Thursday, September 20, 2007
Peterson Stumbles At HobNob Appearance With Ballard
Mayor Bart Peterson appeared anything but confident and reassuring at one of the rare joint appearances he has made this election year with his lesser-known GOP opponent, Greg Ballard. Tonight, Peterson and Ballard had the opportunity to address a gathering of more than five hundred at the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce's Hobnob With The Candidates at the Indiana State Museum.
Peterson spoke first. He immediately launched into his standard stump speech and appeared dazed and confused when the event moderator, WISH-TV's Jim Shella, interrupted him to tell him he was going to have to answer a few questions. None of the questions were tough and Peterson gave his predictable, canned responses to each of the questions. The most telling moment was when Shella asked Peterson why he was running for a third term. The Mayor's answer was quite weak and offered those present very little reason to give him another four years in office.
Expectations for Ballard were obviously much lower going into tonight's event. For many people present at tonight's event, it was the first time they heard Ballard speak before a large crowd. Ballard won't win any awards for oratory, but he gave a solid performance, exceeding most people's expectations. Shella pressed Ballard on when his campaign intends to air its own ads on radio and TV. Ballard assured the audience they would come in due course. He definitely proved tonight he can hold his own on the same stage with Peterson in the coming weeks when the two face off in debates. Jim Shella conceded to me afterwards that Ballard didn't stumble or make any mistakes, but he thought he needed to come out with something bold. Shella felt he failed to do that.
Many candidates for the City-County Council were on hand tonight, along with many other office-holders and candidates. I spoke to 5th District GOP candidate Dr. John McGoff, who is very upbeat about his campaign to unseat U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (R). Burton seems to be offering voters many reasons not to re-elect him to another term these days. Newly-appointed Councilor Andre Carson was on hand with many of his new-found colleagues at Cripe, one of the sponsors of tonight's event. Carson was being stalked the entire evening by frequent blog commenter Wilson Allen and his camera. It was hard not to miss Allen in his tattered "I ♥ Julia" T-shirt.
By the way, Peterson's favorite color is blue, while Ballard's is red. Just a silly question Shella threw out to each of the candidates tonight.