The Gravel Video Library, explained!

I just talked to Mike Gravel again a few minutes ago. The former U.S. Senator from Alaska, who spent Tuesday evening in Berkeley, got 6,606 votes Tuesday in California, finishing dead last – behind five candidates no longer in the race – with 0.16 percent of the vote. But the returns don’t interest him.

“I haven’t watched anything. That gives you an idea how much credence I put into the whole process,” he said.

I’d called him today to get an answer to a question I’d failed to ask when I saw him last night, a burning question I’m sure has haunted political wonks and YouTube junkies from coast to coast: What’s the deal with those bizarre campaign videos?

“The metaphor for the rock is very simple: You focus on something you want to do with your life, you go do it, you hope it has an effect on someone – that’s the ripples – and then you go off to your demise,” he told me. “Kids got this, young people got this metaphor in the heartbeat – it’s the super-duper big pundits who don’t understand it.”

OK, sorry.

Gravel said the metaphor for the campfire clip is that you go out into the world and collect wisdom (the firewood) and you kindle a fire with it to share light and heat with the rest of humanity.

And the bike-and-dog clip? “Don’t feel bad, I don’t think I get it still,” he admitted.

In fact, he said, he came up with the metaphors for the first two clips only after they’d been filmed by Matt and Gus, a pair of 24-year-olds from Los Angeles who’d convinced Gravel to take part in their film project.


The Gravel Video Library, Vol. 1

As I’d reported earlier, Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel will be in Berkeley tonight watching the Super Tuesday returns roll in. I’ll be going up to have a chat with him, hopefully both to blog tonight and for a story in tomorrow’s edition of the Trib.

Meanwhile, I thought we should document some of the more — ahem — creative Web campaigning we’ve seen in a while. Ladies and gentlemen, the Gravel collection:


Mike Gravel to spend election night in Berkeley

mike-gravel.jpgMike Gravel — the former U.S. Senator from Alaska and the only Democrat besides Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the ballot and still in tomorrow night’s race — will be at Spud’s Pizza, 3290 Adeline St. (at Alcatraz) in Berkeley.

It’s an open-house type event hosted by World Can’t Wait–Drive Out the Bush Regime activists; the candidate, who says he’s the only true progressive left now that John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich have dropped out, will be there from 6 to 9 p.m.

He’s around today, too: a 3 p.m. meet-and-greet at the Red Vic, 1665 Haight St. in San Francisco, and then a 6:30 p.m. address in the Xavier Room at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Hall, at Golden Gate and Parker avenues.


John Edwards withdraws, too

This just in from CNN:

edwards.jpgFormer Sen. John Edwards is dropping out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, CNN has learned.

Edwards has told top advisers about his decision. It is expected he will announce it at a speech in New Orleans, Louisiana, at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Edwards had amassed 26 delegates in the race for the Democratic nomination.

New Orleans is the same city in which Edwards declared his run to be the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee.

Edwards’ campaign Web site said he was to deliver an address on poverty and work on a Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans on Wednesday.

Edwards has trailed former first lady Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the early primaries, including a third-place finish in Tuesday’s Florida primary, with 14 percent of the votes. He also came in third in key races in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

An Edwards aide said that he does not plan to endorse either Clinton or Obama, at this time, but he may do so in the future.

And then there were two. Well, three if you count Mike Gravel.


Upcoming Bay Area political events


  • California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, has two Bay Area speaking engagements this Monday, Dec. 10. First, at 1 p.m., he’ll give a Harris Seminar Brown Bag Lunch Talk at Cal’s Institute of Governmental Studies, 119 Moses Hall, free and open to the public. Then, at 6 p.m., he’ll be part of the Commonwealth Club of California‘s panel discussion on immigrant health care; this’ll be in the club’s office on the second floor of 595 Market St. (at Second) in San Francisco, free for club members, $18 for nonmembers, $7 for students.
  • giuliani.jpgRepublican presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has a fundraising reception scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Woodside home of Woodside Hotels and Resorts CEO Katherine Alden — $1,500 per person, $2,300 per couple. Then, on Tuesday morning, he has a fundraising breakfast scheduled for 8 a.m. at the home of Behrman Capital managing partner Bill Matthes and his wife, Leigh, in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights; this one’s $2,300 a plate. RSVP for either to Jane Clark, 707-933-9000 or jlc@jlcsonoma.com.
  • senatorclinton.jpgBillionaire investor Warren Buffett hosts a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the San Francisco Hilton; it’s $100 for a limited number of students or those under 30, $250 for a regular ticket, $1,000 for preferred seating, and $2,300 for a VIP Lunch with Buffett and Clinton. A similar event that the Berkshire Hathaway chairman hosted in June in New York City reportedly raised about $1 million for Clinton.
  • gravel.jpgThe Commonwealth Club will host Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, at noon Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Le Petit Trianon Theater, 72 N. Fifth St. in San Jose; $10 for members, $20 for nonmembers. Says the club’s Web site: “From his advocacy for a universal health-care system to the support of a guest worker program, learn more about how Gravel plans to be the ‘Man for America.'”
  • romney.jpgRepublican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a fundraising double-header scheduled for Friday, Dec. 14.: first, a 12:30 p.m. luncheon at the Oakville home of vintner H. William Harlan and his wife, Deborah; then, a 5:30 p.m. reception at the San Francisco home of investment banker Michael Whitman and his wife, Sandra. Both events are $1,000 a head, $2,300 with a photo op; RSVP to Kristin Hueter at 510-420-1199.
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    Stay away from my kid, all of you.

    A recent telephone poll conducted by Parents magazine asked, among other things, which presidential candidates people would most likely trust and not trust to baby-sit their kids. And in yet another example of Hillary Clinton‘s ability to polarize the electorate, she topped both lists.

    “Which one of the 2008 presidential candidates would you trust most to babysit your children?”
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton: 26%
    • None: 19%
    Barack Obama: 13%
    • Don’t know: 12%
    Rudy Giuliani: 9%
    Fred Thompson: 6%
    John Edwards: 5%
    Mitt Romney: 5%
    John McCain: 4%
    • Refused: 2%

    “Which one of the 2008 presidential candidates would you trust least to babysit your children?”
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton: 25%
    • Don’t know: 19%
    • None: 13%
    • Rudy Giuliani: 13%
    • John McCain: 7%
    • Barack Obama: 6%
    • Fred Thompson: 6%
    • John Edwards: 5%
    • Mitt Romney: 4%
    • Refused: 2%

    What, no Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel or Ron Paul? C’mon, they’re not THAT scary. (Tom Tancredo, however: too scary.)

    The poll also found that more than 75% of parents say that the government is not doing enough to address the key problems that modern families face. This telephone survey was of about 1,000 parents of children under 12 found that “What Keeps Parents Up at Night” is a variety of issues, including affordable health care, lack of positive role models in the government and the media’s influence on children.