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Political shoes

July 12, 2008 - Joselyn King
* Black tennis shoes with metallic trim. . . .

That's what governor Joe Manchin wore during his visit this week to Bethany College. He paired them with a pair of khakis and a sage green golf shirt. While casual, the look did still convey some professionalism.

But the significance? The staffers and others accompanying him still wore suits.

"Weren't they hot, too?" asked Heather Ziegler when I mentioned it to her.

I guess when you're the boss, you wear what you want. Just ask the president.

* Cowboy boots. . . .

That's what President George W. Bush wore during his campaign stops in the Ohio Valley in 2004 -- along with a long sleeve, blue, button-up shirt; dark jeans; and an elaborate silver belt buckle.

His staff , too, went with the business professional look. Of course, the secret service present were in dark suits, and likely had just a few accessories concealed.

* Black wedges.

That's what the female members of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's campaign staff wore during the Democratic presidential candidate's recent stop in Zanesville. It's a good choice when you're on your feet all day and still have to appear business-like.

A typical day for the Obama staff begins in Colorado Springs, Co. and ends in Washington D.C. with that stop in Zanesville somewhere in the middle.

The women wore heavy black pant suits with their wedges.

As for Obama? He also wore a suit and dress shoes. He's not the boss yet.

His Republican opponent, U.S. Sen. John McCain, was in Huntington this week. If he comes closer to the Ohio Valley, we will be able to note what he is wearing.

* Flip flops (ugh).

That's what many of the students at the Governor's Honors Academy -- the group Manchin addressed at Bethany this week -- were wearing for the occasion.

But those in charge were seen encouraging some fashionable behavior.

The students were told to turn off their cell phones before the governor's arrival. Shortly after, they received instructions to remove their hats.

"When the governor comes in, you stand up," one organizer said. "That's protocol."

* I didn't see his shoes, but he carried a big stick. . . .

Bishop Donald Pitts of the Laughlin Memorial Chapel has quite a way with the children who attend "Freedom School" at the church.

He couldn't help but notice that some of the youths weren't being as attentive as he felt they should have been to speakers at Friday's "National Day of Social Action" event at Heritage Port.

As soon as Pitts pulled himself up on his cane with finger in air, the children knew he meant business.

"Pastor Fran is speaking and you give her respect," he told them. He also made those sitting farther away come in closer to hear the messages being presented. It worked. The youths sat straight up and at the edge of the bleachers.

In his own remarks to them, Pitts told the children that when there is a barrier in their paths, "you have to go higher."

"You're doing great being here," he continued. "I'm proud of you."


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