Now I get it.
The people in the audience definitely got it. When I asked one middle aged man if he was for Obama his response says it all. "I wasn't when I went in, but I am now. He's charismatic." Will you be voting for him? "I guess I will now," he said with a smile. I also talked to die hard fans, who left with broad smiles on their faces. One man said, "I don't need to be converted. He touched all the right bases."
I've been very critical of Obama, from his Nevada flyover to his abysmal performance at the health care forum. I also thought he was less than stellar in the MSNBC debate. His answer on a possible attack on this country not rising to what it should be. But in a stump situation I've never seen anyone better, except maybe Bill; that would be former President Clinton. Of course, going back to when politics took hold of me, there was my big brother, who was as good as any of them. He was also a pro choice Republican in Missouri, so you can imagine how long that lasted, especially once Reagan came around. But in his first race he beat a 28-year incumbent Democrat. Not too shabby.
Coming off the Clinton event on Wednesday, comparing the two event atmospheres as well as the candidates, they could not have been more different. Buttoned down, proper, well mannered, yet incredibly enthusiastic, the Clinton crowd sat in chairs on on the risers. Cheers erupted, for sure, fans adored their candidate, ecstatic to be with Clinton. Thrilling for the audience.
Then there was today. People standing everywhere in front of a riser, where Obama would speak. No chairs arranged, because there just wasn't any room; a gigantic American flag at the entrance where Obama would walk down a pathway, shaking hands as he went. When he was introduced, the crowd went berserk. Deafening. About the same number of people, though a tighter fit the way it was arranged. But there was something different today. It was pure theater as Candidate Obama walked the short path to the riser, shaking hands as he went, a huge smile on his face. This man was having a blast. Then he bounded to the stage. Athleticism. Excitement. Something new.
Then he started speaking. (Full audio of Obama event.)
The best political speaker I've ever seen or heard. Funny. Inspiring. Uplifting. Hopeful. Demanding.
"The American people have to do something, too. We all have some responsibilities, too. ... Don't go around complaining about teachers if you're not doing your job as a parent. You've got responsibilities, too." - Barack Obama
What a concept, asking something of we the people.
Obama went after Bush by name, slamming the war, which got a rise. One young man shouted "bullshit," as an answer to what was happening in this country. An "eff you," that would be the f-bomb, came next from the man in response to what Bush thinks of we the people. Only the people within range could hear him, because of the clapping. However, this would never have happened at the Clinton event, in my opinion. You be the judge as to why.
Unbridled, irreverent passion.
"It's going to be hard to do all this as long as we're spending $275 million a day on a war that should never have been authorized. I am proud that I opposed this war ... in 2002. ... It's been an enormous distraction. The greatest gift we have given Al Qaeda, because we ended up ignoring what was happening in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is now getting strong. Al Qaeda is recruiting in Iraq ... ... We have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in, but we do have to get out. It is time to bring our troops home." - Barack Obama
Obama's legislation starts a phased withdrawal, with the goal of having all troops out by March 31, 2008. When he spoke about Bush vetoing the legislation first sent to him, the crowd booed.
"George Bush isn't going to change his mind. He's decided that he is gonna continue down this path, no matter how destructive it is. But it is still within our power to change things. We are sixteen votes short in the Senate of a veto proof majority to impose a timetable on this president. We are comparable number of votes in the House. And we have to make sure that every single senator and every single congressman who has sided with the president on this is hearing from constituents. You guys have to tell whatever senators or congressmen in this state that are still not voting for a timetable that it's time to bring our troops home. Now if we do that we may be able to bring this to a close before our president. But I will promise you if it's still going on, when I'm president, we are going to bring this war to a close." - Barack Obama
Then Obama talked about the troops. What we owe them and how they should be treated.
"Don't tell me... Don't stand up next to the flag at a photo op and then ignore our veterans when they need us." - Barack Obama
So bring on Rudy.
Bring on Fred. Newt? Don't make me laugh.
It won't matter.
If Obama gets to the general no one can beat him. Yes. He is that good.
But then again, Clinton ain't no slouch.
It's good to be a Democrat looking towards '08, including if your candidate is Edwards, whom I haven't seen on the stump yet. There are others, Chris Dodd, to name just one.
But there is something different about Obama. Talent, for sure. Seeing is believing. The only question remains is whether anyone can beat the Clinton machine.
- Taylor Marsh LIVE! can be heard from 3-4 pm eastern - 12-1 p.m pacific, Mon.-Thurs, with podcasts available.
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