On The Campaign Trail With Louie Gohmert

The phone rings.

"Gohmert for Congress," Justin Tanner, Gohmert's travel aid, answers.

It's 11:30 a.m. at the Louie Gohmert campaign headquarters in Tyler. Tanner is ready to hit the road. We're just waiting for the candidate, who arrives at about 11:45 a.m.

Gohmert: Hello, Julie.

Tam: Hey, good morning.

Gohmert: How are you?

Tam: Good.

Gohmert: Good. Are you ready for...?

Tam: Oh yeah, long day.

We're ready to leave for the morning's first engagement: a speech at the Lions Club luncheon in southwest Tyler at 11:55 a.m. The venue: Sweet Sue's Restaurant -- already a political battle ground of sorts between the presidential candidates in a bean poll.

"I'm glad you came," Gohmert tells a constituent.

"I'm glad I came, too," the man responded.

It's not Gohmert's first time speaking to Lions. They're old acquaintances from years past.

"Hear those lions roar!" they sang.

A spirited group, ready for a few laughs, that Gohmert is ready to deliver.

"When they call you 'Lion Bob,' how are they spelling 'lyin' (lion)'?" Gohmert joked.

But laughing aside, Gohmert has a moral message: "Well, guys, we ought to be saying what we mean and meaning what we say. And that's the bottom line."

Gohmert vowed to stay away from politics during his speech, but his audience had questions, including one about border patrol to prevent illegal immigrants.

"Since we know 19 people can knock down the biggest buildings we've got, it's absolutely imperative, I believe, that we know every single person coming into the country."

Plenty of handshakes and several conversations later, we're on the road, just after 1 in the afternoon, heading back to the headquarters. I asked Gohmert a few questions and found out he writes his own speeches, but they're usually not memorized.

"A lot of it ends of being extemporaneous, too," Gohmert said. "You just roll with what happens there. And experiences, you know them by heart, so it's not a problem. But it is a lot of fun."

Back at the office, Gohmert's campaign manager gives him a new assignment: more questionnaires to fill out for non-profit organizations.

"It's Christian Coalition and Citizens Against Government Waste," Keats Norfleet told Gohmert. "And we'll give those both to you. and more than likely, they'll endorse the campaign."

"Can't tell you how many dozens of questionnaires. Every group in America wants to know where you stand on their particular issues," Gohmert said. "So I get my Dr. Pepper."

And get to work.

At 2 p.m., Gohmert and our TV crew head out in separate cars, so Gohmert can talk campaign strategy in private.

An hour later, we're in Longview at Victory '04, a campaign office set up by the Republican Party of Texas for all the party's candidates.

"See y'all later," Gohmert said.

After checking in with the volunteers, he's off to LeTourneau University for an education forum, beginning at 3:30 p.m. He doesn't go on until 4:30, speaking to teachers of Pre-K through high school about issues they face, including academic standards.

"I don't feel like, whether you're the teacher or the student, if you don't meet the requirements, we don't lower the requirements," Gohmert said. "You keep working until you meet 'em."

It's 5:10 p.m.: time to head off to Center for the final event of the evening. Gohmert's running a few minutes late on a tight schedule, but not to worry, he's not going first. It's a rally to meet several Republican candidates outside the Shelby County Courthouse.

"We don't need senators, we don't need other people tearing down this country, saying we're going to get out in six months, flip flop back and forth on our positions," Gohmert said. "That is no way for the United States to act."

Gohmert says it's been a rewarding day. He's met a lot of new people and potential voters.

"There's just a feeling of excitement in the air," he said. "It really is invigorating and uplifting and just spurs us on to go one more day, and then after that, one more day. And then before you know it, the election's here."

Gohmert and Tanner got back to the campaign headquarters at 11 p.m. Gohmert says he gets between four to five hours of sleep each night, but the people he meets give him the energy he needs.

Tomorrow night on KLTV 7 News at 6, we'll take you on the campaign trail with Democratic candidate, Max Sandlin.

Julie Tam, reporting.