ALBANY, Ga. -- The big red motor coach creaked to a halt along side Mike Keown's campaign headquarters on North Slappey Boulevard Tuesday.
As a crowd gathered around the "Fire Pelosi" bus, the door finally swung open and Keown, arms raised above his head, bounded down the steps and waded into the clapping multitude.
The red bus, with "Need a Job?' and "FIRE PELOSI!" emblazoned on each side, is a brainchild of the Republican National Committee. The goal is to visit 115 cities in all 48 contiguous states before the Nov. 2 general election.
According the firepelosibus.com website, the RNC has latched onto Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as the poster child for all that is wrong in Washington.
Keown, of Thomasville, is seeking to unseat nine-term U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, in November's District 2 congressional race.
"The RNC Pelosi bus tour hit the open road on September 15 and we won't quit cruising until we've kicked out-of-touch Democrats and their radical leaders out of power on election day, November 2nd," says the firepelosibus.com web site. "The bus will be watering and growing the grassroots groundswell that is brewing out in America, from sea to shining sea."
When asked why he thought the bus had made a stop in Albany, Bishop campaign spokesman Tim Turner issued this biting response: "The GOP came through Albany because the only way their candidate can move anything forward is on a bus. Their strategy is to throw anything against the wall and hope it sticks," Turner continued. "Congressman Bishop's record shows his vote belongs to the people of the Second District and has broken with his party on many important issues, like supporting the extension of the Bush tax cuts for all income levels."
RNC National Committeeman Alec Poitevint, a Bainbridge native, spoke to the crowd inside Keown's headquarters.
"I'm not running for office. Like many down here I make my living in agriculture," Poitevint said, "I haven't felt like I had a congressman I could call in the past 18 years. What we currently have is a congressman who is a follower and not a leader.
"I think it is quite obvious that we all need a change. We need someone who will be home with us on the weekends instead of in Washington doing the bidding of Nancy Pelosi."
Then it was the challenger's turn to chime in.
"He (Bishop) has denied it, but he has voted with Nancy Pelosi 97 percent of the time she's been the speaker," Keown said. "He says it's not true, but the Atlanta Journal Constitution did some fact-checking and it is true. When Obama Care passed I got a sinking feeling in my gut that our country is going in the wrong direction. This election is a defining moment in our country's history.
"The first step is getting rid of Nancy Pelosi and Sanford Bishop. We have to momentum and we're not going to give it up. We are going to work harder and keep the pedal to the floor and we are going to win in November."
The Bishop campaign agrees that Nov. 2 will be a defining moment in American history.
"It is a defining moment for sure," Turner said. "The voters will decide whether they want to move backwards with Mike Keown and the promised return to Bush era policies [Rep. Pete Session, Meet the Press, July 18th 2010] that nearly crippled the American economy or continue to move forward with Congressman Bishop.
"The deciding factor in this election will be the voters. They will decide whether to go with a continuation of Congressman Bishop's proven delivery for the people of the 2nd district or gamble that on the untested abilities of his opponent."