Perhaps even Sen. John Kerry is beginning to sense the total lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy. Kerry seemed alarmed by the complete absence of applause, or other audience interaction, he was receiving from a small crowd in Tampa, Florida, on Wednesday.
Kerry was there to accept the endorsement of a national union of emergency first responders, and to hold a "conversation" with local residents about his plans for protecting the nation from bio-terror attacks.
On several occasions, Kerry paused, seemingly expecting applause for his lines. For example, at one point he said, "I will do what I think is best for the country," then waited for applause that only developed after one of his advance staffers began leading a weak round of applause.
His lukewarm reception was so bad that Kerry lost his cool, telling his audience, "I know you dont want to be here anymore."
"That line actually generated more real cheers," says a bemused Florida Democratic Party official. "If this is the kind of response our campaign is getting elsewhere, were dead. This was awful. He was awful."