-- cross-posted from mnblue.com

What a night.  The temperatures aren't bad, low 50s and its not raining.  Over 400 people gathered at the Plaza Verde ballroom on East Lake Street for a Midnight Madness rally.
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The place was pretty packed so I got Instant Runoff Voting stickers on everyone I could especially the folks who were going to go onstage.  A load of people spoke and more were recognized.  I wasn't taking notes ... I was mainly yelling, clapping and taking occasional pix.  Jorge Saavedra was emcee and St. Paul's mayor, Chris Coleman, led things off.  I think there was another speaker or two, but eventually the Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke.

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One thing is for certain, Jesse can work a crowd.  Just as Jesse began, Al Franken arrived and stepped onstage.  Here's the reason I came to the rally:  -- and no I don't mean the **ing soap bubble floating in the air that Jesse, Keith and Al appear to be looking at ... that's a smudge on my camera ... it's the three of them onstage ... Gawd ... do I have to explain everything to you ?????
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Jesse's theme was that there is a stink across America.  Tomorrow will be a new day.  That fould smell will be gone with the winds of change that will start blowing tomorrow.  Or something to that effect.  It's the Reverend Jesse Jackson ... I'm incapable of retelling much of what he said ... too powerful.

My man, Andy Luger, DFL-endorsed candidate for Hennepin County Attorney followed Jesse.  Kind of a hard act to follow, but Andy was succinct and all things considered, did a good job.
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Andy introduced Al Franken.
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Al's best line (that I hadn't heard already) was:

I heard Jesse doing his 'Keep.  Hope.  Alive.  Keep.  Hope.  Alive.'  And then I thought heard him say 'Keep.  Keith.  Alive.'  And I wondered if something bad had happened that I didn't know about ... I'm glad to see that Keith is still here and looking well.

Another good one was:

I once had to follow Jesse in Philadelphia at Arianna Huffington's Alernative Convention.  Following Jesse is tough.  How can you follow someone that good?  Only one man could.  That man was Stewart Smalley.  [makes Stewart Smalley face]  Now I don't know who that man was(pointing at Jesse), but wasn't he good?

Eventually, the Mayor of Minneapolis, RT Rybak spoke.  RT got to introduce Keith.  RT was effin' pumped.  He gave enough of a barn burner of a speech that Jesse leaned over after RT had handed the mike to Keith but before the cacophonous applause died, tapped RT on the shoulder and nodded his head to indicate he was impressed by his speech.

With the poll numbers indicating an Ellison landslide and less than 24 hours until the foregone conlusion is sanctified, Keith was partly pumped from the energy of the crowd, seemed partly relieved the shin kicking and punching (of him) were done and partly pooped from a brutal campaign.  He gave it his all which is what he's done all along.  He gave us images to envision what the new Congress with him in it will look like.

Looked pretty good at 9:30pm at night on Monday, November 6th, 2006.  G'nite.

Originally posted to The Big E on Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 09:44 PM PST.

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