Daniel King practiced his short nomination speech over and over during those campaign weeks in April.
"He said it to anyone who would listen," his mother laughed. When there was no one around to listen, he said it softly to himself.But when Daniel, 15, stepped up to the podium in the auditorium of Viewmont High School to nominate David Barlow as student body president, he froze.
It was the microphone. Daniel is afraid of microphones. Microphones and video cameras remind him of all those times people with cameras, microphones and lights would come to one of his foster homes and have him talk about how much he wanted a real home.
Daniel was a "Wednesday's Child," featured repeatedly on television stations in Oregon. This boy, the reporter would say, is a severely abused child with mental and emotional handicaps who badly needs a home.
Then Daniel would get a home for awhile. He was adopted when he was 7. But the family decided Daniel wasn't quite what they wanted, so they gave him back to the state when he was 8.
The video cameras and microphones came out to another foster home and Daniel again told the camera how much he wanted a home.
Once again, he was adopted. And once again, Daniel wasn't what the family had in mind. His second adoption also was "terminated" _ the term used by the state's social services department.
The cameras and microphones came back to try again.
Even though Daniel was adopted for the third time when he was 11 and has been happily ensconced in the King family ever since, he panicked when he saw the microphone.
Daniel came out onto the stage twice to give his speech. Twice he saw the microphone and backed away.
David Barlow stepped off the stage and stood below the podium. Don't think about the mike or all of the people, David said quietly. Just give your speech to me.
Daniel asked someone to push the mike out of the way, then he said his speech to David.
"I nominate David Barlow for student body president," he said. "I'm Daniel King and I'm David Barlow's campaign manager. And I'm wearing a tuxedo," he added. "I think David would be a good president because he's my friend. And besides that, he's also my bud."
"Bud" is the nickname the two boys have for each other. David met Daniel when David signed up for the peer tutoring class last fall. "Daniel is really responsive," David said. "Right off the bat we were instant best friends."
When David decided to run for student body president this spring, he thought of Daniel.
"I was trying to find someone who was really outgoing and would talk to everyone. Daniel just kept coming to my mind. He talks to everybody."
"David, tell her about the part where I went up there," Daniel prompted as the two boys sat on a bench in south hall of Viewmont recounting their victory.
So David explained all about Daniel's nomination speech. "He got a standing ovation from the school," David said. "That's what I wanted. That's why I wanted him to be my campaign manager."
"Tell her about the part where you were crying," Daniel urged.
"I wanted them to feel the love," David continued. "I wanted people to know that handicapped people have feelings just like everyone else and they want to be accepted. That's exactly what I got."
"When are you going to tell her?" Daniel whispered. "Will you tell her now?"
So David told about the part when he cried. "After he gave his speech and got the ovation, he gave me our handshake." The boys demonstrated the special handshake they share. "Then he gave me a big hug. The love was so real I couldn't help it. I just started crying."
"Tell her about the time I decorated for the convention," Daniel suggested.
"Can I get a drink?" he asked as David started to tell about the decorating. "Talk loud so I can hear you," Daniel pleaded as he dashed down the hall to the drinking fountain.
Daniel's adoration for David radiates from him. Every time David calls him "Bud," Daniel repeats the name right back to him.
"Do your best, Bud," David encouraged when Daniel was struggling to answer a question.
"OK, Bud," Daniel said.
Daniel watches David's face avidly when David talks. When his attention wanders from his own conversation, a soft word from David brings it back again.
He is especially pleased with their handshake.
Daniel is proud that David is student body president and he never tires of hearing David recount their campaign adventures, especially the part about his own speech.
But he loves David the most for just wanting him around. When asked why David was his friend, Daniel passed over the applause, the fliers and the decorations.
"For taking me out to his mother's birthday party," he said.