NEW YORK, Dec. 2 — Perhaps it was the sleek, modern art-filled loft office space overlooking Bryant Park where he gave a speech to supporters, complete with multiple reporters competing to get their questions in with cameras flashing (usually only ABC News and perhaps local outlets are represented at similarly sized events).
Or maybe it was the cocktail reception honoring the Cornerstone Campaign, a group dedicated to warning the public about genetically engineered food, full of well-heeled New Yorkers who came to hear him speak at the swanky downtown restaurant Blue Hill.
Or it could have been the primetime stop at local cable channel New York 1's funky Chelsea offices for his interview on "Inside City Hall," where he brushed shoulders with Manhattan political heavyweights Ed Koch and Al D'Amato.
Whatever it was, Rep. Kucinich had a smile on his face as he took a bite out of the Big Apple Tuesday. For a brief moment the campaign took on the more mainstream feel of the operations his top-tier rivals are running as the Congressman wooed New York voters, quite a contrast to the hippie vibe that permeates most Kucinich events elsewhere in the country.
Flanked by local labor leaders at his speech at the "Just Voices" studio in midtown, Kucinich (whose hair was mussed with parts sticking straight up after delivering an impassioned speech on Iraq) tried to deflect attention from the fact that many of the major unions had endorsed Gephardt and Dean over him, despite his having the most labor-friendly policies by far with his plans to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and to provide universal health care.
At a press conference after the event Kucinich told ABC News sarcastically, "It's a real credit to [Gephardt and Dean] that notwithstanding their being for the WTO and against universal health care, they still got the endorsements." But Kucinich, refusing to say whether he was passed over because of a perceived lack of electability, made a point to refer to those endorsements as the results of decisions made by labor leaders and not the rank and file, whom he insists support him and his platform wholeheartedly.
CLEVELAND, OHIO, DEC. 1 — Kucinich was in a confident and bubbly mood at events in his hometown of Cleveland Monday, including a fundraiser attended by everyone from the guy who's printed Kucinich's election materials for all of his campaigns to the signature A-team, a group of diehard senior citizens who have been volunteering for Kucinich since he was mayor. At the event, Kucinich spoke from atop a chair and implored the enthusiastic crowd to work toward winning the Ohio primary, not exactly a sure thing for the four-term Congressman. One can tell he enjoys being surrounded by those who have known and supported him throughout his career, despite its many pitfalls. One such friend is John Ryan, the executive secretary of the Cleveland AFL-CIO, who has known Kucinich his entire political life.