Monday, February 4, 2008

You were wrong, so shut yer yap and listen

(Hartford Courant photo)

Many of Connecticut's brilliant pundits predicted that the presidential candidates would never visit the state before Super Tuesday. Of course, Hillary Clinton was here last week, and again this morning, John McCain was here Sunday, and it would have been difficult to ignore Barack Obama's astonishing visit today with Ted Kennedy and his niece Caroline.

What was unpredictable, except to the prescient Obama campaign workers, was that he could fill the Civic Center (now the XL Center), beyond its capacity with 17,000 ecstatic supporters.

I had hoped to skip out of work early to attend, but it was a hectic day in which phone calls were interrupted by meetings, which were interrupted by deadlines. At 5:20 I hopped into the car and headed downtown. I had been listening to Colin McEnroe on WTIC-AM, who was himself amazed at the turnout and the energy. As I reached the intersection of the Whitehead Conlon Highway, McEnroe announced that the XL Center had reached its capacity and that the doors had been closed. At that moment, a police car, lights flashing, came down the highway, shut down the road, and the Obama motorcade passed.

I got on the highway, headed home, and continued to listen to WTIC. As I arrived home, Obama began to make his stump speech. Inside, I turned on the TV hoping to find the speech broadcast by one of the local TV news stations. Instead I found the low rent TV news reporters speaking over the speech, describing the crowds, and the dignitaries, but ignoring the candidate's words. Neither the local public radio station, nor any of the news stations was broadcasting the event. In the end, I pulled out an AM radio, and listened to the speech on WTIC-AM.

So while it's extremely difficult to listen to the conservative wingnuts on their airwaves, it's appropriate to acknowledge the public duty performed by WTIC-AM during the visits by presidential candidates today.

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