Saturday, October 30, 2004

[ ELECTION 2004 ]

Former Vice President Al Gore greeted supporters upon his arrival last night at a Democratic rally and concert at Farrington High School in Kalihi. Also making an appearance was Alexandra Kerry, daughter of Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

Gore fires up Dems

The former vice president and
Alexandra Kerry draw ovations
as they rally the troops against
a GOP scare

Former Vice President Al Gore fired up a standing-only crowd of more than 1,200 Democrats at a Kalihi rally last night, criticizing President Bush and saying polls that put Bush and Sen. John Kerry neck-and-neck in the islands mean Hawaii voters could decide the election.

"I encourage early voting to make sure that they have time to count your vote," Gore told attendees. "And this time around, Hawaii may very well have the deciding vote in picking the next president."

Gore was joined at the Farrington High School rally by Alexandra Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate's oldest daughter. Several Hawaii Democratic dignitaries also attended, including three former governors.

Both Gore and Alexandra Kerry made last-minute plans to come to the islands after recent media and internal campaign polls showed nearly half of registered voters in traditionally Democratic Hawaii were planning to vote for Bush.

The split has also lured Vice President Dick Cheney, who will speak to Republicans at the Hawaii Convention Center tomorrow night.

The tight Hawaii race has put into question how the state's four electoral votes will be cast. The Cheney visit will be the first time a candidate on the presidential ticket has visited the islands since Richard Nixon in 1960.

In a news conference before his speech, Gore said, "You have a Republican governor who's been trying to lift up votes."

He said it is rare to have Hawaii tied in a presidential election, but the closeness of the race means that "Hawaii will be heard much more loudly and more clearly than in any other election."

Alexandra Kerry, daughter of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry, shook hands with supporters upon arriving at last night's rally at Farrington High School.

In his speech, Gore mentioned Gen. Eric Shinseki's 2002 retirement, saying the Kauai native was shunned because he told Bush advisers a war in Iraq would require "hundreds of thousands of troops."

"That conflicted with the rose-colored lens that the Bush administration had," Gore said. "So they make an early announcement of Gen. Shinseki's retirement and kind of cut off his legs."

The former vice president wore lei and a traditional Filipino dress shirt to the event, which included a concert of local Filipino talent and was attended by many Filipino Americans. He also singled out Filipino veterans as "a group that has been treated unfairly" under the Bush administration.

"John Kerry has fought for the rights of all Filipino veterans," he continued.

Gore received a standing ovation and several long ovations during his speech, in which he also talked about the possibility that the next president could pick up to four U.S. Supreme Court justices.

"I don't want the Supreme Court to pick the next president," Gore said, referring to the 2000 election when he lost to Bush, "and I don't want this president to pick the next Supreme Court."

Alexandra Kerry, who preceded Gore, focused on education and other domestic policies.

"My father cares a great deal about your community," said Kerry, who told the crowd she was glad to be wearing a Hawaiian print dress after weeks of campaigning in colder climates.

Kerry's daughter will be sign-holding in front of Jarrett Intermediate School in Palolo this morning, and talking to children at a Boys & Girls Club.

Before Kerry and Gore arrived, hundreds of sign wavers lined North King Street.

"I don't usually do this," said Nancy Sager, of Kaneohe, as she held her sign up to commuters. "I think it's important that Kerry's elected."

"It's the most important election of my lifetime, and the first president I voted for was John F. Kennedy," said Mililani resident Joan Yoshina. "I'm totally against the war and I just think that Bush has failed in every area."

Dietra Myers Tremblay said she is one of many military spouses who oppose the Iraq war and the Bush administration.

"I really feel like our country's divided," she said. "Kerry absolutely has to be elected."

Kerry-Edwards campaign
Bush-Cheney campaign


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