By Jesse Lewis
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Filmmaker Michael Moore addresses a crowd of over 14,500 last night at McKale Center. Moore made the stop in Tucson as part of his 60-city "Slacker Uprising Tour."
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Filmmaker Michael Moore urged a crowd of 14,500 to defeat Bush in the November election and sponsor Sen. John Kerry for his position on issues like education and minimum wage last night.
A sold-out McKale Center welcomed "Fahrenheit 9/11" director Moore with a standing ovation. The UA was the 22nd college on his 60-city "Slacker Uprising Tour" and had the largest turnout on Moore's tour to date, he said.
Moore urged the 50 percent of Americans who didn't vote in the last election to go to the polls on Nov. 2.
"I'm trying to get those non-voters and slackers to come out and vote," Moore said. "You may say that you're not interested in politics, but politics is interested in you and it wants to make your life miserable."
The $27,500 Moore received for his appearance was generated solely from ticket sales and went toward tour costs, including funding the filming of the tour, a rented airplane and 12-person crew, Moore said.
KEVIN KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Michael Moore fields questions from reporters prior to his speech at McKale Center last night.
"None of us are making any money... 100 percent of the money is going to stop people like (Hardy and the NRA)," Moore said.
Small groups in the crowd constantly heckled Moore during his speech, and he took it lightheartedly at first, using it as an opportunity to sarcastically respond to their political views, until it became so disruptive he told them directly to stop.
"Four more years? They are off by four years, it's only three more weeks," Moore said.
Moore commented on the fact that they wouldn't stop yelling, no matter what he said, even when he gave them 60 seconds to get the chants out of their systems.
"It's like AM radio and the Fox News Channel, all day long all they do is scream," he said.
The hecklers toned down about 45 minutes into Moore's speech, only after several groups were ushered out of the stadium by security.
The Dean of Students formally warned some groups and some people were escorted from the stadium because they were so disruptive, said Allistair Chapman, ASUA president.
"That's fine outside, but inside, freedom of speech only goes so far before it's disruptive," Chapman said.
Much of Moore's speech focused on bashing republicans, partly in response to the hecklers.
"I thought (the republicans) were immature and I don't think democrats would go to their speakers and do that," said Madeline Froning, a political science senior.
Moore said his next project will be a film on healthcare, HMOs and pharmaceutical companies.
The pharmaceutical company Pfizer, maker of Viagra, sent out a top-secret memo to its employees telling them to avoid Moore. The company set up a Michael Moore hotline and Moore gave out the number to the McKale audience, encouraging them to call.
"Give Pfizer a call tomorrow and maybe you'll get a rise out of them," he said.
Linda Ronstadt, singer and Tucson native, made a special appearance to advocate Moore and Kerry.
Ronstadt, who dedicated a Las Vegas performance of her song "Desperado" to Moore, said she loves his movies and they have had a positive impact on her politically split family.
"My republican brother is not voting for George Bush, he's voting for John Kerry... and recommending "Fahrenheit 9/11" to all his republican friends," Ronstadt said.
Moore read a letter from Nicholas Frye, an Arizona resident and soldier in Iraq, who said he read Moore's book, "Dude Where's My Country," in three days.
"Which is fast for an enlisted soldier who was educated by the Arizona public school system," Frye wrote.
Frye apologized in the letter for booing Moore during his acceptance speech while watching the Academy Awards after he realized Moore's comments were true.
Moore said he told the soldier he did not need to apologize and that he didn't deserve to be lied to, especially by his commander-in-chief.
Moore saluted "slackers" by giving out ramen noodles and new underwear to those who didn't vote in the last election but vowed to vote this year.
While Moore was distributing the items a man stepped into the aisle, dropped his pants and turned around to face the crowd.
Police arrested the man for indecent exposure and disturbing the peace of an educational institution.
"Even if you're crazy, you can vote in America," Moore said as the man was escorted from the building.
July Kelley, a biochemistry junior, said many people don't feel the repercussions of the Bush administration because they are not directly connected to the war in Iraq.
"I'm voting for Kerry because my husband is in the military and I'd rather have someone be careful with a war that my husband may fight," Kelley said.
Lauren Bortolotti, a political science senior, said she thought the speech started slowly and didn't accomplish much.
"He didn't talk about anything, it didn't have any substance. It was great he came and got everyone rallied up, but as far as speaking, I think he should just stick to making movies," Bortolotti said.
Jennifer Fowler, a criminal justice junior, who wore a homemade t-shirt that read, "We want Moore," and, "I'm with a liberal," was impressed by the speech.
"His speech was extremely uplifting and funny, it kept everyone engaged and supported us bleeding heart liberals," Fowler said.
Moore encouraged students to go to the polls Nov. 2, saying it required minimal effort.
"This year the slacker motto is, 'Sleep until noon, drink beer and vote for Kerry,'" Moore said.