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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Whole Lotta Handlin' Goin' On

As the ice sculptures melted into the boiled shrimp and veggie platters, the crowd at Cedric Glover's post-election party waited...and waited...and waited. Instead of mingling at least briefly with supporters at the Clarion Hotel as early returns came in Tuesday night, Glover secluded himself in an upstairs room at the hotel with key campaign players after arriving from his campaign headquarters.

The semi-spontaneous buildup of anticipation -- fueled by a band that inserted Glover's name into familiar inspirational songs -- was made for TV. So were the sporadic chants of "Cedric!" and "We want the man!" that arose as Glover's lead solidified.

But the cliches of campaign coverage, like the concession call from the loser, remained out of public view. Loser Jerry Jones, to his credit, made the call under the glare of television lights.

At the Clarion, cameramen waited, somewhat desparately, outside ground floor elevator doors to perform the political equivalent of a perp walk. Others glanced at their watches or searched the crowd for colorful supporters to fill airtime until Glover appeared.

And when Glover appeared -- after the victory was certain -- he spent only about 20 minutes in the room, from the first hug with his mother until his last soundbite after a brief, insubstantial victory speech.

As the media waited to collect a few words from the history-making mayor-elect, Glover spokeswoman Markey Pierre hovered at his right hand, rushing them to finish. She signaled to hotel employees to cut a path through the well-wishers so she could hustle him from the dais to a service hall beside the ballroom, where he caught his breath while handlers fended off attempts to talk to him.


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