This is from Charles Pierce, posted on Erik Alterman's MSNBC website. Compare it to Bush's behavior when he had to be shamed into coming out to see members of the Congressional Black Caucus who had demanded to see him.
"It occurred to me over the weekend that I haven't given a good reason why I will vote for John Kerry, and why I would vote for him even if he were running against, say, John McCain. (And even if McCain still had a political soul, which I've come to doubt.) Once, in Iowa, Kerry dropped in on a group of Vietnam veterans. Some of them liked him. Some of them didn't, largely because of the whole VVAW thing. (And, trust me, this was my first beat at the Boston Phoenix, and I discovered that the politics within the various Vietnam veteran's groups were desperate and bloody.) Kerry dismissed the staff, locked the door, blew off the rest of the schedule, and sat there and talked and argued with these guys until they were all exhausted. He wanted to talk to the people who disliked him more than he wanted to talk to anyone else. He gave them the respect of open debate.
Imagine the incumbent doing that. Imagine him sitting down in a room where half the people truly loathe him and everything he stands for, him and his ticket-only rallies, and his coddling staff, and his use of the Secret Service as cheap sidewalk bouncers. Imagine him hearing them out, debating them, giving them the respect of his knowledgeable disagreement. It is inconceivable. One can more easily imagine C-Plus Augustus's flapping his arms and flying to the top of the Washington Monument. Imagine that "character" is even at issue between these two men.
Somebody who was there in Iowa told me that story, and told me I couldn't use it, but that's too damn bad today. I am voting for John Kerry because it is a time for serious people who are strong enough in their heart to listen to anger and slander and calumny and to respond to it, not with the tinny bombast of an unearned office, and not with the cheesy legerdemain of concocted eminence, but with the strength to stay long enough to try to redeem it."