The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, September 11, 2004  

Former Vice President Visits Philadelphia for Hoeffel

Through the good offices of the Joe Hoeffel for Senate campaign, I attended a Hoeffel fundraiser Thursday night at the Wynham Franklin Plaza Hotel in Philadelphia.

Although the guest of honor and the recipient of the receipts from the fundraiser, Rep. Joe Hoffel (D-Pa.) could not attend due to an important vote in Washington -- on the Bush administration’s loony overtime rules -- attendees heard a rousing speech from Sen. Jon S. Corzine (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, his very presence and his excellent speech emphasizing the importance the Democratic Party attaches to Rep. Hoeffel’s campaign against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Sen. Corzine includes Rep. Hoeffel’s campaign as among those that could go the Democrats’ way.

Next up was the star of the evening: former Vice President Al Gore. Gore looks good: healthy, maybe a little grayer than before, energetic, and confident. After a sustained standing ovation, the vice president delivered an enthusiastic speech to an appreciative audience. Gore addressed every major issue facing the country today, criticizing, in rational and levelheaded language and manner, the faults and mistakes of the Bush administration. (One of his best lines: “I don’t want the Supreme Court choosing the next president and I don’t want George W. Bush choosing the next Supreme Court.”)

Sen. Specter wasn’t spared Vice President Gore’s criticism. His main contention, one with which I agree, is that the senior senator from Pennsylvania is no longer, to the extent he ever was (and on this point Vice President Gore is more generous than I), a “moderate” or an “independent voice,” let alone some kind of “maverick.” The audience, a partisan group of course, enjoyed every minute of it, interrupting the speech several times with long bouts of applause, a perfect accompaniment to the group’s consistent nodding of heads and whispers of “That’s right.”

Upon completing his speech, Vice President Gore received yet another, prolonged, and well-deserved standing ovation. He left the dais fairly quickly, making his way toward the ballroom exit, greeting future-senator Hoeffel’s supporters. After mispositioning myself not once, but twice, I briefly encountered blogger Duncan Black and his wife, and then moved to an excellent spot where I was able to meet Vice President Gore. Truth be told, we just shook hands and I offered a view words of thanks and encouragement. Black tried to get a picture, but the former vice president and I moved too quickly and Black was unable to capture the moment.

Rep. Hoeffel eventually made an appearance in the hotel lobby, but it was quite a while after the dinner had ended. The few of us still milling about at least managed to greet him with some display of our support, for which he seemed very appreciative.

It was a terrific evening: I met several very interesting people at my table, became even more enthusiastic about the Hoeffel campaign, and grew in my administration and respect for Al Gore. I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend.

Now, I know I’ve asked before, but allow me to do so (at least) once again. With fewer than 60 days until Election Day, Rep. Hoeffel needs your support. You can donate to the campaign by clicking here. Thanks for your help.

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