Rating the Local Stops by Presidential Hopefuls

We're not Iowa, but candidates filled rock clubs and union halls for our cash and votes this year.

We may not be bombarded by presidential candidates like those lucky schmucks in Iowa, but Seattle and the surrounding environs have had a respectable number of visits from the happy hopefuls this year. We could tell you what they said, or what we thought of their ideas, but you can find all that on our Daily Weekly blog. (And it's not nearly as fun as giving you the 411 on their penchant for party planning.) From ho-hum to standout, here's how their events rated: D's Boo: Barack Obama, June 1 Venue: Qwest Field Event Center Best part: Veggie dog sales at Qwest skyrocketed during his visit. Fatal flaw: Half-full room, awkward-looking "locals" on risers behind him. Better: John Edwards, May 1 Venue: AFL-CIO headquarters in South Seattle Best part: Can't beat a rousing union fight song, especially on May Day. Fatal flaw: Mr. $400 Haircut was nearly an hour late. Better still: Hillary Clinton, Oct. 22 Venue: Benaroya Hall Best part: Stadium seating. Fatal flaw: No Internet or cell phone service inside. How's the fourth estate supposed to function? Added bonus: It's always a good time when the state party chair ratchets up the rhetoric by referring to Republicans as "evil." Thanks, Dwight! Best: Barack Obama, Dec. 11 Venue: Showbox SoDo (Young Obama clearly learned his lesson.) Best part: Beer. And watching sport-coat types stand in line on gritty First Avenue South to get into the $100-a-head party. Fatal flaw: Opening bands. Billy Joe Huels from the Dusty 45s gets points for lighting his trumpet on fire, but Brad (sorry, Stone) were boring. Added bonus: Hooverville, across the street, offered the perfect place for respite (i.e., beer) during the pre-event security sweep. R's Boo: Rudy Giuliani, June 15 Venue: Private homes of deep-pocketed political donors. Best part: Don't know. Wasn't there. Fatal flaw: Inviting conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky when no other reporters were welcome. Better: Mitt Romney, Nov. 19 Venue: Sea-Tac Airport Best part: At least this time he got on the stump. (Romney made a fund-raising-only stop in Bellevue in June.) Fatal flaw: Nothing says "I've got no time for you, Seattle" like holding your press confab at an airport. Better still: John McCain, Feb. 23 Venue: Westin Seattle, to talk trade with the City Club and World Affairs Council Best part: Political columnist Maureen Dowd was there, all dolled up in pink cowboy boots. Fatal flaw: Came here before he'd officially announced his bid. Best: Mike Huckabee, Nov. 15 Venue: Westin Bellevue Best part: Saw governor wonder on the eve of his Iowa rocket-ship ride. Fatal flaw: Having to risk life and limb on 520 to get there. Added bonus: Only three other reporters bothered to show up.

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