Uploaded on Dec 31, 2010
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Little-known Republican Phil Davison didn't win his campaign for Treasurer of Ohio's Stark County, but his impassioned campaign speech made him an instant YouTube celebrity.
The 39-year-old, who has served as a member of Ohio's Minerva Village Council for 13 years, just wanted to win his party's nomination for Treasurer when he got up in front of a crowd of 100 people Wednesday night.
But the speech he gave at fever pitch was so startlingly emotional and over-the-top; it turned him into an overnight Internet sensation.
"I will not apologize for my tone tonight," he bellowed, kicking off a six-minute address in which he often seemed to be near tears.
"I have been a Republican in times good, and I have been a Republican in times bad," he shrieked before stumbling over a quote from Albert Einstein.
Shouting frantically and pacing back and forth, Davidson tried to stir up emotion from the crowd with lines like, "Politics is not touch football. Politics is winner take all. It always has been. And it always will be."
Despite his intensity, his words didn't seem to spark a reaction in the audience.
"It was strange," he told Politico. "Feedback would have been nice. I really don't know how it was received."
The passionate speech didn't win him the nomination, but it garnered over 600,000 views on YouTube and numerous interview requests.
Davison is surprised by the attention, but stands by his performance.
"I spoke my mind," he told PBS. "If I had to give it again, I would give it again."
And he says his passion came from personal experience. His own struggle to find employment has inspired him to work for improvement in his community.
"I'm living what I spoke," Davison told PBS. "People are frustrated out there. People want change... I want to get involved. That's why I ran for treasurer."
Though his job as councilman comes with a $260-a-week stipend, that's all the income Davison is bringing in at the moment.
"I'm looking for something right now, to see what turns up. I've been turned down for minimum wage jobs," Davison said. "I certainly can't live on that, but that's all I'm doing right now."
While his new celebrity status may help him land a job, Davison wants people to know that his speech was no act.
"I'm being called a right-wing fanatic. I call myself passionate. That's real," he told The Associated Press. "Am I radical? Probably. But I don't want people to think I'm a lunatic."
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