Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Davenport

Iowa Inaugural Ball at Davenport, Iowa on Jan. 20, 2009


Inaugural balls were not held just in Washington, D.C. on January 20th.

Charlotte McAdams at the Davenport Inaugural Ball.

In Davenport, Iowa, where Obama’s race for the presidency got its first big boost when he won the Iowa caucuses, several hundred Obama supporters gathered in formal dress to dine, dance and celebrate.

The event was held in the Davenport River Center, the very same venue that hosted Obama on December 28, 2007 at a rally attended by several hundred supporters, including Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, whose daughter worked for the Obama organization.


When I entered the River Center, I went to the press risers, where photographers and journalists from a Rockford (Illinois) paper were setting up, and I asked them, “Whose rallies are the most exciting, so far?”


They answered, in unison, “Obama’s.”

That night, Hillary Clinton appeared at the Figge Art Museum and John Edwards appeared at the IMAX Theater and Obama was in the River Center, traveling with General Merrill “Tony” McPeak of Oregon. I remember the excitement in the room, and I remembered the assessment of the press corps, which felt that his rallies were drawing the biggest crowds and creating the most excitement.


I raced across town to get to John Edwards’ rally at the IMAX Theater, and it was definitely less well attended and less spirited. I was still wearing my Obama Press Pass when posed with John Edwards. I remember saying, “Try to act like you’re having fun,” as our picture was snapped by a bystander. (Who knew that he really was?)

Returning to the River Center on Inauguration Night seemed fitting. It seemed right. It seemed as though I had come full circle, from seeing him for the first time in the River Center auditorium to celebrating this night in the River Center ballroom. I couldn’t be in Washington, D.C., but I could still dance the night away with kindred spirits and remember that this is where it all began. Without Iowa, Obama would not have won the nomination and, subsequently, the election. And I was there at the beginning and I was there at the end.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House (or) From “Fredhead” to “Deadhead”

Jeri Kehn Thompson and Me: Beret DayFred gives an autograph in Davenport, Iowa, on the campaign trail.

When Fred Thompson announced on Jay Leno’s “Tonight” show on June 12, 2007, that he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President, ending months of speculation, his prospects looked rosy. A March 29th Gallup-USA Today survey showed Thompson running third, just behind John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, among Republicans in the race. Thompson’s poll numbers in September were in the high 20s and low 30s. By the end of the year, his poll numbers had sunk to single digits.Fred possessed a commanding stage presence, that familiar air of gravitas, and built-in national recognition from his movie and television roles. He also had been Minority Counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, better known as the Watergate Committee, in 1973-74. Thompson was a lawyer and a former Senator from Tennessee, elected on November 8, 1994, to fill the unexpired portion of the term left vacant by Al Gore’s resignation. He was sworn in for his first term on 12/2/94.

Thompson was re-elected the Republican Senator from Tennessee in 1996. Responding to charges of “laziness” leveled against him throughout his career Thompson retorted in an article entitled “The Fred Express” in NewsMax magazine (September 2007 interview with John Fund, columnist for the Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com and The American Spectator): “That’s what they said about me before I ran for Senate the first time, and that’s what they said about me two years later, when I ran for re-election. I won the first time by 21 points, and by 25 points the second time. That was in a state that Bill Clinton carried twice. If you can do that while being lazy, I recommend it to everyone.”

What, exactly, happened, then, to the political Second Coming of Fred Thompson? Why didn’t his run for the roses, his political comeback, have a fairy tale ending?

There are several theories that help explain why, in Columbia, South Carolina on election night, Fred Thompson stood before his supporters for the final time, saying, “We will always be bound by a close bond because we have traveled a very special road, bound together for a very special purpose. We’ll always stand strong together, we’ll always stand strong together, and I can’t thank you enough for that.”

And, as the cartoon finale goes, “Th-th-th-that’s, all, Folks.”

Shortly thereafter, Thompson announced he was dropping his bid for the Presidency and, soon after that, he endorsed his old Senate colleague John McCain for the Republican nomination for the Presidency.

What went wrong?
(To be Continued)

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