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Biding reporters get no Biden time

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

One election is down and another one is yet to come and I have another artifact for my collection.

I don't have a lot of political stuff although I still have a Fred Harris for President button but I do have a Chris Asselin sponge. How appropriate is it that a leech on the public should try to influence people by giving them a sponge!

And now I have Ed O'Reilly's sports coat. It's hanging on my door waiting for someone to come pick it up.

Ed left it here after my last interview with him and never retrieved it. I have resisted going to through the pockets, but since no one has apparently seen getting it back as a priority I'll assume there isn't a wad of bills there.

I might look, though. Too bad it's not my size.

Ed, come by and get your jacket and I'll treat you to lunch.


Speaking of O'Reilly, he may have lost the fight, but I think he at least began a discussion that will be carried on by Jeff Beatty in the November election.

A little over 30 percent of the Democrats who voted showed their disinterest in Sen. John Kerry and if Kerry was smart he would try to learn from those folks, as I'm sure nearly everyone one of them will vote for Beatty even though he is a Republican.

For me, O'Reilly's ideas far outpaced Kerry's record. He was a guy who I thought would have been of great service to the Commonwealth and the nation.


Were you at the fundraiser for Sen. Joe Biden? There were two groups of people there: wealthy Democrats and livid reporters.

Ever bring a five-year-old to a toy store, tell him he can look but not get anything? Well, that's about what happened to the area press when they were told the Democratic vice presidential candidate came to our area and wasn't made available to the press.

One of my colleagues asked me, "What are we doing here?"

And John "Binky" Baibak of WHYN AM a morning person by profession wasn't too happy either.

Since one area official told me he was planning to bring Biden into Bax and O'Brien's Big Bonkin' Smoke event conducted at the same time at the Log Cabin I decided to pay my $70, eat myself into a stupor, grab some seegars and wait with my video camera in my pocket.

I didn't get any video, but I did have a great time. The official was apparently thwarted by the military-like precision of Biden's handlers, much less the Secret Service.

Considering the rock star status of Gov. Sarah Palin, I would have thought the Dems would have been wiser to have a public rally to energize the base here in Western Massachusetts followed by a fundraising meet and greet or dinner.

Having a 15-minute press conference would have been good, too.

Instead, the story the area press ran was pretty weak tea. That wasn't any good for the Democratic ticket.

I wish Biden had come into the Big Bonkin' Smoke. He might have had a better time himself.


Congratulations to the folks at the Valley Advocate on the publication's 35th anniversary.

The only reason I even tried getting writing gigs at the Valley Advocate was because I didn't like the snotty attitude of the upperclassmen who ran the UMass newspaper. "Why not try to get paid for a story?" I thought.

That was back in 1975 when I was a junior at UMass.

I think the first piece I did for them was an interview with then NBC newsman Edwin Newman, who had appeared at the Big E promoting his book on the proper use of the English language.

I wrote for them as a freelancer during several periods of my life. The pay was never great, but it was a professional credit. I worked for some decent hard-working editors and a couple of people whose names still set my teeth on edge.

Tom Vannah is doing a solid job and I hope they're around for another 35 years.

This column represents the opinions of its author. Send your comments to or to 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028.