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1:05 PM

Debate Team 

John Hall: The Nerve of Him!

Sue Kelly and John Hall exchange words in a meeting
with the Times Herald-Record's editorial board.
Courtesy the Times Herald-Record

John Hall has been in some tough fights in his 30-plus years as a musician and activist. The former front man for seventies soft-rock hit makers the Orleans and current congressional candidate has seen mellows harshed and vibes queered.

And yet through all those uncool times, it's hard to imagine he's been caught in a crossfire hurricane quite like this exchange with incumbent Sue Kelly during a recent debate in the Nineteenth District. Kelly was overseer of the congressional-page program from 1999 to 2001, a period that possibly coincided with the Mark Foley hottie-hassling era. Hall, like many Democrats in tough races, has used the Foley cover-up to turn what seemed like a no-hope bid into an increasingly close contest. But Hall's naturally sunny heart may not be entirely suited for the politics of personal destruction. Watch the video and find out if, indeed, Hall has no shame.

(Back when Hall was doing session work with Seals & Crofts, there was a violent altercation over whether the backing harmonies on "Summer Breeze" should be "sweet and cool like morning rain" or "milky but not too milky." In 1979, when organizing the No Nukes benefit concerts, Hall and James Taylor got into a tense discussion about who was going to go on after Bonnie Raitt — "Following Bonnie, man, that's tough" said Hall, to which Taylor responded, "I know, friend, but look, if we can't figure out stuff like this, how're we gonna bring an end to nuclear proliferation?")

Kelly on the Pages [The Times Herald-Record, via Talking Points Memo]