SEATTLE – Seattle without an umbrella? A rally Wednesday for John Kerry (search) on a downtown pier turned into one wet affair when security guards made people leave their umbrellas behind in a heap outside the security checkpoint.
The rain ranged from a drizzle to a downpour as about 2,000 people huddled and waited for the Democratic presidential candidate to arrive. Making matters worse, the rally started nearly an hour late, apparently because hundreds of people still were queued up outside the checkpoints.
Some grumbled. Others cheerfully created ponchos out of garbage bags or relied on the ubiquitous Seattle parkas. Kerry himself wore a windbreaker and chinos, and nary an umbrella appeared onstage for him or other dignitaries.
"It's the Secret Service's call for all rallies — no signs on sticks and no umbrellas," said Democratic spokeswoman Kirstin Brost.
The emcee, Rep. Adam Smith (search), D-Wash., Kerry's state chairman, thanked the drenched crowd, saying they had passed a rite of passage. "If you can do two hours in the rain, we know you'll be dedicated to work for John Kerry. You all passed with flying colors," Smith said.
Kerry, commenting on the situation, said with a chuckle, "I'm worried about the hospitals tomorrow."