Tours of 2012
Ohio Tour '11-'12, Joe Back Roads Tour March - April '12
Ohio Summer '11- Spring '12
Ohio Summer 2011- Spring 2012
We spent the Summer working on an organic farm in Yorkshire, Ohio. We then moved to a house on Main Street (How's that for "populist"?) in Bluffton, Ohio (pop. 3,875), where I spent the Fall and Winter working, updating our website, and campaigning around the county -- and taking our kids to football and basketball practice and games.
Joe Back Roads Tour
March - April 2012
Joe Back Roads Tour March/April 2012
We launched from Ohio traveling south.
I was interviewed by the local ABC News affiliate in Lexington, Ky. The subject of smoking came up. I said some 20% of Americans still smoke and the health ramifications are extremely broad. Cancer, lung disease, problems with pregnancy... The Surgeon General, this year, is allowing for graphic pictures of people with, say, emphysema, black lung, and so on, to be put on the side of cigarette packs along with the text warnings. I said I was on board with that.
We stumped throughout Crestview, Florida, passing out campaign literature and getting our campaign vehicle fixed at Rocky's Garage on a dirt back road there. While Rocky was replacing the alternator, I was looking out for alligators. Another "back road to the White House" moment.
We then traveled south to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, where I was interviewed by the Northwest Signal newspaper there. The reporter said it was a military area, so what was my stance on the military? I said former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said by the year 2020, we still would have stealth fighters 20 times more sophisticated than the Chinese. I said that was "over-kill", and we needed to be cutting back on the military budget and funding other things.
We then traveled east to Destin, Florida, where we took the kids to the white sand beach there for some early evening swimming.
We drove to Panama City next, where we did a corner whistle-stop event. A reporter from Channel 7 News asked why I was running for president. I said I was a "concerned parent" and that society was getting nuts (abductions, shootings, escalating drugs, gangs, bullying, nuclear proliferation, global warming, abortion) to raise children in.
From Panama City, we went to Carrabelle, Florida, where I hung up campaign fliers around town. There are more bulletin boards per: capita here than in any town we've been to in the country. While in the area, I was also interviewed by the Apalachicola weekly newspaper. We also talked at length with a man who was a Ron Paul supporter and would be a delegate at the Republican Convention this year.
While in Carrabelle, we stayed at an RV park for a few days where the kids swam in the pool, did some fishing and watched some of the NCAA Finals at an outdoor pavilion each evening. Then we started heading back north.
In Tallahassee, we did a downtown whistle-stop event and got some bagels at the Metro-deli, where servers actually throw the bagels around like you were at a ballpark, or something. (Maybe someday soon I'll be called in to throw out the first bagel.)
Across the border in Georgia, we did another whistle-stop event in Thomasville where we ended up on the front page of the local newspaper and we were interviewed by a couple local television news stations. I said we'd just crossed the 50 million abortion mark in America. And by comparison, I continued, "...six million people were killed in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust."
We traveled further north to Moultrie, Georgia, where I informally stumped on the square there while Liz took the kids to the Three Crazy Bakers Bakery. On the square, I talked with a couple from New York who said the whole election thing was getting totally out of hand with, for instance, all the millions of dollars in Super PAC money. (Panama City's paper's headline about us was: Who Needs a Super PAC?)
From Moultrie we went to Albany where we were interviewed by another local TV station. While the reporter was interviewing our young son Jonathan, she asked him how he'd feel about living in the White House. He said when he travels he gets to see a lot of things, but living at the White House might be boring because"...all you'd basically see is: white." The reporter smiled. So did I.
In Albany, we also met with the staff at the Bread Basket Bakery. A Christian establishment, each bakery order comes with a Bible verse. And a good deal of the profit goes to fund a long-term halfway house for women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
From Albany, we went to Columbus, Georgia, where we did another whistle-stop event downtown. We were accompanied by a local, street performer bongo player. At one point, I started to dance to the beat, much to our teenagers chagrins'. Again, another couple television news stations did pieces on the event. We were doing it on Broadway and 11th St. When the 'corny', almost-First-Lady Liz was being interviewed, she said she had always wanted to be on "Broadway".
From Columbus, we went to a "Cruise-In" at Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Vintage cars galore, and 50's music playing from speakers on telephone poles up and down the main street there. We interviewed a man with a 1954 Champion Studebaker for a YouTube video. Then it was time to head home.
We stopped in Cleveland, Tennessee, where we met with a couple who described themselves as staunch conservatives. They said social issues were important to them, including stopping abortion. The woman said she had good reason for that stance. She'd been adopted.
In Williamsburg, Kentucky, we stopped at the College of the Cumberlands in the mountains of southern Kentucky. Our kids got in a spirited basketball game with some of the college students in an old intramural basketball gym. It was a great night. (Even better than the NCAA Finals.)
In Dry Ridge, Kentucky, I stumped at Java Joe's Coffee shop, including talking to Robin Bowers who has two daughters in the Marines. She said she was all for military cuts when it came to waste, but was not in favor of skimping when it came to providing all her daughters needed to, not only protect them, but also to protect us.
We then crossed over the Ohio line.
Home / and “Home Stretch” -- Summer and Fall 2012
After the last tour, which spanned some 2,000 miles, we came back to Bluffton, Ohio (pop. 3,875). I worked. I played basketball with our kids. I cut the grass. I put our Schriner for president yard sign in a more visible place in the front yard. I stumped around town, passing out buttons, putting up “Joe flyers” on the downtown bulletin boards, talking up the campaign to anyone who would listen...
Well, we asked our supporters to do that in their towns, so… And anyway, if you don’t carry Bluffton – you’re not going to carry the country!
Oh, and during this time, I also prepared for our final push through Ohio. I’ve also heard (oh, more than once) that if a presidential candidate doesn’t carry Ohio – they’re not going to win, period.
So in mid-August, I launched on yet another Buckeye Blitz Tour. The following are some vignettes from this campaigning:
I stumped at The Donut Shop in Huron, Ohio (on Lake Erie). The regulars pointed out – although it was hard to miss – a big walleye mounted on the wall: with a chocolate donut in its mouth. Bait.
Staying with my ‘eatery strategy,’ I stopped at the Wooly Bear Restaurant in Vermilion, Ohio, where I put up a flyer on the bulletin board (“Wooly bear” is slang for certain type of caterpillar.)
In Fremont, I talked with Scott Heidlebaugh, who is the Northwest Ohio Field Director for the “60 Plus Association.” He explained this is a consortium of lobbying groups for seniors.
I stumped at a Little League baseball game in Upper Sandusky, in between innings of course.
In Cavett, Ohio (pop. A cluster of 10 houses), I passed on a flyer to a guy standing in a front doorway. (What’s the bet by sundown everybody in Cavett knew I was there?)
In Paulding, I gave the owner of the Past Time Café a flyer and said it’s ‘About Time’ people voted for me. (And we’re doing this all without paid political consultants.)
In Paulding also… I talked with a cashier at the West End Market who had a degenerative disc, but was having a hard time getting Social Security for it. “I paid into it all these years,” she said. “Isn’t it my money?” Good question.
In Van Wert, I put up a flyer in Bailey’s Restaurant, which has a decidedly 50’s motif. I have also told the press, and anyone else who would listen, that we’d like to see America go back to the 50’s, in part. That is, back to a time where the pace of life was slower, the environment was much more wholesome for kids, and Norman Rockwell was big.
In Gomer, Ohio, I put up a flyer at Uncle Al’s Pizza and Market – and tried to resist the distinct urge to say: “Shazaam!”
In Kalida, I stumped at the Pioneer Days Festival.
In Ottawa, I passed out flyers to a group of people from the local Amvets Club. I then passed out some more campaign literature at a local McDonalds.
I put up a flyer at the market in Beaverdam.
At Benroth Body Shop, a few miles west of Beaverdam on Rte. 30, Todd Benroth said he believed if America goes in to protect another country – “…we should get paid.”
In Gallion, Ohio, I talked with Fr. Rober Hauss, who does mission work in Tanzania. He said the Albinos are hated there, and are regularly subject to rape, torture and murder.
In Bucyrus, Ohio, I sat in on a morning Bible Study at the Pelican Restaurant. The group was lamenting about how “dark” our country was getting. I said there was an answer – then passed out some campaign cards.
I attended a talk at Ohio Northern University by Sylvia Earle, an internationally known oceanographer. She sounded an alarm that the oceans are in peril with all the pollution, as well as now being massively over-fished. “If we wait too long, we’ll destroy them (the oceans),” she lamented.
In Ada, Ohio (home of the Wilson Football Factory – the factory here supplies the NFL), I met a woman whose husband had had a fatal heart attack in the middle of a sky diving jump in Xenia, Ohio. (The family subsequently did a joint sky diving jump, while sprinkling his ashes.)
In Alger, I stopped at a small town square. A plaque there to service people reads: “All gave some. Some gave all.”
While in Alger, I also talked to Mike Dye. He said it was his belief that there should have been a “time limit” on spending the government stimulus checks that had been mailed out a few years prior. That way the economy would have gotten the needed boost those checks were intended to give, he said.
In Uniopolis, Ohio (pop. 222), I put up a flyer on the bulletin board at the Post Office. What’s the chances everyone in Uniopolis knew I was there by that night?
In Wapakoneta, I talked with a local real estate appraiser who said that after the housing bubble burst, there was a lot of foreclosures in the area – and many of the homes are still empty.
At the Spring Street Coffee House in St. Mary’s, Ohio, owner Roger Beckett said he was a “moderate.” He said that means he’s a “realist” who believes in well considered, incremental fixes over time. He also said he’d like to see more representation in the U.S. Congress. That is, he said he’d like to see people from the Green Party, Libertarian Party, Constitution Party – like the demographics of various parliamentary governments – as opposed to a “winner take all” political mentality.
My last stop was Holgate, Ohio (pop. 800). A retired man was downtown painting rusted metal city light poles. The city wouldn’t paint them. Ohio Edison wouldn’t paint them. He'd called them both. So… he was painting them, himself, in light blue – his favorite color. I told him that he embodied the essence of our platform – then gave him a signed campaign card. Running as “Joe the Painter,” I was thinking about helping him. But there was only one brush.