As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or .
As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or .
As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or .
The “Miracle on the Hudson” plane is bound for a museum in Charlotte, North Carolina by road. Along the way it obviously will take many stops as the truck crews that helping move it obviously need their rest. Just so happens that the very first stop on its journey is 5 minutes from where I live.
The plane is literally parked on the side of River Road right across from the new entrance into Rutgers Stadium. You can walk right up to it and take a picture if you’d like. The street I live on has a “block party” every year and earlier in the day someone mentioned that a plane was at Rutgers. I had heard earlier in the day about the plane moving but I didn’t know Piscataway was one of the scheduled stops. So at 1 AM I strolled over there to snap a few pictures. If you want to see if the plane will be coming to a stop near you follow them on twitter.
As always you can leave a comment here, reach me by e-mail or .
The magical week for Jon Corzine continued Tuesday night at the College Avenue Gym. The place was rocking from the get go. There is no doubt about, this crowd was there for Bill Clinton. Everyone knew it and yes that includes all the other speakers there tonight.
The gates were supposed to open at 7:30 PM. I got there around 6:15 and by then there were already a couple of hundred people in line waiting to get in. Across the street were a grand total of 12 protesters who were hardly creative. Among the signs they were carrying were “No you can’t”. Really original there. There was a guy dressed as a chicken and holding a sign that said “Cluck U Corzine”.
The event was held at the College Avenue Gym at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The College Avenue Gym actually sits on the site of the stadium where the first ever college football game was played way back in 1869. The Scarlet Knights beat Princeton by a score of 6-4 on that day.
Members from the Corzine camp were giving out “Corzine/Weinberg” buttons and also t-shirts that said “Yes We can 2.0” I got my hands on a button but was not able to secure a T-Shirt. This one guy from the campaign did say he’d bring one over but passed by me twice saying “I’ll be right back” only to toss shirts to people directly behind me. Are you kidding me? Someone from the Corzine camp did get in touch with me via twitter and asked for my phone number. Just got a message from them claiming that they did have a shirt for me but didn’t see my reply with phone number until it was too late. I don’t know whether to believe them.
The evening started off with Middlesex County Democratic chair Joseph C. Spicuzzo. He was doing his best to bring humor to the event from the start. He speaks with a stutter, so he made sure to clarify for everyone that he wasn’t drunk but actually had a stroke last year. He was on the stage to introduce the President…………of Rutgers University Richard McCormack. Nice swerve which most of the crowd didn’t see coming. As expected it was a fairly young crowd and I’m sure it was the first political event for most of them. I’m sure a lot of them weren’t aware you have to sit through a ton of local politicians before the main event starts.
Honestly don’t remember much from Richard McCormack’s speech. I guess that pretty much says all there is to be said. He did talk about Bill Clinton making a trip to Rutgers University shortly after winning his first presidential election to make a policy speech. He also talked about Corzine being a friend of Rutgers University. Right around this time there was a loud “R…..U…..R……U” chant. That is a common chant at Rutgers football game where the student section yells “R!” and everyone else replies with “U!”. The chant inside this gym was about as loud as any of the recent Rutgers home games.
Three Freeholders were up next coming up one by one to announce support for Corzine and reminding everyone in New Jersey to vote “Column A” on November 3rd. Nothing out of the ordinary here either. Crowd was getting bored by this point. Carol Barrett in particular was really bad. She was literally reading her speech off of a paper and lost her place a couple of times leading to awkward pauses.
Up next was Dymir Arthur. He is a Rutgers graduate from the Class of ’09. He gave a really good speech urging the young voters in attendance to get out and vote. He emphasized that “us young people have more power then we realize.”
There was about 15-20 minute long break up next (might have even been longer). The crowd let it be known as to why they were there with a loud “We want Bill!” chant but were drowned out by the music being played. They were tossing a lot of Corzine T-Shirts into the crowd during this break too.
One thing I noticed was a disturbing lack of security. I asked a campaign worker and got to go through the entrance that people with the VIP “blue tickets” were taking. When I went through I was shocked to find out that only screening done was to check my ticket. There were no metal detectors at this entrance. There was no secret service or even local law enforcement officials checking you at this entrance. Me and plenty of other people just walked through by just showing our tickets. This is particularly depressing if you’ve read recent reports on how much the workload for the secret service has increased.
When the event resumed Mr. Spicuzzo was back at the podium. He gave a short biography of himself because he had failed to introduce himself earlier. He didn’t judge the crowd well at all. He started to talk about the newly expanded Rutgers Football Stadium. This got him some boos through the crowd. This stadium continues to be a sore subject with Rutgers students. For those not familiar with the situation, Rutgers Stadium just went through an expansion project which saw capacity rise by almost 12,000. The cost for the project was over $100 million. A lot of Corzine tied big donors had pledged to raise money for the project. When the time came though the recession forced most of those donors to back away leaving Rutgers University in a tough spot. The school ended up taking a large loan which obviously didn’t sit too well with the student body or some of the football season ticket holders as ticket prices soared while the team has taken a step back. This is a problem anywhere there is big time sports. People who don’t like sports will always have problems with big stadiums at a public university while tuitions are rising. They don’t like that the athletic department has such a large budget and that football and basketball head coaches make so much money. What they choose to ignore is that these sports bring in a lot of money for the school through merchandise, TV rights and ticket sales.
Our next speaker was State Senator Bob Smith. Found out a couple of days ago that he was my State Senator now that I live in Piscataway. He talked about knowing Hillary way back when they were both teens and his family had a summer cottage in Pennsylvania. He joked and said hopefully “President Clinton was listening backstage because if I had played my cards right I could have been a President.” The line got a huge applause and a “Hillary” chant. Turns out that this crowd loves both Bill and Hillary. Mr. Smith was out there to get introduce candidate for Lieutenant Governor Loretta Weinberg.
This is the first year New Jersey is having elections to elect a Lieutenant Governor as it is a newly created position. Weinberg isn’t the world’s greatest speaker and this is a big problem for the campaign that I will talk about below. Everyone knows that she wasn’t Corzine’s first pick but after the whole corruption episode was thrown into the spotlight.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I believe Jon Corzine is the man for the job right now. As Vice President Biden said yesterday he’s governed through some tough times well, he deserves a chance to govern as things get better. He kept his speech relatively short even joking that the people weren’t there for him but to see Bill Clinton. The Governor did talk about Loretta Weinberg being an advocate for women in Trenton. Corzine reminisced bout the Clinton years saying during those 8 years we “created 23 million new jobs.” He urged everyone to vote and to make sure you get others around you to vote. He referred to the infamous 2000 elections to emphasize the importance of every of every single vote. He said we would be a much different country if the Clinton/Gore policies had been around for the last 8 years.
Bill Clinton was simply Bill Clinton. He did what he does best, better then pretty much anyone else out there. The Corzine camp better turn this speech into a campaign commercial fast. They were way too slow with the Obama one in July. Bill pointed out Rutgers Womens Basketball Coach and Basketball Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer being in attendance adding that “Hillary is outside of the campus the world’s biggest fan” of Coach Stringer. The man knows his audience. Bill Clinton in 15 minutes made a better case for Jon Corzine then Jon Corzine has all summer. Now of course Mr. Clinton is a great public speaker and to be fair there aren’t many in the country who are even remotely close to him. Clinton put on his glasses for emphasis and started reading off some New Jersey related statistics that show the state at or the near the top in a lot of key categories. Graduation rate is among the best in the country, early education is not only alive and well it is diverse. Public schools are scoring good scores on tests. More and more children have healthcare. Bill makes sure to point out that he took Weinberg’s law from New Jersey that saw to it that new mothers and their babies stayed in the hospital for 48 hours when his administration set the federal guidelines. Bill Clinton has this aura to him. It was fascinating to see this crowd fired up for him. As Mike Memoli of “Real Clear Politics” pointed out, most of the students in attendance were in diapers when Bill Clinton first won election in 1992.
The best argument for Jon Corzine’s election unfortunately is being made by others. As Christina Bellantoni pointed out Corzine is becoming a “sidekick at own events.” It was the case back in July when President Obama came to campaign. It was true Monday when Vice President Joe Biden swung by the Garden State for a little campaigning. It most certainly was the case today as former President Bill Clinton fired up supporters at Rutgers University. Wednesday Barack Obama will do the job once more. It may not be the worst thing in the world if as Corzine is being overshadowed by big speakers that him and everyone around him continue to tie Christie to George W. Bush. It should be a slightly disturbing trend for the Corzine campaign and I’m pretty sure the Corzine people are aware of this.
Looking forward to heading out to the Barack Obama event tomorrow. If you have attended any on of these recent rallies or are heading out to one of the upcoming ones let me know.
I just got back from my trip to Orlando today at 4:30 AM but….I am not blogging about that just yet. I’ll try to do that tonight or tomorrow.
What I did today might be one better. I got a chance to attend my first political rally. Those who know me know how much I love politics but somehow I had never taken the opportunity to go to a rally or a protest. Well I finally put that to rest today. I should mention that I am not a NJ voter. I am not even an American voter. I was born and raised in Pakistan and then lived in Toronto, Canada and thus hold Canadian citizenship.
President Barack Obama was in New Jersey to campaign for Governor Jon Corzine. Despite every attempt by the unorganized Corzine team the event did turn out great. Little advice to the Governor’s team (and pretty much anyone else organizing an event of this scale….and involving the President of the United States)…..it might be a good idea to fill in the staff, security and volunteers about what is actually going on so they can keep the crowd under control and not create chaos.
The rally was originally supposed to take place at Rutgers University (more on that in a bit). Then they changed it to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. Some genius at the Corzine camp it turns out thought that it would be a great idea to not accept the RSVPs done by excited Obama fans like myself. What that created was just pure chaos.
I got there around 11 AM and that is when parking opened. I didn’t make it in to my seat until 2:30 PM. You do the math. It seemed like the staff and volunteers through no fault of their own were just winging it as they went along. I was in line at the will call window and just a few feet away when one of the volunteers looked at the RSVP I had in my hand and said that the piece of paper wasn’t good enough and would not help me get in. He directed me to another line. About half an hour later a different volunteer moved the entire line from one spot to one a decent distance away. Fair enough. If that helps the crowd control…so be it. But, just a little while later they moved the line AGAIN!. Then an actual paid employee of the campaign came up to us and said we could move over to the outdoor lawn area and watch on the big screen or stay in line for a shot at the tickets. I chose to stay in line. Along the way I met a wonderful couple who were in the same boat as me (I will edit in their names just as soon as I get in touch with them). The 3 of us and plenty of others decided to tough it out in the heat with the mindset that we had to get in. About 15 minutes later and about 50 yards away from the Secret Service checkpoint a member of the event staff announced that there were no more tickets and that we either had to watch from the lawn or go home. Keep in mind that a large chunk of those people had printed e-mails with their RSVP information. This couple got out and decided to head home. I decided to walk right around and take a shot. I got back into the line that was going to the security checkpoints. I got to the security checkpoint with the RSVP to be told that it was not good enough and I would have to go over to Will call. Yes, the same will call from which they moved me hours earlier. So I get back into line at will call and they tell me they don’t have me on their list and told me they couldn’t do anything for me. After a little arguing over the meaning of the term “RSVP” I decided to just go back home and watch on TV when I ran into the couple from earlier. They directed me to another member of the event staff who had what looked like hundreds of tickets in his hand. They had received two from him. I went up to the same man and without checking my RSVP or any ID he just asked me how many I needed. I was there by myself but requested 6 from him and got them. Four of them I was able to turn over really quickly to a family that had been in another line. The 5th one I ended up giving to this older woman (pictured below) who kept us entertained all through the wait process. How this woman had this energy in the heat and with all the chaos around us I’ll never know but she was drawing a crowd. The atmosphere in the lines was electric. Just random people all in the same boat and making instant connections. There were stories being told by those fortunate enough to be at the inauguration and then there were many like me who just soaked it all in for the first time.
I got in and was amazed by how awesome my seats were. I just could not believe that after all the frustrations of the day a seat that good was actually available to this event.
The crowd despite the long wait was into it from the start. Published reports put the crowd size at 17,500 and it definitely felt that way. The energy was just amazing. The place was loud and buzzing even before the main event. I got a chance to speak to Christina Bellantoni, White House correspondent for the Washington Times and she said this crowd reminded of her of the Obama’08 campaign. Corzine kept his speech short and sweet. I know he’s not exactly the most popular man in New Jersey but he is the right man for the job at this time. The economy is in shambles and I respect his background here. Depending on who you want to believe he probably was on the short list for Treasury Secretary.
I understand the uproar over the Rutgers University budget cuts but isn’t that pretty much a sign of the times? Some like me even speculated whether the switch in location had anything to do with a potential Rutgers student protest. The school has been facing funding cuts for years while tuition goes up but does anyone really expect that to change under Christie? People here complain about the University expanding the football stadium by 12,000 seats this summer as the program grows every year but fail to understand that a large chuck of that is money that the athletic department raised. Not to mention how much money the football program brings in for the school. The exposure the team has received nationally via ESPN has helped bring in more and more students to the school. The school will have a record high in enrollment next year. One thing the large chunk of this decade has shown is that Republican leadership just didn’t cut it. I want a Democratic governor, especially one with Corzine’s financial background working with Obama. I have lived in Central NJ since 2000. I think the infrastructure here has improved dramatically over the last couple of years.
What has Christie ever done that impresses people? What exactly is his resume? He was a US Attorney nominated by George W. Bush….that alone should be reason to not vote for him. Did you guys love him approving the tracking of people via their cellphone GPS? How about his dealings with Ashcroft?
What is up with the video message from Christie today?
Barack Obama was just phenomenal. The man can hold any crowd anywhere in the palm of his hands. Even little scripted details like him taking off his jacket on a really hot day come across as genuine. The energy he brings to the table is amazing. He gave a shout out to Mayor Cory Booker of Newark. Keep an eye out for him. This man will be a senator or governor from NJ someday. Really happy that I did take the opportunity to go today. To borrow a little phrase from the campaign he had the crowd “fired up and ready to go”. The ovation when he took the stage was just insane. There is no other way to describe it. That place was loud….about as loud as any outdoor facility can be. I really do hope he comes down here again this election cycle as it looks like we just maybe headed for a close election here. Just the announcement of him showing up got Corzine a 4 point bump in the polls and despite what some are saying he will get a major bump after this event.
I sat in a group that was pretty diverse. There were people who were old and young, black, brown, white…and everything in between. Looking around the section I was it just struck me right away how much the average person connects with Obama right away. I had these 2 guys sitting in front of me in a suit and tie who were fiddling around with their blackberries throughout the Obama speech while most of the other people spent most of the speech on their feet. Young and old alike.
People around the country should catch today’s speech too. The President covered his health care plan in detail.
Corzine will definitely benefit from the Obama appearance. Definitely helped him raise some money today. I fully expect Obama to be back in NJ before November. The buzz around the place today was that Michelle Obama is coming next month. Who is the big name Republican that Christie can counter with?
A change from previous campaigns….Corzine is actively seeking campaign funds.
Probably will add more to this later but for now….all I can is that it was an amazing experience that everyone should take part in.
From left to right….Me, some random guy, funny old woman (people just couldn’t stop taking pictures of that hat), and the people who helped me get my seats.
Yes, that is Jon Corzine carrying away Obama’s jacket when he took it off because of the heat. Completely made me think of that West Wing episode.
Me with Chritina Bellantoni of the Washington Times (who it turns out is a fellow 49ers fan)
Turns out that is Maureen Dowd of the Ny Times….appearantly she likes to show up to these things and hide.
The campaign has put up the speeches up on Youtube.
The entire stadium booed at the end of the play because everyone wanted a horse collar penalty called here. There was a replay from another angle on the stadium big screen and again the crowd booed. When you watch the ESPN Feed….you can see why there was no penalty on the play. Summaiyah found this for me…..wait…..what was Summaiyah doing on ESPN.com?
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Rutgers student section ticket allotment of 10,500 seats were distributed in just four hours Tuesday morning at the Student Ticket Gate at Rutgers Stadium. More than 1,000 Rutgers students camped out overnight outside Rutgers Stadium in anticipation of Tuesday morning’s student ticket distribution for Thursday night’s BIG EAST showdown between No. 14 Rutgers and No. 3 Louisville.
When ticket distribution commenced at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, the line had grown to over 5,000 students, stretching halfway around the stadium’s perimeter.
Head coach Greg Schiano greeted the students in line late Monday evening, handing out 50 pizzas to the enthusiastic supporters, igniting several Rutgers chants.
Students in possession of a student ticket to the game must also present a valid student identification card along with their student ticket to gain entry to the Thursday’s game. There will be no exceptions.