By Elise Franco
Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. spent four hours Saturday at Barnes & Noble here, signing books, posing for photos and chatting with several hundred supporters.
Stephanie Ottey, a Barnes & Noble saleswoman, said the store sold nearly 200 copies of Traficant’s book, “America’s Last Minuteman,” before 3 p.m. and began taking order forms from customers as they waited in line.
Ottey said the signing was the largest at the Boardman store in quite some time, and most people stood in line for an hour or more, waiting to meet and talk to the former congressman.
“Everyone was in such high spirits, and they’re all just really excited to see him and talk to him,” she said. “It’s unbelievable, the support they’re showing,” she said
Traficant’s book, published in January 2011, is a 1,200-page compilation of the one-minute speeches he was known for throughout his 17-year career.
“This book is all my speeches,” he said. “People still write to me and call me, and I talk to them” about topics addressed in the book.
Mike and Carissa Benchwick of Salem said they’ve gone through some of the book and find it to be an interesting read.
“He puts things into a perspective that the average person can understand,” Mike Benchwick said.
Carissa Benchwick said she likes his charismatic personality. “He’s not afraid to offend anyone, and I like that. He’s really the only politician I do like.”
J.R. Walker of East Liverpool said he came to meet Traficant in honor of his late father who knew the ex-congressman well.
“I wanted to tell him how much he meant to our family,” Walker said. “It’s an honor to meet him because it’s hard to find politicians who are truthful and honest like he is.”
Walker said he admired Traficant’s way of speaking that is reflected in the pages of his book.
“He speaks from the heart, and I admire that about him,” he said. “You either like him or hate him, and I think the crowd here today shows how many love him.”