Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama in Columbus: “I’ve got news for John McCain"

I attended the Obama Rally at St. John Arena in Columbus this morning. Despite the cold, the morning time and distant parking an enthusiastic crowd of 6-7000 were in attendance.

After Miss Ohio 2007 sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, The crowd was warmed up with a speech by State Treasurer Richard Cordray and music by the Pickerington Central Marching Band. The crowd waited patiently a good hour past the scheduled time of 10am for Obama to arrive. In typical Ohio State Fashion cheers of OH-IO were frequent as well as the wave moving around the arena a number of times to kill the time.

Then to the podium to the delight of the Columbus faithful,came Hiesman Trophy Winner Eddie George who shared a story of struggles as a football player and his mother telling him, “Yes you can.” Then tied it to our country after 7 years of frustration wanting change and saying under the leadership of Barack Obama, “Yes we Can.”

Then Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman welcomed all to the city and did the introduction of the “next President of the United States, Barack Obama.” Barack arrived in the arena to a deafening roar of cheers comparable to any Ohio State athletic event. Knowing Columbus well his first words at the podium were, “O..H” which of course got the enthusiastic response “I..O”

Much of his speech was similar to past events, talking about the end of the Bush era, health care, the economy, and the war in Iraq. Throughout the approximate 45 minute long speech he only mentioned Senator Clinton twice that I recall, but made numerous mentions of John McCain.

Perhaps the highlight of the speech is when Barack Obama mentioned a statement McCain made this morning, “I’m got news for Barack Obama, Al Qaeda is in Iraq.”
Barack responded with “I’ve got news for John McCain, there was no such thing as Al Queda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq.” This once again brought the crowd to their feet in a roar of approval.

The thing that stuck me most about this event was the crowd. Men, women, black, white, hispanic, old, young, $500 suits as well as sweatshirts and jeans. I saw a number of children from babies to elementary to high school age, some brought by parents wanting their child to see history in the making and some high schoolers in varsity jackets that came on their own.

The feel of the event was summed up with the words of an Ohio State Student on the way out of the building when she said, “He was even more awesome in person!”

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