With everybody's post-primary-night hangovers firmly in check, U.S. Rep Alan Grayson – who now gleefully faces stodgy old woman-hater Daniel Webster in the November general election – made a strategic move toward strengthening his base: getting public endorsements from the region's power-ladies at an 11 a.m. "Women for Grayson" event held at his downtown headquarters today. Most notably, former Colorado congresswoman Pat Schroeder was in attendance (she now resides in Celebration), but she wasn't the only sassy brass to make an appearance. Former Orange County "mayor" Linda Chapin was there (she "loves" the Weekly, she said. Yay, us!), as were former Rollins president Rita Boornstein, State Rep. Geraldine Thompson and other local Dem-lady notables like Nancy Jacobson and Planned Parenthood head Sue Idtensohn (Orlando commissioner Daisy Lynum was scheduled to appear, but then again she always is... and doesn't).
"It's fun to be among friends," said Chapin in her introduction, adding that Grayson "would be perfect if he weren't so shy and retiring." Wink, wink. ("I'm a MALE!" Grayson heckled back.)
Schroeder, who introduced herself as a "recovering politician in the 12-step program," fawned a bit, too, allowing that "it's so wonderful to have people around the country know that you have a gutsy congressman."
That we do! Grayson delivered a considered speech on global inhumanity toward women (burkas, etc.) before pulling the gloves off to attack Webster's record on female issues, specifically that being a woman – or even a battered woman – was a "pre-existing condition" in Webster's nasty head, that Webster would have it that "women should not work outside the house." Then, in true Grayson-encyclopedic form, he called Webster "a man with a 19th Century name and 13th Century ideas." Score!
Cornered by reporters after his speech, Grayson continued his diatribe on Webster – he sucked the life out of the Republican primary, he's never going to win, that he is in fact dead – before one reporter, Louis Bolden of WKMG Channel 6 News, jumped in with the never-advisable tactic of calling Grayson's polemical barbarism out for making people "cringe." Seriously. The whole thing descended into a mess of whether "cringe" was a slanted word, whether that was a fair question, whether semantics are semantics here on this flat earth (honestly, it is a tired question, one that always appears at Grayson events, one with which we can actually sympathize with Grayson's frustration). Grayson's ugly side made it's regular appearance ("Are we off?" he gruffly asked the assembled camera crews before laying into Bolden some more). Standard hullabaloo, then.
We tried to ask Grayson a follow-up question specifically regarding the importance of this event, this initiative, something ON TOPIC, but he just rolled his eyes at us and turned away. Yep, still hates us.
Campaign manager Susannah Randolph did give us the goods on our softball, though, saying that "women are important in any election," and that this would just be the start on the campaign's getting the word out on Webster's anti-woman positions. Endorsements like that of Congresswoman Schroeder are important in getting thinking women engaged in what they may consider – and Grayson even said he considers – "a cakewalk" in November.
Now if Grayson could just stop throwing the cake so hard...
(Bad iPhone photo below including Schroeder and Chapin and Grayson... oh my!)