Thursday, January 17, 2008

Clemson, SC

What a day! I'm sitting in the front seat of our satellite truck across the street from Death Valley on the Clemson campus. My feet are freezing but most of the snow has melted.

We're here because Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee held an event with Chuck Norris and Ric Flair. 2500 students packed a small gym for the event holding Huckabee signs.

While our photographer, Mark Barger, was setting up for the event I went around back and was there when the Huckabee campaign bus arrived. As Huckabee walked up a dozen students were allowed to be out back and they begin immediately yelling for Chuck Norris and of course were yelling Whoooooooaaa at Ric Flair.

Inside a band was playing and Huckabee came out and played guitar with them on stage to 'Sweet Home Alabama'. The crowd went wild when Norris took the stage. It's clear he is a pop culture icon with these young students. It's hard to explain but it's not like these students really look up to him like they would Michael Jordan. It's sort of a joke but Norris embraces it and the students love him for it.

Ric Flair was a hit as well but he did not do his signature Whoooooooaaaa! Yes, we were all disappointed!

After the event, I ran around the back with my camera while Mark shot more video of the event. I was the only camera out back and Huckabee's staff allowed me to ask him a couple questions by myself. The former Arkansas Governor admitted most of the students were here to see Norris and Flair but he was okay with that and really did it to bring the students in. The two "stars" got students into the gym which was exactly what he wanted. At that point he had an audience of young students who could be vital independent undecided voters.

I'm just a reporter but I'd be willing to bet some of these students walked out planning to vote for him. He really did show an "older" guy can hang with the young crowd and can have some fun.

A student piped in during Huckabee's speech and the candidate stopped and went and talked with him in front of everyone on stage and made some jokes on the fly.

Norris got a huge round of applause when he introduced his long legged blonde wife. He then turned to the crowd and said 'Not bad huh?'. A great funny moment on the campaign trail.

I forgot to tell you all earlier too. I've been getting gas for $2.83 a gallon and my fast food combo meal was 30 cents less. See, I'm saving my employer money while working how about that!

Well, we have to finish our story and drive back to Columbia to put together tomorrow's episode of Political Connections (which airs Friday at 6, Sunday 11am).

If you haven't checked out my interview with Ron Paul it is right below this entry. To see all of our stories check out the show tomorrow or head to the politics section on

It's time for a drive-thru and a two hour drive so...until next time!

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