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POLITICAL RALLY Filmmaker brings 'Slacker' tour to YSU



Published: Fri, October 29, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Moore said entertainers set a good example by speaking out about the election.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Vince Gennaro's relatives should be expecting a call from him in the near future about the upcoming presidential election.

Gennaro, a 21-year-old junior at Youngstown State University, said attending Michael Moore's political rally Thursday at YSU's Kilcawley Center convinced him that he should urge his family to vote for U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

"After this, I'm going to talk to them, debate them about changing their minds" and not voting to re-elect President Bush, said Gennaro, a West Side native.

The hourlong rally was part of Moore's "Slacker Uprising Tour" of 60 cities in 20 battleground states leading up to Tuesday's election. About 800 people attended the rally inside Kilcawley, and many others watched on video screens outside. Nearly all of those at the rally were Kerry supporters.

Moore covered a variety of topics during the rally, including the war in Iraq, guns, similarities between Youngstown and his hometown of Flint, Mich., and campaign commercials. He repeatedly stressed the importance of voting for Kerry on Tuesday.

"How do these words sound: President Kerry?" Moore said, receiving an enthusiastic ovation from the crowd. "We can say the word president again and it will actually mean he was elected by the people."

Setting an example

At a press conference before the rally, Moore was asked why anyone would care what celebrities have to say about politics. He responded that celebrities such as musicians Bruce Springsteen and Mary J. Blige are setting an example for other Americans by speaking out about the election.

"They're good examples of how the people should behave in a democracy," he said.

Emily Rood, a 19-year-old senior from Orange Village near Cleveland, said she supported Kerry because she believed he would work to reform health care and provide health insurance to Americans. Rood is a premed major.

Senior Rean Thomas, 21, of Liberty, noted that she was disappointed with Bush's performance as president.

"We've given him his chance, and he hasn't done anything," Thomas said.

Jess Adkins, who described himself as a registered Republican, said he felt that Tuesday's election was about voting for the lesser of two evils.

"I don't like Kerry, but I dislike Bush even more," said Adkins, a 25-year-old sophomore from Youngstown. "I don't think I'd be represented under Bush."

Supporting Bush

Other Republicans, however, said they didn't share Adkins' opinions. Nick Spanos, an 18-year-old freshman from Warren and member of YSU's college Republicans, said that he agreed with Bush's morals and that he believed the president had improved the economy.

"I'm curious as to why that's not on the news every day," Spanos said. He carried a Bush-Cheney '04 sign outside Kilcawley before the rally.

Sophomore George Brown, 19, of Warren, a fellow college Republican who also carried a Bush-Cheney sign, added, "There's no doubt in my mind Bush deserves to be re-elected." He added that he supports Bush's efforts to protect the country.

Moore stressed that the rally was open to Republicans as well as Democrats. Before the rally, however, Moore's handlers changed his route to a press conference so that he would avoid about six pro-Bush demonstrators, including Brown. Moore also left the press conference through a back door, disappointing both the demonstrators and some Moore supporters who had gathered in the hallway seeking autographs.

The rally was sponsored by YSU's Center for Working-Class Studies and the Service Employees International Union.

hill@vindy.com




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