third Street, shook more hands on the street, "Take care,'' he said with a wave.

"I got the store ready for him,'' said Dale Peiffer, who had only a short advance notice. "I was very excited about him being here. He got Life Force Multiple, the No. 1 rated multiple in the multiple vitamin universe, Echinacea, ricola, honey, lemon and the original formula, for his throat, so he can keep talking.''

When asked how much Kerry paid, Peiffer said, "We settled at an even $30.''

Pool Report by Donna Marbury, Columbus Post

October 17, 2004

Columbus, OH

"I want to win Ohio," Kerry said. "I am fighting for every vote."

Kerry attended services at Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Downtown Columbus where he says he will continue to be aware of the needs of the African American community, saying President George W. Bush is "out of touch" with real people.

"I will restore common sense and value to the presidency. I will restore the American dream for the middle class family and for those who want to be middle class," he said.

"The American dream is on the ballot November 2."

Rev. Charles E. Booth, pastor of the church who received a Bible from Kerry for celebrating his 40th anniversary this weekend, says that Kerry is aware and in touch with the community.

"As African Americans, we recognize we are in a serious election year.

There's one thing to be keenly aware of issues and another to be fiercely analytical," Booth said highlighting Kerry's performances at the recent presidential debates.

Kerry spoke about the importance of education, healthcare and social security. He said that his campaign focus for the remainding days before the election is "making choices" and that Bush is causing too many people to compromise their needs.

"As I've been looking around this country, I see we've got a lot more loving of our neighbors to do in the United States of America," he said. "I see jobs that need to be created, seniors who have to cut pills in half and people making choices about their Medicare. Those choices are so fundamental and that's why the next 16 days are about making choices."

Kerry also says that his campaign has assembled a "voting protection dream team" who plan to ease fears of voter disenfranchisement.

"We're not going to let this be a repeat of 2000," he said. "We need to make sure that we deliver on our promise to protect every single vote."

He said his campaign is working with former Detroit Mayor and Judge Dennis Archer, along with several other attorneys to be watchdogs over potential Election Day mishaps.

"If you get the people to the polls I will make sure every vote counts and every vote is counted," Kerry said.

He urged morning churchgoers to consider adding more money into education, including Issue 97, the Columbus Public School's 6.95 mil levy. He said that if children cannot rely on family, teachers and organized religion, that the community has to step in to fill the void.

"I've seen many children that don't have one out of the three," he said. "We've got to start making up the difference. Fifty years after Brown vs. the Board of Education, we have unacceptable separate but unequal school systems."

Kerry says that he wants to unify America so that fighting the war on terrorism will be a more cohesive battle.

"It's time to rebuild, time to tear down the people wanting to keep us apart," he said. "I want us to be one America, not black and white, red states and blue states. People all over the world are waiting to see who is going to be the next leader of the free world, so that we can lead the war on terror and see it fought smarter."

After his speech at the church, Kerry made an impromptu stop at Katzinger's Delicatessen and the Parsley Patch Wellness Center in German Village near Downtown Columbus. Deli owner Diane Warren said that campaign officials called her daughter at the deli just 20 minutes before stopping in.

"I had no time to spruce up myself," says Warren, who was at the grocery store when her daughter informed her by cell phone of the visit.

"I'm very excited and honored to show the place off to someone as important as a presidential candidate."

Kerry ordered an egg salad sandwich, several other salads and four brownies, and fitted the $30 bill. She says that the senator was charismatic and understood the value of customers.

"He was extremely down to earth, charming and had intimate knowledge of what we do here," she said. "He was very sympathetic of how to please the customer."

Dale Peiffer, owner of the Parsley Patch, said that he is a Kerry supporter and that the presidential candidate bought multivitamins and throat lozenges on his short stop in the store.

"It's not very often you get to meet someone running for president. That was the first time I got to shake the hand of a potential president."


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