Feb. 4, 2008
Story and pix By Ken Krayeske • 8:40 PM EST
Obama mesmerized a huge crowd at the Civic Center.
Obama has just left the building. I'll have some thoughts on it later, but here are some pix for the time being.
Clearly, it was emotional, hopeful and uplifting.
And I hope this conveys some of the magnatude of the event. He rented the Civic Center, and more than 16,000 people showed up to see a presidential candidate. It was impressive. Families, children on shoulders, the elderly, the disabled, heck - I even saw one campaign volunteer on his way to emptying a bed pan, carrying a full little portatoilet across the floor of the civic center.
It was dedication and certainty, belief in something large. Barack's rhetoric is convincing. He says all the right things, like withdrawing the troops from Iraq, energy independence, funding education, etc etc.
I could sit here and nitpick with his policy proposals - I think college education should be free - he wants to make it affordable. Paul Krugman in the New York Times today said that Hillary's health care plan was better than Barack's. But Hillary is well funded by the health care industry she purports to regulate.
Nor does Hillary have a story like Obama's - child of a teenaged mom, raised by her and grandparents - and she died at age 53 of cancer. The crowd responds to that. He's one of us, or so it seems.
Hillary, on the other hand, spoke in front of a select audience at Yale today. Could she have filled the Civic Center? I don't know. It seems like she packed people into the Learning Corridor last week. But this was something different. Does she generate this kind of excitement? I don't believe so.
Listening to him talk about my country in terms like he employs - this language of hope, previously the domain of Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie - makes me want to like him, even if he is going to go back on his promises (some of them, for certain, which ones, it remains to be seen).
Obama's biggest applause of the night came not from talking about health care, constitutional restoration, 40 mpg cars, or ending the war, but about humanitarian intervention to end the genocide in Darfur.
I have been thinking alot lately about linear history and how we judge events too swiftly after they just happen. I want to sleep on this one, and think about how this fits in with what has come before, and what will follow it. Symbolically, how do we interpret this?
In the coming days, many will weigh in on it. I saw tons of journos there - everyone from John Murray at the Waterbury Observer to blogger CTBob, to Ken Dixon of the CT Post, Chris Keating, Rick Green and Mark Paz from the Courant, the Yale Daily News, and a ton of others. Ctnewsjunkie and the New Haven Independent will have stuff, too.