Bob Prescott hunches over a white board covered in colorful political buttons and hollers out the messages they bear to the stream of people walking past: “Read my lipstick! Drill now! Friends don’t let friends vote Democrat!”
Then the sales pitch: “One for five, three for 10!”
He and his wife, Ellen, of Jacksonville, Fla., are semi-retired and have been trailing Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign for weeks selling buttons outside events.
Today, their shop was set up outside the Key Air Hangar at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport.
This stop was “a good one,” the Prescotts say. According to McCain’s Minnesota campaign office, more than 13,000 people turned out this afternoon to see McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
The political theater in and around the hangar today included a tunnel of a few dozen protesters outside the airport gate. Among the signs held by McCain opponents: “Hockey Dads Against Incompetence” and “Say No to Barbie and G.I. Joe.”
Inside the hangar, one group of supporters wore orange vests and white hardhats emblazoned with an outline of Alaska and the words “Drill Now, Pay Less.”
Much of the crowd had difficulty seeing or hearing the candidates, and a stream of people who couldn’t hear began leaving the hangar about halfway through Palin’s 15-minute speech.
Brodie Hackney, a medical office manager from Deephaven, couldn’t hear much, either, but it didn’t matter: “For me, it was more about the enthusiasm,” she said. “I love Sarah Palin and what she’s standing for.”
Ranee Holmboe, a commercial lender from St. Paul, said the candidates addressed all the topics she hoped they would, including the use of military force and policies on energy and economy.
At an earlier stop today in Green Bay, McCain also commented on the financial markets. Here is the text of his remarks.