My Friend Max

All of a sudden, it's the middle of the afternoon and you haven't voted yet. Please remember my friend and inspiration Max Cleland.
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So you, or someone you know, is having a bad day. The kids were a disaster this morning. The dog puked in the car. Your boss is insane. Your better half just frankly isn't and all of a sudden, it's the middle of the afternoon and you haven't voted yet.

Please remember my friend and inspiration Max Cleland.

Max has been all around the country in his wheelchair, his back-up wheelchair, the narrow wheelchair he has to use to get through smaller doors and his other back-up wheelchair. His staff, Michael Duga and Jeremy, have gotten him in and out of cars and in and out of events every day for weeks. Veteran candidates have called and called and called, "can Max come?" The answer is always the same, 'yes.'

Please remember my friend Max when you call a friend and they say they haven't voted yet. Because they need to clean the living room.

Max has been at Arianna's book party in New York City and at lunchtime rallies at the Brookhaven Fire Department in Pennsylvania. He has gone everywhere, done everything, been sick and tired, gotten better, gotten sick again and he's gotten up every single day, piled himself into his wheelchair and rolled on across the country.

"I'm just here to help a friend." I've heard him say that a dozen times when people ask him if he's out there so he can run again. He just shakes his head no, no, "I'm just here to help a friend."

I stood by Max last Saturday in Pennsylvania. Everyone was excited to see Al Gore, who was great, Ed Rendell, who was also great - and can do some talking, Bob Casey - bless him for taking out Santorum today, and Admiral Joe Sestak - who is the definition of a good man. People swarmed the stage when the last word was spoken. Some wanted to shake Al Gore's hand. Others wanted to meet Ed Rendell, or Casey, or Joe.

But every single vet in the audience lined up quietly single file to see Max.

There was one man I will never forget - a WWII vet who had a well worn VFW hat and bomber jacket on. Just a wisp of a man, couldn't have weighed a hundred pounds. He saluted Max. Max saluted back. The older vet couldn't really speak. He just held Max's hand for a minute, and the two old vets looked at each other.

"Thank you my brother" my friend Max said.

The old vet smiled. Patted Max one more time. And shuffled away.

Voting's a hassle. It can be easier to just not do it. The phone's ringing, and you're behind at work. And it looks like it might rain. And you really just want to go to the gym. But before you blow it off...

Please remember my friend Max. He did everything he could.


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