“I need the executive summary!”
— Irvine city council member and congressional candidate Beth Krom, speaking with a group of about 11 UC Irvine students concerned about provisions in the pending health-care reform bill. It was perhaps the biggest laugh line of the night (though the Weekly wasn't there for the entire event), which saw Krom patiently, earnestly and, sure, dryly discussing the issues of pharmaceutical patents and third-world access to medicine. The joke's set-up: A student had handed her a length piece of legislation and said Krom might need a few minutes to get through it. Microseconds of faint humor ensued!
Krom, a Democrat, had arranged the round-table with UCI members of Universities Allied for Essential Medicine after reading that the group was denied an audience with U.S. Representative John Campbell, Krom's Republican opponent. Last night, Krom showed her accessibility and wonk bona fides, but her ability to actually get elected remains… questionable. It can't be a great sign that at least two students were spotted fiddling on their phones. But then again, even the ghost of Billy Mays might have a hard time commanding a room while discussing the nuts and bolts of drug pricing policy.