Monday, July 02, 2007

Debate Day

Thursday, Debate Day, was the least exciting day for me last week because all of the Governor's staff was in town and I wasn't need any longer. I was told to help Mrs. R's Body Woman. I talked with Body Woman and she told me that I wasn't needed at all during Debate Day. Therefore, I focused on the grassroots rally we had planned later in the day.

Therefore at 11:30 when I got a phone call from Mr. Important, I was very surprised. I hold him Body Woman didn't need me and I was doing other things for the rally. He was cool with that and I went back to work.

I actually had a couple hours to myself because the next thing I needed to do was be up at the campus at 4:30 to meet the advance team. I showed up early and beat the advance team. So I waited by myself in the "War Room". It was just a classroom with an iMac, three long tables, a huge plasma screen TV and a speaker. When the teams did show up, I got them drinks and made sure they had everything they needed. Then I waited. A little later, I got everyone boxed lunches from catering for dinner. Then I waited. When folks were done, I got to find a trash can. Then I waited.

At 7:30 p.m. the Gov and Mrs. R arrived at Howard. Now Body Woman had told me that I wasn't needed, so I was still in the War Room waiting. Then Mr. Important called me extremely angry. He said one sentence, "Get over to the Hall!" and that was all.

Of course, my heart dropped into my stomach and I ran over to the Hall where I couldn't find anyone. Eventually I found Mr. Advance and he said, "Did you ever find Mr. Important? He was steaming!"

I replied, "Over what?"

"Because you weren't there to drive Body Woman's car," Mr. Advance explained.

"But Body Woman told me I wasn't needed. I would have been there if I was needed," I pleaded.

Mr. Advance smirked and said, "I don't think that will matter to Mr. Important."

You see, Mr. Important wanted me at the entrance to the Hall when the Gov and Mrs. R arrived so I could drive the car and Body Woman could walk Mrs. R to her seat. Body Woman thought that was way over the top, so she just drove the car to the parking spot and returned to Mrs. R about 2 minutes later.

Eventually I found Mr. Important and immediately launched into an explanation. He cut me short and said, "I know. Body Woman wanted to do her own thing and wouldn't return my phone calls today. I told you to do what she told you to do, so I can't blame you for her massive stubbornness and mistakes."

I swallowed hard and asked what I could do for him now. He extended his hand and said, "You did good work for us."

I took his handshake and thanked him for the chance to work with the campaign. He then said, "Go back to the War Room and help them out," and that's exactly what I did.

I got back to the War Room to wait until the 9:00 debate. The debate finally started and the Research Staff was ready to produce any rapid response needed. The campaign wanted to do a press release prior to the debate that we planned to raise $7 million for the 2nd quarter (about 1 million more than the first) so that it was included in all debate round ups. However, PBS and/or Howard closed down the spin room to campaigns from 8:30-10:30. Therefore, we didn't have much to do.

Except to watch the debate in war room with Campaign Manager, Communications Director, Media Consultant, and Research Staff.

We were generally pleased with the Governor's responses, especially his response that diversity isn't a talking point, it is his life. He did flub a question about AIDS, but the Communications Director and Media Consultant were quick to spin it. It was impressive to watch. They turned a flub into a solid talking point. The Governor said America needs more "needles" for AIDS reduction, but he should have said, "needle exchanges." The Media Consultant and Communications Director quickly turned to the Research Staff to pull up any info on needle exchanges in New Mexico while they talked about how to turn that into a win for the campaign. The talking points became that although he left out that one word, he was proposing something solid and had a record of increasing funding for needle exchanges, rather than other candidate's platitudes about "education".

Unfortunately for the campaign, the late start time meant print reporters had to file their reports quickly because we were near their 11:00 pm or midnight deadlines. There wasn't much spinning to be done because even the television was past prime time.

Back in the War Room we monitored DailyKos and MyDD for immediate feedback from the liberal blogosphere. Generally it was positive for the campaign, which is good because both of those sites don't like a Richardson campaign.

About 11:30, we cleaned up the room, brought some "top secret" papers with us to shred at the office, and went home at midnight.

It was a tiring day, but nothing like the previous two days. I slept in on Friday and didn't work very hard.

It was still great fun and I'd do it again.