Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Are they chanting 'Jerry' or 'Kerry'?


Jerry Springer springs up on convention's fringes

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BOSTON - So what if recent show topics have included "Hellraisin' Hillbillies," "Rampagin' Relatives" and "I'm Lovin' My Cousin?" TV show host and Ohio delegate Jerry Springer is a hit at the Democratic National Convention.

Delegates besiege him with requests for autographs and photos. TV networks can't get enough of him. He even got to give a speech - at the Ohio delegation breakfast.

Sharon Han, 20, of Cypress, Calif., who got her photo snapped with Springer, laughed at the suggestion that his presence might hurt Sen. John Kerry.

"Any sort of media attention is good," she said.

Even Republican consultant Frank Luntz, at the convention working for MSNBC, said Springer's presence would help Kerry.

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"The swing voters in America watch Jerry Springer. And they trust Jerry Springer," Luntz said.

The Foggy Goggle pub in Boston hung a giant banner, reading, "Meet Jerry Springer here Wednesday."

Springer said the adulation has been so effusive that at one point on the convention floor Monday he thought delegates were chanting his signature "Jerry! Jerry!" He looked behind to acknowledge them.

"It was Kerry! Kerry!" he said.

But Republican Party spokeswoman Heather Layman said Springer, like documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, is one of many delegates and guests who are on the political fringes.

"I think it is telling who John Kerry and the Democrats choose to associate with," she said. "It shows a variety of people who are outside the mainstream of America."

Springer - a former Cincinnati mayor and potential 2006 gubernatorial candidate who now lives in Cincinnati - told Ohio delegates Tuesday that the Democratic Party in their state "is coming back."

"We are the poster child for what the administration has done to the United States of America," he said.

Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe didn't seem eager to capitalize on Springer.

"I don't think one delegate helps or hurts," McAuliffe said.

[img]
Television host Jerry Springer rallys Democratic supporters during the Rock the Vote party in Boston Sunday.
(AP photo)
Humor columnist Dave Barry riffed on Springer in his column Tuesday, writing: "Jerry is an actual delegate to this convention; I watched him arrive at the Rock the Vote party, and I can report that his hair is now exactly the same color as the hair on Malibu Barbie. Jerry said something to the crowd, but I couldn't hear it, though I'm sure he's opposed to terrorism, and would, if he had a terrorist on his show, give him a very hard time."

Springer has dismissed his own show as silly and stupid, and he often makes himself the butt of jokes. On the "Today" show Tuesday, he joked with Katie Couric about a chair: "You'd better nail that down."

At mid-afternoon, Springer called into Bill Cunningham's radio talk show on Cincinnati's WLW. They chatted a bit about a possible run for governor. Then Cunningham steered the conversation into a high-volume debate on foreign policy when he accused former President Jimmy Carter, a Monday night speaker, of "kowtowing to the Ayatollah."

"Jimmy Carter is a decent, honorable man who has dedicated his life to making the planet better. We don't have to relive the election of 1980. Let it go," Springer said. "I'll tell you how long ago 1980 is. I was 'mayor.' "

---

Enquirer staff writer Gregory Korte contributed.




2004 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
Weiser: Are they chanting 'Jerry' or 'Kerry'?
Kerry portrayed as a hero
Text of Sen. Edward Kennedy's speech
Son of goat herder addresses Dems
Text of the keynote address by Barack Obama
Kucinich delegates weigh their choice
Even reruns beat politics
Convention notebook
Gannett News Service convention coverage
Enquirer's election section

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