Public defender is documentary star
DANIEL TEPFER email@example.com
Article Launched:10/15/2006 04:44:16 AM EDT
BRIDGEPORT "” From his mop of silver-white hair to his brown penny loafers, Assistant Public Defender Miles Gerety exudes personality.
So it was no great surprise to those in Superior Court on Main Street who know Gerety that he has a major role in a new movie "” a documentary on the 2004 presidential campaign.
This week " And So Goes the Nation," opens in theaters around the country. Produced by Endgame Entertainment, the movie has received rave reviews from Time magazine and Cleveland's The Plain Dealer.
The movie documents the last four days of the presidential campaign in Ohio. It gets its name from the old political saying, "As goes Ohio, so goes the nation."
While the movie contains interviews with professional pundits and power brokers for the President Bush and John Kerry campaigns, its central theme revolves around campaign volunteers for both parties who went door to door for their candidates. Front and center of these volunteers was Gerety.
Gerety blames the whole thing on his son.
"Miles Jr. was working for the Kerry campaign and asked me to come out" to Ohio, he said. "I took a few days off and went out there and ended up being a precinct campaigner. My 26-year-old son was my boss. You have no idea what a big deal it is when you are in it. I just did whatever the campaign asked me to do."
Despite his protestations, Gerety, 55, is no stranger to politics. He was the point man in Connecticut for the presidential campaign of former Gen. Wesley Clark.
"In many ways I think he would have been a better candidate than Kerry," he said.
Gerety actually got his start in politics at Roger Ludlow High School in Fairfield when he worked for the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. In college, he supported the presidential campaign of Democrat George McGovern. In 1982, he lost a tight race to be the democratic candidate for state representative for Bridgeport.
The unusual thing about this is that Gerety's father, Pierce Gerety, who died in 1983, had served as deputy director of the U.S. State Department under that stalwart of Republicanism, President Eisenhower.
While the political differences between father and son probably accounted for some interesting conversation around the dinner table at the family's Southport home, Miles Gerety contends his father never gave him a problem with his candidate choices.
"He was a fiscal conservative but pro civil rights and he was not happy with the war in Vietnam," he explained.
The movie trailer opens with Gerety's recognizable voice stating the movie's title. There are a number of clips of interviews of political talking heads and then, there he is, wading through a sea of people: Miles Gerety. He's talking about the importance of the campaign.
"I'm the film's historian. I talk about civil rights and why I'm a democrat," he said. "It really gives you a picture of the inside of a campaign. The volunteers come out as the heroes because they are just so committed. The campaign press secretary for Kerry in Columbus approached me and asked me if I would cooperate with the movie's producers and the rest is history."
Producer Christopher Chen said the movie had it's premier last week in New York City and is opening next week in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.
"Miles is great, we all love him," he added.
Gerety said the movie also shows how the Bush campaign was so successful relying on the theme that Bush would provide steady leadership in troubled times, while the Kerry campaign had no theme.
"I come across as sort of a reasonable but ideological democrat," Gerety said.
"Mr. Gerety is passionate in the many things he does," Senior Assistant State's Attorney Cornelius Kelly said. "I have no doubt that he addressed this new endeavor in the same vein."
Added fellow public defender and longtime friend Barry Butler: "It doesn't surprise me at all that a great trial lawyer like Miles would do well in a documentary. He is very smart, an eloquent speaker and he is telegenic. Jurors love him and I think America will, too."
This is not the first time fame discovered Gerety.
In September 1998, his brother, Pierce Gerety Jr., an official with the United Nations, died when a Swissair flight he was on crashed into the ocean off the Nova Scotia coast. More than 200 died in the crash.
Gerety immediately left for Nova Scotia and ended up de facto leader of the families of those killed, helping them get counseling and eventually a monetary settlement from the airline.
No comment on this one. Sometimes saying nothing, says it all.
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