Fortunately for me, I came home without a lab puppy...
I met Barkley at a food area of the fair where we had a fun conversation. Within minutes, Senator Norm Coleman had stopped by with his entourage and had a nice chat with us as well.
Tom asked Senator Coleman about campaign finance reform and how problematic big money in politics is. To his credit, Coleman sat intently and engaged in conversation...
We'll talk about Senator Coleman's campaign finance position or a lackthereof later!
Barkley moved his way from exhibit to exhibit throughout the fair. Stopping to talk to vendors and Game Fair attendees alike, the atmosphere was very open. People engaged Barkley at every stop.
We know that Coleman and Franken have great name recognition. It was interesting to see just how many people knew who Barkley was. Whether it was through radio interviews, press coverage, or his time spent in the US Senate, people knew who he was and were interested in talking.
One thing was clear through the 3 hours I spent at Game Fair yesterday. The atmosphere is ripe for change.
I was surprised at the number of people who identified themselves as "Independent". We spoke to many voters who voted Klobuchar-Pawlenty in 2006, and voted for Tim Penny and Jesse Ventura in the past.
They expressed a strong distrust in both Senator Coleman and Al Franken.
One gentleman offered the line of the day on both candidates.
On Norm Coleman: "I can't trust the guy. He opens his mouth, shows his fake smile, and could get busted by the DNR for shining deer".
On Al Franken: "If Al Franken is the answer to your question, you need to start asking a different question." He went into a 10 minute rant on Al Franken's tax situation, his worker's compensation problems and slew of other problems. He also commented that he had not seen Franken at the fair (he may have missed him).
I was also surprised at what people wanted to talk about at the fair. I had expected some discussion on wetlands preservation, gun rights, and other issues of outdoorsmen.
Health care was easily the topic of discussion. It makes sense now when I think about it. A lot of these small vendors are simply that, small businesses. It's becoming more and more difficult for small businesses to maintain health insurance coverage. It was astonishing seeing how many of these small business owners were going without any sort of coverage.
Most were not satisfied with Coleman's answers on health care. Most did not know Franken's position in the important issue.
Barkley made his case to voters yesterday and was impressive. It's tough to say whether or not the people are pissed off enough to choose a third party Independent candidate.
I can safely say though, my observation from Game Fair is that the atmosphere is ripe for change.