In S.C., controversial Senate candidate Greene makes first campaign appearance

By Jeffrey Collins
Monday, July 19, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- In his first campaign appearance, South Carolina's surprising U.S. Senate candidate, Alvin Greene, received applause Sunday with his exhortations to improve education and fight unemployment.

Greene started his speech at the monthly meeting of the local NAACP branch in his home town of Manning by slowly listing national job loss statistics and South Carolina's dismal rankings in standardized tests.

Organizers had moved the location of the meeting twice -- first to a larger church, then the junior high school as the number of people expected to come swelled.

"We have more unemployed now in South Carolina than any other time in our state's history," Greene said.

He suggested that infrastructure projects put on hold after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, such as an interstate from Michigan to the South Carolina coast, could be restarted.

"Let's get South Carolina and America back to work, and let's move South Carolina forward," he said.

The campaign appearance appears to be the Democrat's first.

Greene hasn't spoken publicly except for a series of meandering, awkward news media interviews since his unexpected June 8 primary win over a former judge and state lawmaker who had the backing of the Democratic Party. He withstood a challenge to the election and calls that he should step aside because of his arrest on a felony charge of showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student.

Greene has declined to talk about the case since his primary win. But he has spoken about other things, such as wanting to help pull South Carolina from its economic doldrums by manufacturing and selling action figures based on his life and military career.

The Manning branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said it invited Greene to speak so its members could get to know him better.

Greene faces U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R) and Green Party candidate Tom Clements in November.

-- Associated Press

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