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#66: "I'm Clay Aiken, and I Approved This Message!"

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Another recap, this one from last night.

Here is my revised Charlotte recap. It can travel.

Recap - Charlotte fundraiser – April 8, 2014

I got a bunch of emails about this event, so I thought why not. I was worried about the weather, as it rained a lot yesterday. I do not like to drive in the dark or in the rain, much less both.

I stressed out over what to wear for more than a week. I finally decided to wear a dress, a nice short sleeved jacket, and heels. I like to dress up, but I almost always wear pants. This time I played it safe for Clay.

The weather turned out to be perfect, and if I hadn't made a wrong turn downtown (because of another driver – grrr) I would have gotten there much earlier. As it turned out, my GPS took me what seemed like all over the city and I wound up in horrible Charlotte rush hour gridlock. But I eventually got there and in plenty of time. Apparently Clay was stuck in traffic, too.

The house was enormous. And really beautiful. I thought I was at the Biltmore estate for a while.

They had some light hors d'oeuvres and a small table with a nice bartender who kept me well supplied with diet coke. I had a couple of good conversations with him. Said he worked a day job at Bank of America downtown. Cool. Right before we all left, he told me that we need people like Clay and that he hopes he wins.

I was greeted at the door by Britt or Brie or Brooke or whatever her name is that follows Clay around everywhere. She was nice, checked off my name, and gave me a nametag. (Later on in the evening, I asked her if she knew how many women were jealous of her job. She said she’d heard. Haha.)

Most of the meeting took place outside on the covered terrace. Very pleasant. The weather was cool but comfortable, and there was an outdoor fireplace burning. I got my drink and sat down on a sofa. I didn't know anyone but knew that we all had something in common. So I figured it wouldn’t take long to get the conversation started.

I was just sitting there quietly when suddenly the man himself just strode in. He looked so striking and handsome in his suit and purple striped tie. He had on some glorious boots. I took pictures of them. 

He shook hands with several people and then struck up a conversation with a group of men. One was a lawyer from Mooresville, which is not in the 2nd district. The lawyer seemed to be having a great time, though, and really enjoyed hearing what Clay had to say. One of the group was a businessman from Sanford, which is in the district. I was having a great time just listening to Clay talk politics and schmooze with these bigwigs.

The host came over and sat down and introduced himself to me. He was or is some kind of ambassador, and I was naturally very gracious to him. But, truth be told, I didn't give a flip because I wanted to watch Clay. Then a man whom I later learned was former NC Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti, who is one of the managers of Clay’s campaign, came over and started talking politics with me. I smiled and nodded as best I could, but I was still trying to watch Clay. I told him I was a big fan. 

Make no mistake about this!

I was not loud or obnoxious. I was not pushy. I was polite and friendly and calm and gracious and just thrilled with everything.

But.... I was not the least bit shy about telling people that I am one of those die hard uber fans who have followed this man all over the country.

You know how you can tell when people say something but don't really mean it? Well, none of these people did that. They all thought it was very, very cool that I was a fan. And they said so. Why wouldn't they think it was cool? They're certainly all fans now themselves.

Finally, Clay finished with the group and moved to another couple and talked with them for awhile. He was about eight feet from where I was sitting.

Then he walked over to two young women who were sitting across from me. I’m pretty sure they said they were fans. He said great. Then he took selfies with them. One of them posted her selfie on Twitter.

While he was chatting with them, I was talking with a man who was sitting next to me. I told him that I had met Clay several times, but almost all of the meetings were very brief. (You might remember the time Clay invited my mother and me backstage after the New Brunswick, NJ, Christmas show in 2007. That was our longest meeting, but I was too scared to say much, so Clay did most of the talking.) I told the man that I doubted Clay would remember me but we'd see. He said "Oh, I hope he does."

So then Clay turned around and walked over to me with his arms wide open and bent down and hugged me. I said, "I need to stand up." He said, "Oh, you don't have to stand." I said, "Oh, yes, I do. The better to hug you, my dear." And we hugged again.

At some point during the conversation, he took a selfie. I've had a lot of photos made with Clay, and I usually hate them. He looks good. I have a double chin. He looks good. I look fat. You get the idea.

But I love this one. Best one ever.

When he came toward me, I said something like, "Finally you remember me." I meant that finally he recognized me and knew who I was and I didn't have to tell him for the umpteenth time where I live, etc.

He said, "Oh, I saw you when I came in. I was getting to you." So I told him that wasn't what I meant and that it seemed like every time I met him I’d have to reintroduce myself. He said, “Really? Oh no, I know you.” How sweet.

So he turned to Mr. Conti next to him and told him how I had brought my mother in a wheelchair to all these concerts and galas and what not.

He asked when she had passed away and when was the last time she saw him.

We were chatting away like old pals. It was totally surreal.

I told him, "I heard you were in Asheville last week, and I didn't know about it until it was over." He said, "I didn't, either."

He's such a card, that one. I said, "You know just what to say."

I said, "I kept getting texts from people wanting to know if I'd gone to the event in Asheville, and I asked 'what event?'

He said the emails were targeted for certain areas, and I must have been in the Charlotte area.

I said I had gotten four of them.

He said, “And they meant them, too.”

I said, “Well, I got the message.”

I told him that I heard him ask the other guests what their professions were and wondered if he knew I was a retired teacher.

He said yes and then said "Elementary, right?"

I'm glad I didn't just burst out laughing because I seriously haven't a clue how to talk to anyone under the age of 15, but I just said, "No, I was a high school English teacher."

Then I told him I also had directed a lot of musical theater productions and now wanted to get back into doing that. I told him I have recently started a new community theater and that since I have no money I am now in the process of trying to raise some. I didn't have a business card with me, so he gave me his card!!! He said I could give him my card later. I looked at him quizzically, and he said "Well, you know I'll see you again at other things."

Huh?

I said something stupid like "Well, if you have other events and I can be there, I will." Well, duh.

So while I was on a roll, I just went for it. I asked him if he remembered how I told him that I was from Drexel, which used to be the home of the Drexel Heritage Furniture Company before they moved it to China. He said yes. I told him they tore down the factory and now it's a pile of rubble -- a real eyesore.

Then I told him that WHEN (not if) I win the lottery -- the big one -- the half a billion one -- that I plan to buy the property and build a performing arts center.

He had the self-restraint not to laugh (I know he wanted to) and said, "In Drexel?"

(Now I must interject that Drexel is a one-stoplight town. We used to have two when we had the furniture factory and the knitting mill. During rush hour -- aka "quittin' time" – we had so much traffic that no one could get anywhere without a stoplight or two. We lost one of the lights when the plants shut down, but we still have one. Truth be told, we don't need it, either. It just gets in our way.)

I responded to his quizzical look by saying, "Yes, of course. We'll be the Branson of western NC." Then I told him that I would include a professional theater and when he was tired of Washington he could come here and be in any play he chose. He said he'd do one better – that he'd OPEN for me. And then he held out his hand and we shook on it.

Then he reminded me that I have to win the lottery first. I told him he could count on it.

Hey, a girl's gotta have a plan just in case.

At one point, I said something about attending an event up north where I was the only Southerner. Mr. Conti asked if anyone could understand me, and Clay started talking about how he could understand everything on Honey Boo Boo and always wondered why there were subtitles.

I am flabbergasted. I've met Clay lots of times -- and I use the term "met" very loosely -- over the years, and I've never gotten more than a sentence out. And usually no matter what I said, he'd have some kind of snarky comment to make. (Not that I don't enjoy the occasional snarky comment.)

So I usually just didn’t say anything at all. But this was totally different. So different. He was so friendly and actually listened to what I was saying. I’m sure most of what I was saying sounded ridiculous to him, but he didn’t act like it. We just chatted and joked like a couple of friends.

The only other person there that I had ever heard of was Crystal Dempsey, who used to be the fashion writer for The Charlotte Observer. I have to confess that I went all fangirly over her. I used to love her column. I reminded her of the time she and Clay were at fashion week at the same time, but she didn't know he was there. She had written an article about going to fashion week, and I sent her an email with the photo and told her look who she missed. She answered me by saying what a shame she hadn't seen him. So when he came around and spoke to her tonight, she told him that she was at fashion week the same time he was, and he said something like "that was long time ago."

So I gave them talking points. Isn't that hilarious?

Then we all sat down for some speechmaking. The host spoke. Mr. Conti spoke. Then Clay spoke.

Clay talked about how he had taught special ed and gone to UNCC, how the foundation got started (people throwing checks onstage attached to various items of clothing – that got a laugh), and how he had made trips for UNICEF. He mentioned Afghanistan and Somalia and Uganda.

He wasn't looking at me, but if he had been, he would have seen me frantically texting my selfie to about a dozen people while he was speaking. I know it was wrong. I should have put down the phone and drunk in every word.

But, see, Clay -- if you're reading this -- I know all that stuff you were talking about. And I was listening. Seriously. I was. We fans are good at multi-tasking.

Before he left, he made the rounds again, gave me another hug, and thanked me for coming.

He then talked to a bunch of other people and took selfies with them. He was taking group selfies, and I was snapping pictures of him taking selfies. The last one was with the chef, the bartender, and the wait staff. Very cool.

After he left, I heard some of the people talking. They had no idea he had been a teacher or had started his own foundation or had been to places like Afghanistan.

They were very, very impressed with him and said he really had a good story and was appealing and smart.

I told some of them that I had attended many of the galas for his foundation and how impressive they were. They listened to me and said that was really good to know.

It was a great, great two hours.

And I have some advice. If you get a chance to go to a political fund raiser for Clay, pony up some cash and go. You'll never ever regret it. So much better than those meet and greet auction things.

Those people in that room gave him the respect that he deserves, and I was so glad to experience it.

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Loved meeting @ClayforNC at Harnett Democratic Convention. He cares about current issues #HarnettCounty #ncpol #NC02 pic.twitter.com/jTuGsr1qZD

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Also saw from another recap at CV that both Clay and Keith Crisco each will have a 15 minute interview on WRAL-TV. The recapper thought the date would be April 25.

ETA: The interview will be April 19.

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It's getting harder and harder to be a foreign fan. I keep telling myself he's happy so I should be happy too. I can get as far as "I'm happy FOR him". :tongue57:

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luckiest, I wish I knew what to say to you, other than I do understand. I understand it for ALL the fans who either don't like politics, or can't be involved somehow, or even those who really just want him to sing. This is a tough road for us as fans as much as it is a tough road for Clay as well.

It's just one of those life/crossroads things, you know? We all have them -- it's just that almost all of us never thought that we'd have to deal with this kind of choice over a fandom!

I think too that this whole thing is redefining what it means to be a fan. I've ALWAYS been of the opinion that if you are a "fan" of someone, there's a bit of a pedestal there. ALWAYS felt that way. Over the years, fans have discovered how high that pedestal is for each of them. Clay came crashing down on more than a few occasions! Having said that, being a "fan" of a politician does feel a bit weird, and yet, I'm enjoying watching this process. I'm learning a ton, and he really does seem to be having the time of his life.

I guess maybe the word "fan" should be retired -- and replaced with "follower?" That doesn't seem right either -- because as much Clay does make me say "how high?" when he asks me to jump, I'm not a sheep either.

I'm gonna have to look for a new word....

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Supporter? I fully support Clay in every endeavour, but on a daily basis, it's getting hard to come and read all the wonderful things he's doing that I can't be a part of. I guess now I know how those outside of North America have felt for the last 10 years. I will definitely still be here if and when he decides to entertain again outside of the political spectrum (someone might have to nudge me!) But for now I'm kind of checking out and following other interests. I think we are going to go on another Carribean cruise this fall. And, thank God, spring finally seems to have arrived in Ontario. I hope to be able to start prepping my gardens in a week or so. This weekend and all next week, I will be in Toronto with my mom while she undergoes knee replacement surgery.

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Clay's back in Raleigh -- he stopped by The Power of Play (National Inclusion Project) workshop.

B'nai B'rith Camp @BBCampOR

The photo evidence. #powerofplay2014 @includingkids pic.twitter.com/VG85ms9wbD

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awatson10

7 minutes ago

Just hanging out with Clay Aiken! #nobigdeal Met a new friend Judy too �� #powerofplay2014

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Nat'l Incl Project @includingkids

Our Co-founder @clayaiken stopped by to Thank ALL the #PowerofPlay2014 attendees! ow.ly/i/5cxaV #surprise

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WCPSS SES @WCPSS_SES

At the National Inclusion Project: Power of Play Conference with Clay Aiken. So Excited! pic.twitter.com/5UFdoiSD06

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CampFireGreenCountry ‏@CampFireTulsa 43m

Camp Fire camp staff at National Inclusion Project's Power of Play Conference with founder, Clay Aiken!... http://fb.me/34TBiNzG5

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WCPSS SES ‏@WCPSS_SES 28m

At the National Inclusion Project: Power of Play Conference with Carolyn Patton-Manley with Clay Aiken. pic.twitter.com/kXFMTLxRfc

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@TylerGibsonNC: @ClayForNC @clayaiken great to see you tonight! You will be a phenomenal Congressman. #ncpol http://t.co/lVQUa9ebIm

@DavidHWils: Had great time listening to @clayaiken @ClayForNC talk about why he's running for NC2. Thanks 4 the selfie! #ncpol http://t.co/Pe5OqKbrTM

@cdesouza39: ,@clayaiken (1/2)Pleasure to meet another Clay tonight ;) My mother's maiden name is Clayton and on behalf of the.. http://t.co/cdhHJwT95g

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@cdesouza39: ,@clayaiken (2/2) The entire Clayton clan family wishes you the best of luck in your Congressional race.

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I'll always been a fan but he left the entertainment field. He could have done anything in that field and I would have been excited. And he is happy running for Congress so I'm happy for him. And I definitely want him to win but it's because he's a democrat and that will make him happy. But he's run up against something in me that's been there for 20 years...my apathy for politics . Yes there are politicians that I respect but it's not hobby material for me. It's serious business. Maybe if he were running for mayor of san leandro that would be different. So going to a fund raiser to be up close and person with someone who doesn't plan to sing doesn't interest me and would never touch my 10 second meet and greet and autographed book. I've been to rallies and I've enjoyed them. I went to a Tibetan fund raiser where Clinton was the key note speaker (man that was fantastic night) but my company paid for the tickets at the Fairmont Hotel. I'm sure it cost a fortune. But I don't think I've ever handed over more than $10 at a time to a politician. And Clay's doing it the right way - you have to bombard your email list.. I gave about 10 dollars for every 100 emails I got from Obama LOL.

I know it's different and hard for all of us because I don't want to say anything to hurt any of my friends I've been celebrating and fanning with for all of these years but I can't really feign enthusiasm either. I'll be really happy if he wins. I will. But don't foresee myself being involved or planning to go to inaugurations or swearing ins or fund raisers or rallies since his district is 3000 miles away from where I live.

I can't think of the right word either Ladyj. And I think that's part of the problem. I have no problem with the word fan because I still do all the fan stuff I always did. Today I worked 7 - 7:30 and by 9 am I had my earphones on and Clay was one of the people singing to me in my ear today. I did my usual hit repeat on several songs of his, Today it was Because You Love Me, The Prayer and Something about us. And because of his catalog I will always be a fan. It will be there forever. Today I was listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye. I've been a fan of his since I was born and I still listen to his music with enthusiasm. That's what happens when you have a once in a lifetime voice. I wish Clay had gotten just a bit more credit for the kind of voice he has. but I will always treasure it.

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I will reply to a few of these posts later today. I also have to catch up on selfies! But that will have to wait until later today.

I do have another red recap, this one from last night:

Greensboro recap April 10 -- This recap may travel.

I spent the morning debating about whether I should go or not. I didn't have an "invitation" nor did I RSVP. This would make two of these events in three days. I wondered if I'd be "welcomed."

I couldn't think of a single reason not to go. As I mentioned earlier, Mama and I sat in the hot sun for 4 hours waiting for a good seat outside the Greensboro Coliseum the night Fantasia won. We just went for a glimpse of Clay.

We drove all over the country for the NAT and the JBT. Many, many shows. We drove up north in the cold snowy weather for 4 Christmas in the Heartland shows. I dragged my poor Mama and her wheelchair to NYC for Spamalot. I traveled to Maine this summer for Joseph.

Years ago, we drove for 2 days down and 2 days back to go to the Florida gala. We paid for silver tickets to gala after gala to spend 15 seconds with Clay and get a quick photo.

We stood for long periods of times in bus lines for a hand touch. Why, Mama Sweet even broke her hip while we were on the way to see Clay. Six weeks later I checked her out of the rehab center and took her to see Clay!

And those are just a few examples. I've done some pretty extreme things to see Clay.

C'mon! He's a couple of hours down the road. He's working the room. Snapping selfies. Giving out hugs. Calling you by your first name, for goodness sake!

What's wrong with you, woman! Go to this thing!

So I called the campaign office to check and to make a donation. No answer. I called back. No answer. Just voice mail messages.

I couldn't wait around any longer, so I just took my chances and left. Greensboro is about 100 miles east. I can take I-40 all the way.

But... I've pretty much given up driving on the interstate, especially I-40, where most folks, even the truck drivers, treat it like the Daytona 500. Me no likely.

So my GPS is set to "avoid highways." I put in the address and punched Go. It said it would take 4 1/2 hours and I would arrive at 6:38. Considering the event started at 5:30, that was not a good plan.

So I went part of the way on US 70 and then just got on I-40 and hung on. Only for you, Clay.

The event was held at the home of Bob Page and Dale Frederickson. Big, beautiful home. Gorgeous landscaping. Totally faboo. I would say this one is "new" money (like Gatsby), and the one the other night in Charlotte was "old" money (like Daisy and Tom).

My own home could best be described as "no" money, so I enjoyed visiting both homes. Tee hee.

The fund raising guys and gals were on the front porch. I told them I wasn't on the list. They said, "Who cares?" They wrote me out a name tag, told me where to send my contribution, and said "have fun."

A couple of really nice young men helped me up the stoop and got me a diet coke. I could learn to love this.

I was gawking so much at the beautiful house that I could barely make it to the terrace. The set up was much like the one in Charlotte. Hang out by the "bar" on the terrace, mix around, and wait for Clay to show up.

I got into a conversation with a nice woman. I'm sure she's a very important person. There were a lot of them there. But I have no idea who she really was. Anyway, I told her I was a fan, and she thought that was great. Whenever she needed to know something like "how old is Clay?" she turned to me.

I guess I was helpful. Sort of like a Clay dictionary.

I told this woman that Clay would think I was crazy to be there again like this. She said no politician thinks it's crazy when people show up multiple times. They like it.

Well, we'll see.

A few minutes later, the man of the hour arrived and walked from the door of the house onto the terrace. He made a swift glance around the crowd, presumably looking for people he knew.

He looked right at me and pointed and then made a funny what-the-hell face. The woman I was talking with said too bad I didn't get it on video. I looked at Clay and mouthed "I'm sorry" two times.

A few minutes later, the blonde girl who was with him -- Michelle -- she must be the one who keeps him on schedule (she wasn't there in Charlotte) -- came over to me and said. "Clay says he saw you in Charlotte." I explained to her why I was there.

I mean, why not?

Clay immediately started working the room. There were a lot of people there. All ages. Lots of young people. Local politicians. (I was introduced to the mayor and her two teen daughters.) There were guys in suits, but mostly the dress -- and the vibe -- were more casual than in Charlotte.

I was told they expected about 75 people. I'd say maybe 50-60 showed up. But it was crowded.

An older man had a camera and was taking pictures of people. He spent some time talking to me about how "genuine" he things Clay is. He first saw him at the human rights conference and really liked him. He went on and on. No argument from me.

So Clay came over and stood next to Michelle and I told him I couldn't think of any reason not to come, that many people online had told me come and tell him that they (make that you) would like to attend and wanted him to know how much support he has.

Maybe I'm just projecting, but it sure looked like he thought I was a little crazy. But I'm not. And he needs to accept that. LOL

Someone (Michelle? The photographer?) said something about how I had come to see him again. Clay said something like "she's travelled all over the place seeing me." He didn't sound like he thought that was wonderful, but he didn't sound like he hated it, either. So it was ok.

So the man with the camera says he wants to take our picture. I hastily find a place to put my purse and drink and Clay puts his arm around me. I decide to go for it and just put my arms around him. Why not? He was there.

Clay tells the photographer that I've never had my picture made with him before. The photographer says something I didn't hear and then says, "Oh, you're being facetious."

I said, "I've had my picture made with him lots of times, and most of the time I look terrible. But the one he took the other night is great!"

Clay says, "And this one will be good also."

Snap. That's it.

The people are starting to line up to talk to him. They were all smiling. So he starts to talk to someone else, and I'm standing there with my business card in my hand waiting.

When they finish, I say "Here's my card. Now I'm going to get out of your way." I didn't get a chance to tell him we were contemplating mass lottery purchases.

He put the card in the inside pocket of his suit coat. Then he said something that ended with "know how to get in touch with you."

It sounded not serious. It didn't sound like he was planning to get in touch with me. Why would he? But it was ok.

So the rest of the time, I walked around and talked with different people. They were all excited about Clay and his candidacy. They think he'll surely win the primary, and most of them think he has a really good chance of being elected.

A lot of them were candidates for this or that themselves, so when they found out I didn't live in their districts, they moved on. It was kinda funny.

After about an hour, we all moved from the terrace to the living room. Bob got up and said we are now going to watch Clay's announcement video, which we did.

I took some pictures of the people watching it. They were really, really watching it. And they were obviously impressed.

Then Bob introduced Clay, and Clay spoke for 17 minutes. Pretty much the same speech as Charlotte.

But this time I recorded it on audio with my iPhone. All of it. I didn't get video because I didn't think Clay would like it. And I didn't want to attract attention to myself.

The people were really enjoying his words. They laughed at the right times and applauded some. One time someone even cheered out loud. I wanted to say, "That's the way I cheer when Clay sings "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day." But of course I didn't say anything. :hideTMCHA:

See? I know how to behave.

After the speech, we were dismissed, and people started coming up to Clay to talk to him. He was taking selfies all over the place. Single selfies. Group selfies. I just stood and watched. And took pictures. Some nice people came over and talked to me.

Clay is very entertaining when he interacts with people. I remember thinking about how he's so often said how much he hates crowds and tries to avoid them. Well, this was a crowd, and he was working them big time.

Once again, it was so nice to see a group of people giving this man the respect he deserves.

Finally, he headed out the door, so I needed to go. I thanked Bob the host and walked to my car. Clay and Michelle and Brice (the fund-raiser girl) got in a pretty Lincoln. Clay was driving. They drove off down the street.

Time for me to pick up some snacks and face I-40 again.

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LOTS of pics to catch up!

This one is of Clay and Aron (from the Project) at the Power of Play Conference yesterday:

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From the DC thing on Wednesday:

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He really does look statesmanly (it is so a word........if only in my mind) in the pic of him and Aron.

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Couchie, you are just like me! Being a fan, for want of another word, is really difficult. I follow the tweets because he is fun to look at and I will continue to bring them but it's only so long as I can ignore the political stuff! Ha ha! I feel that he is where he wants to be. Someone once said that they had not left the Republican Party but the party had left them. That's kind of how I feel. I have not left him but he has left me. I sincerely wish him well but I also wish that he had not followed this path. Note I did not say choose because I honestly think this is in his heart so there was no choosing.

If he wins I will cheer for him and continue to follow his career from a distance but with a heavy heart. He will be going where I cannot follow.

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Pulling the Cook Report, because it is a subscription

Instead....

newsobserver.com Under the Dome

Cook Report Gives Clay Aiken Breathing Room

Cook Report gives Clay Aiken breathing room

Posted by Craig Jarvis on April 11, 2014

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers still has a lock on re-election – but ….

That’s the analysis by the authoritative and nonpartisan Cook Political Report in a long piece published Friday about Clay Aiken’s chances of an upset.

For reasons laid out in detail in the article, The Cook Report “as a precaution” has moved the 2nd Congressional District seat from “solid Republican” to “likely Republican.”

Daylight for Aiken comes after the Report sat down with him and came away impressed with his grasp of the issues, passion and sense of political realism.

Ellmers’ district has been gerrymandered to further bolster a GOP candidate. But that could work against her, the Report says: Most of the redrawn district is new to Ellmers, a Republican from Dunn, and more people recognize the pop singer’s name than they do hers.

There’s always a chance that the North Carolina legislature’s swing to the hard right could bring a backlash from those who think differently about education and voting rights, the article says. And Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election machine could turn out Democratic voters beneficial to Aiken.

All that and more – big missteps by Ellmers, for example – would have to line up in Aiken’s favor. “He needs a perfect storm like we’ve rarely seen to beat Ellmers,” the Report concludes.

The piece barely mentions Aiken’s other obstacle: He still has a Democratic primary to survive against a rival who is expected to be well-financed. The Report says he shouldn’t have much trouble defeating Keith Crisco, and being a celebrity, he shouldn’t have trouble raising enough money.

Still, the analysis goes, Ellmers is “the overwhelming favorite to win.”

Read more here: http://www.newsobser...ml#storylink=cp

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@ClayForNC: The Cook Political Report has shifted #nc02 away from solid Republican because of @clayaiken and you!

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I knew there was a reason I loved this board, even though at this point we are really small in number. luckiest, couchie and merrieeee, I totally get where you're coming from, and you're right -- having him leave the entertainment business for politics is a difficult thing. Politics are so very polarizing, and frankly, not many politicians sing. *g*

I guess in my case, I've had a passing interest in politics since 1992 -- the year Bill Clinton was elected. That changed everything for me, and I felt like politics were real, because he was more of my generation. Now, with Obama being my age (!), I really try to identify with the way he is trying to do things. (couchie, for the record -- I've never contributed to his campaign though, even with all those emails. Clay? I've given $15 so far. Hee.)

So, I'm adjusting to this change in Clay's career. Frankly, I think I'm learning a lot by this process -- I understand the whole idea of gerrymandering much more thoroughly, just as an example.

I do think merrieee is right though -- this was in his heart from an early age, and he had to at least try this. I think that article I posted above says an awful lot about his desire for this -- not to mention his smarts. (Note that he was working on this almost a year ago at this point...)

I know it's different and hard for all of us because I don't want to say anything to hurt any of my friends I've been celebrating and fanning with for all of these years but I can't really feign enthusiasm either. I'll be really happy if he wins. I will. But don't foresee myself being involved or planning to go to inaugurations or swearing ins or fund raisers or rallies since his district is 3000 miles away from where I live.

Two things on this. First of all -- I would make the trip, except that I'll do it for when he becomes President of the United States! Now, maybe he doesn't have THAT grand of ambitions, but I do believe that if he loses this year, he'll try again, and start working his way up the political ladder. If he does run for President, he WILL be representing me, and I'd go in a heartbeat.

Secondly -- well, you know, my finances are finally taking a breather from me not doing all that Clay traveling! So I won't be trying to attend a fundraiser in NC for him as a candidate from NC. That wouldn't be right in my eyes. (If for some reason, though -- he comes to Chicago -- I might try it. I don't think he will, but who the hell knows at this point!)

I can't think of the right word either Ladyj. And I think that's part of the problem. I have no problem with the word fan because I still do all the fan stuff I always did. Today I worked 7 - 7:30 and by 9 am I had my earphones on and Clay was one of the people singing to me in my ear today. I did my usual hit repeat on several songs of his, Today it was Because You Love Me, The Prayer and Something about us. And because of his catalog I will always be a fan. It will be there forever. Today I was listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye. I've been a fan of his since I was born and I still listen to his music with enthusiasm. That's what happens when you have a once in a lifetime voice. I wish Clay had gotten just a bit more credit for the kind of voice he has. but I will always treasure it.

I think you make a VERY good point here, and it's something that I've seen on other boards that's confounded me a bit. They'll find a piece of clack -- and start bawling because he's not going to be singing for them anymore. Sure, that's rough -- but there's tons of clack out there, much of it unseen by most of us. And just because he's not singing any more TODAY doesn't mean we can't enjoy the songs and stories we already have.

{{{{{{{{{FCA}}}}}}}}}}}}}

ETA: his tweet is referring to that article I posted from today.

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An email from Gene Conti

Friends,

We are excited to announce that the Cook Political Report just moved the NC 2nd Congressional District out of the “solid Republican” column. That’s because of Clay — and you.

This is big news for our campaign. The Cook Political Report is a premier authority on congressional races. The New York Times called the Report "a newsletter that both parties regard as authoritative."

When they move a district from one column to another, it's because they see significant changes in the dynamics of a race. It's clear Clay has changed the dynamic here in our district.

Yes, the Report acknowledged, the district has been “heavily gerrymandered” to help the incumbent. But it added:

“In an hour-long interview in our offices, Aiken was not only polished and poised, but relaxed, free-wheeling, persuasive, and politically realistic. He spoke passionately and fluently on a range of issues, from trade promotion authority to No Child Left Behind to continuous coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate."

The article's author credited Clay for his "policy depth." And he said, "those tempted to label Democrat and 2003 American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken a clueless celebrity wandering blindly onto the political scene should think again."

The experts are taking notice in Clay and our campaign. Will you give $10, $25, $50, or whatever amount you can afford today to help us carry our momentum forward?

This campaign is going to continue to surprise the political establishment. Clay isn't your typical candidate. He's a true advocate for the people of the 2nd District, and he's tough enough to take on Washington. With your help, we can win this election.

Yours,

Gene Conti

Senior Adviser

Clay Aiken for North Carolina

PS - Chip in $10 today to help us win: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/5234590141888069632

Paid for by Clay Aiken for North Carolina

Clay for North Carolina

PO Box 3809

Cary NC 27519-3809 United States

If you believe you received this message in error or wish to no longer receive email from us, please unsubscribe.

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I agree about still being able to enjoy Clay the singer and entertainer. And there is a hell of a lot of clack that I have yet to watch so lots of pleasant surprises are still waiting for me. I do want Clay to eventually go back to being primarily an entertainer, and work in his politics and social causes, but for now I'm just going with the flow and enjoying the respect and attention he has been getting.

Unlike Couchie though, Clay has actually reawakened an interest in politics. I had really enjoyed a college class I had taken that was about the history of our democracy and the issues that our founding fathers had thought about. It really made me appreciate our founding fathers because they had thought of all these issues that are still so relevant. Then over the years, when Clay would bring up issues, it would make me more interested. And then when the tea party machine, along with the Koch brothers came along, I really got interested because I became afraid our country was being taken over by the crazy people or being bought by the rich, greedy bastards. Scared the crap out of me so I am definitely paying more attention now.

ldyj, I think Clinton was a big influence on me too. I see that same charisma and intelligence that he has when I watch and listen to Clay. And then when we had both Hillary and Obama running in the same election, I got even more into the whole political thing. I admire both of them and would have been happy no matter who won, although I have to say that I became disappointed in Hillary's campaign after they started losing. I did get a chance to listen to her once though when she was at the campus I was going to. She had Chelsea with her and I was really impressed with her.

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It disturbs me that I even know what "gerrymandering" means. I sure didn't a month ago. Anyways, I agree that we are rich with a wealth of clack and thank God for that! I still listen to Clay every day (the addiction to the voice hasn't stopped). I hope to hear it live again one day (and not for $2000 a head either).

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