The Dirty Bum for President Campaign started as a joke, actually as a piece of graffiti at an Italian Restaurant in Missoula, Montana. On a bitterly cold night in January of 2008,
Tammy and I got together will some friends at Ciao Mambos. I grabbed a crayon and scribble ‘Robert for President 08’, on the paper table cloth. Robert, who weeks earlier had performed our wedding ceremony, was Sporty’s mascot. He graced T-shirts and panties that pimped out the bar. Never one to deny a good time, Robert went along with the prank. I don’t think he foresaw how far the presidential campaign would go. I know I didn’t. Slow but sure momentum built, soon a platform appeared, a V.P. Candidate was announced and slogans popped up. Then a string of Myspace pages appeared. When it came time to put up or shut up, I came up with the idea of the Robert Blog, which would detail a seventy-seven day campaign swing across the lower forty-eight.
During the campaign swing, interest grew with each passing day. The real Robert continued living his life, the candidate was riding the rails an hitchhiking across country while his exploits were encapsulated every night in blog format. The bar’s phone started ringing with interview requests for Robert. I spun excuses while
begging Robert to do interviews. “It’s your problem man, I leant my name and face. You figure it out.” I tried to talk others into playing Robert to no avail. Thus came the excuse: “The man refuses to be ‘intinerized.’ There’s no controlling him, he goes where he wants to.”
Characters that Robert met on the road were for the most part patterned after Alberton residents, there were a couple of exceptions. The Sarah Palin segment, or more accurately
the dirt on Ms Palin, was provided by a customer who knew the particulars – and heard the alleged dirt when he lived in Wasilla, Alaska. In the end, when Robert stepped off the train and walked home on a warm September afternoon, the campaign ended. It’s a project that occupied a bunch of time and one of these years will end up in book form.