“We talked to 40 people and recorded it all,” said Mike Bade, who interviewed people in Hannibal on the Fourth of July for his “America For President” documentary.
Bade and his partner, Lori Korchek, came from New York to launch their project, doing their first interviews during National Tom Sawyer Days. They brought a replica of the famous presidential desk, the Resolute, to Hannibal. People were seated behind the desk for their interviews.
“Every quote was surprising,” Bade said. “We really didn’t have any expectations and did not try to guide them. ... When people sat behind that desk, they felt weirdly empowered.”
A woman said she “appreciated the freedom to sit here and talk to you today.”
Bade added that he and Korchek “loved the kids as they got behind there. There were some wisecracking teen-agers and littler kids. ... It is supposed to be fun, so it is great to hear a teen-ager’s take on things as well.”
One teen-aged boy said “they should have designated speeding areas. That way you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket.”
Sitting at the desk, a young girl said “I do not want to be president when I grow up.”
Bade explained “it was not a gripe fest. It was almost like stepping into the shoes of an important person, which is what we had hoped.”
‘Three kinds of people’
Jim Horn sat behind the desk to say he visits Hannibal once or twice a year. He said “in America you have the opportunity to get up in the morning and do whatever you want to do.”
Horn continued, “there are three kinds of people, one - those who make things happen; two - those who sit and watch them happen; and three - those who sit and say ‘what happened?’”
He also offered some advice: “I know things are tough, but you gotta believe it’s getting better.”
One woman said she “had lived overseas for 23 years, and it is great to be home.” She explained she had taught children of U.S. military families.
Prior to Bade and Korchek’s arrival in Hannibal on July 3, Bade’s plans had been publicized in the Courier-Post. He later said “we were surprised by how many people recognized us from your article and were excited to participate.”
He had a message for the Courier-Post readers: “Thank you for sharing your beautiful city and making the first stop on our tour of America such a warm (105 degrees, even!) and wonderful experience.
“Hannibal embodies so much of the spirit of America we are celebrating in our documentary. ... Thanks, too, to the many Toms and Beckys who shared with us their feelings and hopes for the country. ... And a special shout out to Adrienne Abright and the Hannibal Jaycees who worked so tirelessly to make sure we made the most of our visit.”
Page 2 of 2 - Bade had earlier explained that his film will be an “unpolitical campaign,” and said “we are trying to get the message out, getting to the essence of democracy, that each of us really is president. ... We really wanted to do an unpartisan campaign and see what we have in common rather than what we have that divides.”
They hope to complete the documentary by November. “The launch we are hoping to be Nov. 1,” Bade said. “Ideally it would premier the Friday before the Tuesday election.” He expects it to be aired publicly in the future.
“We planned the final part of it to be either the end of the second convention or somewhere when the candidates have a debate.”