Sometimes Jamming Trumps Politics David Greene missed Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention. He was too busy dancing at an Ozarks jam session in Mountain View, Ark. — in search of local leaders.
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Sometimes Jamming Trumps Politics

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Sometimes Jamming Trumps Politics

Sometimes Jamming Trumps Politics

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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This is Day to day. I'm Alex Chadwick.


And I'm Madeleine Brand. This week, we're speaking with NPR's David Greene as he heads west. He's talking to Americans about the people they look to for leadership. And the series is called Take Me To Your Leader. David, where are you today?

DAVID GREENE: Hey, I'm actually at Wal-Mart in Mountain View, Arkansas, which is this spectacular little town nestled in the Ozark Mountains.

BRAND: OK. So what are you doing at Wal-Mart?

GREENE: I don't know how much detail you want. I need some more socks because we haven't found a good Laundromat yet. But also, we need a power adapter for our laptops to plug into the car that we have. So there you go.

BRAND: OK. So you're doing some housekeeping. Are you meeting any interesting characters?

GREENE: We are. We actually - this is a - it's a really neat place. This town is known for its music, and every night on the town square, you know, into the evening under the stars, there are these spontaneous jam sessions, people getting together to play old time music, which sounds very much like bluegrass.

Last night, there were three or four different groups playing, and people were out there eating ice-cream and burgers, and it was just a great evening in a really quiet spot. The roads are so small and curvy, and we're so far away from anything else that the tourism industry hasn't exploded, so it's really retained its charm.

BRAND: So, David, we have to point out that you were actually with the Clinton campaign during the primaries. You were, you know, on the bus following every twist and turn of the campaign. And now, of course, you're nowhere near Denver. Did you watch the speech last night?

GREENE: I actually didn't. I was planning on trying to catch some of the evenings, and, you know, we'll see about Obama's speech. But, no, we were out on the square, and there was just no reason to go inside. The music was great. We talked to some of the musicians, and they have been paying absolutely no attention to the convention here, and they were almost apologetic. They said, you know, we're not apathetic - announcement over there - and, you know, they're not apathetic. They care about politics, but they just said that, you know, music is their diversion. And it was a beautiful evening, and that's what was important.

BRAND: Hmm. Even though this is, you know, Hillary Clinton's state, Arkansas.

GREENE: Exactly. What did she say in the speech?

BRAND: Well, you know, she talked about party unity, that kind of thing.

GREENE: It had to have been a hard night for her. I mean, I followed her for so many months. This was supposed to be her night, and after coming so close and, you know, with Bill Clinton speaking tonight, the two of them, I mean, just - that has to be in the back of their mind, that this - we were so close to this being our evening.

BRAND: Right, right. Well, it really was her evening. You could feel it, and, you know, a lot of people said after this, wow, had she been giving these speeches all along, hmm, things may have turned out differently.

GREENE: We've heard that before from other politicians.

BRAND: Yes. OK, so you are in this tiny Ozarks town in Arkansas. Where are you headed next?

GREENE: Back up to Missouri and then eventually to Kansas, and we're going to take a train next week to New Mexico. That's our rough plan, but we've got this email address,, that is up and running. And we're not in the business of making hotel reservations. We don't have a clue where we're going to be staying tonight. Last night, we stayed at this - one of those motels where you pull up, you know, get out of your car and walk into your room. So we're just finding places. So if people have suggestions, seriously, tell us.

BRAND: Otherwise are you going to be staying in a tent, or what?

GREENE: We're thinking about it. I'm staring right now at a hexagonal sport dome tent for 32 bucks, so uh...

BRAND: It's a good deal. I don't know if you could get a hotel room for that. OK. So, well, maybe you could just stay in the Wal-Mart parking lot. You know, people do do that.

GREENE: Not a bad idea. This Wal-Mart actually - when there was a tornado in Mountain View recently, this was the only place with power, and the whole town was basically here being good neighbors and trying to cope.

BRAND: All right. Listeners write to David with a good place to stay or any other suggestions. Thanks, David.

GREEN: Thank you, Madeleine.

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