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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The man with the hand




TAMPA – Former Mayor Dick Greco is hitching his touchy-feely reputation to an unorthodox campaign sign featuring a handprint in traffic-cone orange.

“That’s all Dick,” Greco campaign manager Cameron Ross said of the signs, which made their debut over the weekend. “He said he came up with it in the middle of the night.”

The signs go with a phrase Greco has been using in speeches: “Gimme five,” as in give me a high-five, or as in give me a fifth term in office. They’re meant to catch people's attention and generate chatter. And they're a nod to Greco’s image as someone for whom hugging and kissing is as natural as breathing.

“He is a hands-on person, and he likes to touch people in a metaphorical way,” Ross said.

Also in a non-metaphorical way. Depending on your point of view, Greco is famous -– or notorious -– for his shoulder-patting, bicep-squeezing, cheek-pinching but above all tactile brand of politics.

Of course, being known as someone who likes to embrace voters is one thing. Memorializing it on a yard sign is something else. Ross acknowledged that Greco's idea met with skepticism at first, but he insisted.

“At the end of day he still wanted it," she said, "so we did it.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 12:39pm]


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