It felt a little like a farewell tour. Rudd slept at The Lodge for what was probably his, and his fringe's, last night on the prime ministerial pillow. He began his working day with a walk around Lake Burley Griffin with volunteers, before zipping over to the National Press Club in Barton for a lunchtime address.
Unusually for an appearance by a prime minister, there were empty seats at the room edges and an air of finality hung thick as Canberra fog.
A little less zip: Kevin Rudd and supporters walk around Lake Burley Griffin on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares
Rudd gave his last pitch, citing Labor's achievements, from Medicare and free university in the 1970s. He said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott believed Australians shouldn't get "ideas above our station".
Abbott's vision for the country is "a cocktail of the 1950s, Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey, all wrapped together", he said, bringing to mind Abbott as Earl of Grantham. He does have the requisite number of marriageable daughters.
Rudd himself has never lacked for uppity-ness. He spoke of the big ideas of the 2020 summit he convened in 2007 and of his government's stewardship through the global financial crisis. He quoted Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and a Professor John Quiggin who had found, through modelling based on IMF fiscal multipliers and Okun's law, that austerity measures would be bad for Australia. He might have lost his audience a little at that point, given not many of us were familiar with Okun's law.
ELECTION 2013 - Day 32
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd walked around Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares
Rudd and his media entourage were late to fly out to Sydney's great west, decider of elections and shaky Labor heartland. Media were told Rudd would do a "mall-walk" in Burwood, then the plans changed to Hurstville and the whole show was plunged onto the M4 at peak hour - a road clogged with asylum seekers, if Liberal candidate for Lindsay Fiona Scott is to be believed.
When Rudd turned up at Hurstville, he was mobbed. Apart from one persistent heckler who identified herself as Angela Liati (who once claimed she was in the car when Marcus Einfeld got his speeding ticket). Liati shouted at Rudd for being an ''arrogant meglomania'' (sic) but everyone else shouted at him they loved him, or that he would get another three years, or that he was going to win on Saturday despite everything.
Rudd beamed, police turned up and then Rudd was spirited into C1. Before he zipped, he stood up on the car's running board and waved at his people, like an Olympian on a farewell lap.