Senate hopeful Alvin Greene makes debut

July 19, 2010

The political unknown who stunned South Carolina and the nation by winning the state’s Democratic Senate primary produced headlines again on Sunday.

Alvin Greene made what’s believed to be his first campaign appearance — ever — speaking to an audience in his hometown of Manning, South Carolina. Greene attracted an audience of about 300 people and national media eager to hear what he had to say.

As far as anyone knows, Greene did not make any speeches during the primary campaign. And, except for a few interviews, the unemployed Army veteran, has had little to say since his surprise win last month.

Greene, who faces veteran Republican Jim DeMint in the Nov. 2 mid-term elections, may be a political novice but his debut speech hit all the right campaign notes.

He talked about the need for jobs and the need to improve education, referred to the Republican incumbent as “my opponent,” and declared himself the best man for the job.

The speech was “short on time and short on specifics,” according to a CNN reporter who said it was slated to run 20 minutes, but was clocked at 7 minutes.

Greene got a polite reception at the event hosted by the local chapter of the NAACP. Two audience members told CNN they wanted to see for themselves what the candidate was about because they didn’t think he had gotten a “fair shake” in the media.

There were questions about how a jobless man could come up with the more than $10,000 filing fee to get on the state ballot.

South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, a Democrat, suggested Greene was a Republican plant. Republicans, in turn, accused Democrats of being unfair to a political newcomer.

Lifelong Manning resident Jerry Johnson raised issue with the “condescending” tone of questions directed at Greene during a CNN interview just after the primary election.  Johnson conceded the candidate is a man “shrouded in mystery” but thinks people still want to hear his message.

“He did lift a veil today,” Johnson said. He left open the question of who will get his vote in November.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Joel Page (Ooutside a polling location in Portland, Maine, Nov. 3, 2009)

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