Advertisement was responsible for bringing Michael Moore to the Palace Theatre on Saturday night, October 30. When I arrived to cover the event I was unexpectedly ushered to the basement for an impromptu press conference. When I entered the press room I was shocked to find that only one of the major media outlets in the biggest city in Ohio felt the need to send anyone to cover the event. With Cleveland polling very much toward Senator John Kerry and Cincinnati going for President George W. Bush, Columbus was believed by many to be the prize of the state.

The city of Columbus was thought to be the difference in the state of Ohio but also in the whole election. Certainly the pre-election thinking was that Kerry has no shot at winning the election without winning the buckeye state and Bush had a very slight chance to win the race without tallying Ohio in his wins column. You would think these facts would lead to a mad rush of media to cover a Michael Moore speech. However, the lone major television reporter at the press conference was Carol Luper. She works as a reporter for both ABC and Fox stations which share one news team. Whether you like Michael Moore or not, at the very least, you have to concede that he is newsworthy. Apparently that logic is at odds with the “think tanks” over at Columbus’ NBC and CBS affiliates who did not attend the press conference. So much for the much ballyhooed liberal media bias!

Moore, who grew up in Michigan, first spoke of helping out his neighbors to the south, “right now there are volunteers with video cameras in New York City loading up onto a bus getting ready to head to Ohio. I am bringing these volunteers to Ohio to document any irregularities which may occur.” When asked about whether or not Moore would be supplying people with video cameras to other states he said, “yes, I think we will have about 900 people volunteering to be in Florida…” then added a warning, “if (Ohio’s) Secretary of State Ken Blackwell or anyone else breaks the law in the polling places, we will be there to capture it on film!”

Furthermore, he added in his speech later that night that he would “wear a cap from The Ohio State University while he was in Michigan for a full year if Ohio went for Kerry!” For those of you not into sports and/or Ohio State-Michigan University lore, there is a long standing rivalry which is considered by many people to be the best rivalry in all of American sports. For Moore, a Michigan resident, to wear an Ohio State University cap in Michigan is akin to wearing a scarlet letter proclaiming himself as an outsider in his native land.

To help stoke the fires of the passionate crowd, actor Viggo Mortensen from the “Lord of the Rings” fame took the stage and opined for a few minutes.

Adding a more serious tone to the evening John H. Brown, a former Senior Foreign Service Officer who retired in protest of Bush’s Iraq policy and Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman, spoke for a brief period. In Brown’s resignation letter he stated that the president has failed to do the following:

• To explain clearly why our brave men and women in uniform should be ready to sacrifice their lives in a war on Iraq at this time;

• To lay out the full ramifications of this war, including the extent of innocent civilian casualties;

• To specify the economic costs of the war for ordinary Americans;

• To clarify how the war would help rid the world of terror; and

• To take international public opinion against the war into serious consideration.

Supplying the melody to the evening was rock band “The Goo Goo Dolls” from Buffalo, New York. Before they took the stage, I asked singer Johnny Rzeznik how he felt touring with Michael Moore. “Actually this is the first time we have ever met. We’ve only spoken on the phone before right now.” Moore chimed in, “Yea, I like their music a lot and they called me up and asked what they could do to help. I told them about this so they flew down here on their own dime to help out.” Later from the stage Rzeznik captured the essence of Michael Moore when he declared him “the most dangerous man in America!”

To end the evening the “most dangerous man in America” regained center stage and exhorted the crowd to go out into the highways and byways to compel people to enter the shelter of the voting booth. He called upon everyone to work as hard as they possibly could for the remaining 72 hours left in the presidential race. Then he assured the crowd that “we’re going to take back our country.”

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