Governor defeated by Bush speaks at BAC | NevadaAppeal.com

Governor defeated by Bush speaks at BAC

PETER THOMPSON

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards speaks to John Kerry supporters at the Brewery Arts Center's Performance Hall in Carson City on Sunday.

Make no mistake, she may be as nonpartisan as anyone who once attributed George W. Bush’s lack of verbal articulation to his having been “born with a silver foot in his mouth,” But when it comes to speaking her mind, she is absolutely fearless.

“In 52 hours, we will have a new president,” announced former Texas governor Ann Richards, commanding a crowd of about 200 ardent Kerry supporters for a half-hour at the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall Sunday afternoon.

Even with a firm foothold on her early 70s, the verbal-jabbing firebrand seemed to flow with enough vigor and energy to throw lightning bolts, all of them irreverent, witty and not surpassingly, right at her longtime nemesis Bush.

Bush and Richards participated in a notoriously ugly race for governor in 1994. Bush won with, as Richards will quickly remind you, a $146,500 contribution from Enron’s executive energy goon Kenneth Lay.

Sporting a pink jacket and her iconic white hair, Richards dazzled the crowd with her spirited wit, comparing the incumbent president and his political career with what she called a “post” turtle, balancing precariously on top of a fence.

“Well,” said Richards. “Why a post turtle?”

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She paused for comic timing.

“Well, for one, you know he didn’t get up there by himself,” she said.

“You know he doesn’t belong there.”

“And he obviously doesn’t know what to do up there.”

Richards worked the audience, which seemed to be celebrating her every word.

And all in all, she said, “You just want to help the poor fool get down!” garnering the first of a handful of standing ovations.

Richards went on to criticize Bush’s No Child Left Behind pet project, noting that it was implemented in Texas during his years as governor. Since then, she said, the state has done exceedingly poor in standardized tests – dead last, in fact.

Next, she hit the War in Iraq with her personable blend of comedy and outright insult.

“George W. Bush lied to us about the reasons for going to war,” she said.

Then, comparing his pre-election 2000 sweet talk about Yucca Mountain to a man who says, “I’ll still love you in the morning” to a woman he wants to seduce, Richards implied, more or less, that Nevadans were, to put it delicately, “used.”

“Enough is enough,” she said, repeating the chorus several times during her diatribe.

Politics aside, Richards had some good advice for people voting on Tuesday.

“Bring an umbrella and a yard chair,” she said. “It’s going to be busy.”

“Maybe if the Bush camp had cared enough to send somebody up to Carson City during these last nine months,” began one audience member, sharing her story with Richards after the speech.

Contact reporter Peter Thompson at pthompson@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.