Jan. 6 — Rep. Kucinich made some news during the NPR radio debate Tuesday, but not the kind candidates usually hope for. While chiding Gov. Dean for promising to balance the budget without making cuts in what Kucinich calls "the Pentagon's bloated budget," moderator Neal Conan pointed out that "Congressman Kucinich is holding up a pie chart, which is not truly effective on the radio." Kucinich responded, "Well, it's effective if Howard can see it."
Even slight ridicule can be good news for a campaign anxious for media attention, but the coverage gained from the event was not enough. Highly sensitive to the little amount of media coverage there's been of Kucinich in comparison to the top-tier candidates, and angry that NPR correspondent Mara Liasson had failed to mention Kucinich in her report Tuesday morning, the campaign sent out a release telling supporters to flood NPR's newsroom with emails and phone calls in protest, giving out the email addresses and phone numbers of everyone from the assistant producer to the correspondent herself.
AUSTIN, TEXAS, Jan. 4 — The phrase "Kucinich country" doesn't exactly evoke images of the deep heart of Texas, but the state's left-leaning capital city, where tie-dyed-colored bumpers stickers beseech residents to "Keep Austin Weird," did everything it could to change that with its enthusiastic reception of the peace candidate this weekend.
Kucinich had a child-like smile plastered on his face throughout the weekend, aglow with the gathering of his most famous endorsers for the campaign's largest fundraising push yet, and seemingly undeterred by the fact that his poll numbers are so stagnant that the latest Time/CNN survey didn't even bother to name him as a candidate.
Dinner and an auction kicked off the weekend Friday night, with items including signed Doobie Brothers posters, organic food baskets and a two-day course titled "Understanding Yourself and Others" (one attendee quipped loudly that someone should buy the course and give it to George W. Bush) bringing in about $300 apiece. But the main event was the sold-out, 1,600-seat benefit concert Saturday night headlined by Austin's favorite son Willie Nelson and "Queen of the Blues" Bonnie Raitt, with performances by former Doobie Brothers Michael McDonald and Pat Simmonds. Actor and '60s radical James Cromwell and "Dharma and Greg" actress Mimi Kennedy also made several appearances. Event organizer Suzanne Thompson told ABC News that the events, along with as yet uncalculated web donations, raked in approximately $100,000.
Kucinich got a little bit country during the concert, keeping his remarks brief but joining the performers onstage and the frenzied audience at the end for Nelson-led renditions of "I Saw the Light" and "This Little Light of Mine." And despite the cheers the legendary Nelson got for old favorites like "On the Road Again," he got the greatest applause for the anti-war ballad he penned Christmas Day titled "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth," in which he asks "How much oil is one human life worth?"