Just Above Sunset
October 24, 2004 - Kerry Gets Edge At Harry's

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Exclusive for Just Above Sunset, by Ric Erickson




Paris, Friday, 22 October: Americans in Paris are getting excited about the election. There was a snap poll at yesterday's Café Metropole Club meeting.  All present said they had either voted, or would be home in the United States in time to do so.


France-2 TV-news mentioned earlier in the week that polls taken around Europe showed that if Europeans could vote, they would vote heavily for John Kerry.  He was the choice for something like eighty percent of the French.  Kerry also got comfortable majorities in Britain, Germany and Spain.  Only Russians favored George Bush, with about fifty-five percent choosing him over Kerry.


In today's Le Parisien there is a page devoted to the traditional 'straw vote' that is held at Harry's New York Bar during every US presidential election.  Anybody showing up with an American passport can take part in the poll, which is held during the month preceding the election.


With the results still incomplete on Wednesday there have been 133 votes for Bush and 179 votes for Kerry, according to Le Parisien today.  Voting will continue until Tuesday, 2 November, when the ballots will be totaled as the election results are being shown on big-screen TVs in the bar.


In 2000 Harry's customers gave the edge to Bush, with the straw vote showing 54.4 percent for him, against 45.2 percent for Al Gore.  The traditional straw vote has only been wrong once, according to legend, when Gerald Ford received an edge over Jimmy Carter in 1976.


According to further legend, Harry's New York Bar was opened in 1911, 1923 or 1924.  It was the location of the world's first Bloody Mary cocktail in 1921, and of the first hot dog served in France, in 1925.  In less doubt is the name of Harry MacElhone, who took over the existing New York Bar in the Rue Daunou near the Opéra, most likely in 1911 or 1912 (based on the sign in the window in 2001).  The bar is famous for the invention of forty other cocktails.


Le Parisien points out that American banker and business types tend to be Republicans, and they tend to be outnumbered by other Americans living in Paris or passing through.  Kerry has been handily leading throughout the duration of the straw vote.  The paper adds that France doesn't seem to be a electoral stronghold for the sitting US president.


There is no truth to the rumor that France's Senat is planning a Democratic rally on Sunday, 24 October.  The Senat is teaming up with the Ile-de-France Butcher's Federation to offer free tastes of French beef to all comers.  This will take place in the garden of the Luxembourg, starting at 11:00.  My advice - be there on time because there are only three whole beeves on hand!




Rick provides a photo of Harry’s New York Bar this week.

Click here fro separate image....

Sunday Update:


'Free Beef' in the Luxembourg gardens [mentioned above] today turned out not to be a Democratic fundraiser after all.  Loose crowd count estimated the number of Parisians and visitors as about 300, to share three sizeable beeves.  The Senat's president, Christian Poncelet, showed up shortly after 13:00 to greet the small army of butchers and bless the event - that accidentally occurred at the end of a week in which another life in France was claimed by 'Mad Cow Disease.'  Oops.  Nobody is perfect.


But it is an indication of democracy.  Which other country's president of the Senat turns out on a Sunday to give away free beef just for the hell of it?


- regards, ric

Click here for separate image ...

Your editor provides this handy map locating Harry’s New York Bar – at 5 Rue Daunou of course, where the circle is…  between the Ritz on the west side of Place Vendome to the south and the famous opera house and Café de la Paix to the north.

Click here for detail...


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