FAIRFAX,Va. — Moved by the music,a “love train” of supporters gathered at George Mason University to “shout” praise for Sen. John Kerry who won the Virginia and Tennessee Democratic primaries Tuesday.
But contrary to lyrics asking the crowd to “shout,a little bit softer now,” the masses roared when a live feed from CNN announced Kerry’s victories.
Diane Greenlee,of Arlington,Va.,came with friends,including Debra Willen of Fairfax,Va.,and Willen’s daughter,Andrea Fullerton.
Having raised her own children in a “very political family,” Greenlee said the occasion marked 15-year-old Fullerton’s “initiation into politics.”
But Tuesday night was hardly an initiation for Kerry,a Vietnam War vet and Bostonian who has represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate since 1984.
“We may be a little bit older and we may be a little bit grayer,but we still know how to fight for our country,” Kerry told the crowd.
Attending a party open to the public,people filled a ground-level food court and second- and third-floor balconies of the university student center.
In addition to defending a woman’s right to choose,Kerry said he would stand up for “civil rights and civil liberties and for an attorney general whose name is not John Ashcroft.”
After his speech,some observers waited for photo-ops and a closer glimpse of what could be the next presidential family.
“Did he win,did he win today?” asked Eric Bartholomew,a 26-year-old English major after he got the autograph of Teresa Kerry,the candidate’s wife.
Having just gotten out of class,Bartholomew joined his own wife,Rachel Bartholomew,a 23-year-old psychology major,to support the candidate they agreed could “redefine the presidency” by the way Kerry connects with common people.
“If Kerry wins,this is going to be my shining moment,” Eric Bartholomew said of the signature he plans to frame on his wall alongside a photo of the senator. “His military service speaks for him. He’s a real president,just like (California Gov. Arnold) Schwarzenegger’s a real governor.”
Following with his camera,Steven Smith,a fourth-grade teacher at Dranesville Elementary in Reston,Va.,said he wanted to tell his students about the “potentially historic event.”
Although he only recently devoted his support to Kerry,Smith identified Kerry’s intelligence to get into Yale and his bravery to “fight in the war and then to protest it when he knew it was wrong” as reasons for his support.