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11.03.2004

Kerry's concession speech -- recap

John Kerry arrived to a warm reception at Faneuil Hall to deliver his concession speech. This historic location was most likely chosen to emphasize the dignity of his concession. This is a particularly smart move in light of his decision to take the high road and not drag the country through Florida 2000 all over again. Senator Ted Kennedy traveled from with Kerry from his home on Beacon Hill to the hall in downtown Boston. I'm not sure what to read into Kennedy's attendance, the easy analysis would be that their friendship and long-standing working relationship demands it, but my gut is telling me Kerry is starting to rehabilitate his reputation as a tried and true liberal. After running to the right of Bush on a couple of issues, Kerry needs to re-position himself to ensure a political future. This is yet another example of the blatant political maneuvering that he has shown in his career, as opposed to real leadership.

The opening of the event had the definite feeling that the staging was very forced and contrived, like most political events. Marching out his family at intervals which allow the crowd sufficient time to applaud them., ending with the Senator and his running-mate taking the stage to a warm and lengthy, yet slightly subdued welcome. After receiving the applause in his typical manner Senator Edwards began his statement.

He reassured the crowd that they will "fight for every vote" even though it won't change the outcome. The populist streak that is typical of Edwards and this campaign took a prominent place in the opening of Edwards'' speech. "John Kerry is a great American," he proclaimed to the biggest applause of the event so far. "This fight has just begun," said Edwards urging his supporters not to "walk away" from the process. "The battle rages on" is the cry of Edwards' speech, hitting every topic of their campaign. This is clearly a man whose political career is not done. Edwards pounds the "we can do better" line as he introduces Senator Kerry. Not much "concession" in Edwards' speech.

He opened by apologizing for "getting here a little late, and a little short." I think that was supposed to be a joke, but there was no laughter. Kerry states that the outcome should be "decided by the voters, not the courts", that is a classy move. Kerry concedes that Ohio cannot be won in any way by his campaign. His voice breaks slightly as he thanks the crowd, and all of his volunteers. He thanks his wife for several things, including her "candor". Honestly I think he could have done with a little less of it. He also extended his thanks to the Vietnam vets that defended him against the charges of damaging charges of his actions and words both during and after his time in Vietnam.

I must say, he is really good at the underdog rhetoric. He plays that card very well. You can definitely tell he is not enjoying himself, but he is doing a pretty good job at thanking his supporters, while conceding the race. His call to unity is specifically refreshing in light of the mud and junk we were drug through after the 2000 election by Al Gore. "America is in need of unity," he says. He also pledges to bridge the gap between the two parties. This campaign may be over, he says, but "not what we started." "America always moves forward."

It was a pretty good speech. I am sure glad he lost, but he did a good job of covering his tracks, so to speak. Hopefully the dignity and spirit of unity he demonstrated will rub off on some of his supporters.

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