At the Shad Planking, however, I'd have to give it to Terry McAuliffe (please see photos on every other blog).
Anyway, here are a few quick observations from my first Shad:
1. I was prepared for a lot of signs, but the number of McAuliffe signs was amazing. I hope it helps him, because a McAuliffe staffer, after several beers, handed me the following updated Income Statement for the campaign:
RECEIPTS - 1Q09
Money raised $4,500,000
Cash on Hand as of 3/31 $2,300,000
74 Gazillion Signs $8,547,963
Airplane w/sign $ 3,000
CURRENT DEFICIT: ($6,250,963)
2. Several people mentioned to me that Creigh made a "mistake" by not attending. They were caught in the heat of the moment, and I could not disagree more. There was not a single undecided voter anywhere near the Shad Planking (unless, of course, teacherken attended), unlike the many voters Creigh met with today in southwest Virginia.
3. I felt a little sad for Brian Moran. His campaign seems to be losing steam and desire. It was one thing for Creigh not to have a presence at the Shad -- after all, he wasn't there. But, honestly, Brian Moran didn't seem to have one either, and he was there. He didn't bother with the sign war, and his supporters seemed neither out in force nor pumped up for their man, IMHO.
4. I saw George Allen, and boy, was I glad, The former Senator and I are about as far apart as two people could be on the political and ideological spectrum, but just knowing there was another person there who could not eat the chametz they were serving made me fell not so alone on this penultimate day of Passover.
5. For a guy whose ideology, particularly when it comes to social issues, is just slightly to the right of Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak, Bob McDonnell is pretty darn personable. This has me very concerned.
6. On the other hand, wherever McDonnell went at the Shad, he was followed by a legion of supporters holding signs bearing his name on sticks about eight feet in the air, and ready to shout down any random Democrat who might challenge their guy. Around this cordon was a gaggle of preppie looking guys all smoking large cigars, so that their cheap odor followed this strange procession wherever it wen, proving that McDonnell's campaign really does stink.
7. Here is a shot of Jim Gilmore waiting to use a port-0-john. Still a putz.
8. Had a brief chat with Terry McAuliffe. I'll say this for him: when he is talking to you, he is talking to you. I really felt like he was engaged in a one-on-one conversation with me. Among other things, I asked him about closing the gun show loophole, and his response was along the lines of "We have enough laws. We need to enforce them better," but he listened to my question, and gave a thoughtful answer, albeit one I don't agree with. Beyond that, I watched him deal with a WP reporter and with a guy in the crowd who insited on interrupting his time with the reporter, and he handled both very smoothly.
9. Chatted briefly with Steve Shannon. I know we are all caught up in the Gubernatorial primary, but we have a great candidate running for Attorney General, and Democrats seem poised to take this office for the first time in 20 years.
10. Picture of Terry McAuliffe giving his speech: