First posted at WashingtonTimes.com
This was the scene that greeted the Obama motorcade Saturday night when we pulled up in Fredericksburg.
But the crowd on the University of Mary Washington campus - pegged at 26,000 - braved several downpours as Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden were late for their rally. (The North Carolina rally earlier got started late.)
The crowd didn't seem to mind, and they stayed through more rain that left Obama drenched by the end of the evening.
Here's some video I shot of Obama taking the stage and joking about the storm:
Team Obama recognized it was a nice visual, posting this video titled "Barack in the Virginia rain" that reveals how his white dress shirt was soaked through by the end of his more than 26-minute stump speech.
And here's my story from the day on the trail:
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. | Sen. Barack Obama couldn't hold an umbrella over the 26,000 who waited hours in the mud to see him speak Saturday, so he joined them in getting soaked.
The Democratic presidential nominee and running mate Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. held a full rally here despite the downpour Saturday night, telling voters in swing-state Virginia that Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain doesn't get their struggles.
Mr. Obama — sticking to his new stump speech that noted Mr. McCain did not use the phrase "middle class" once during the previous evening's first presidential debate — at first offered to take care of the dry-cleaning bills for the drenched voters.
Then he joked he needed the money for the campaign and asked them to consider it a contribution, prompting laughter. He worked campy rain metaphors into his speech several times, promising change may not be easy and it may seem "the sky is dark and rains will never pass," but "as long as we're in it together, there's nothing we can't do."
Read the full story here.
I also wrote a piece Saturday about this new Web video designed to scare Democrats to register to vote.
The video warns warns of "President McCain" on Nov. 4, and the YouTube description tells viewers, "You control what you'll see on Election Day."
Here's the video:
Mike Madden over at Salon.com caught Sen. Hillary Clinton using a similar line over the weekend while stumping for Obama in Michigan:
"Let's assume that, you know, the election and the counting goes late, and you just can't stay up any longer, so you go to bed, and you wake up, and you're afraid to find out what happened," she said. "So you kind of slow walk it -- you know, you brush your teeth for 10 minutes, like the dentist always tells you anyway, you make your coffee extra strong, and then finally, you know, you gotta figure out what happened. Think how you will feel if it's four more years [of a Republican administration]."
Shouts of "No!" rose up from the crowd, which was hanging on every word. "I don't think that's a really good outcome for Michigan," she said. "Contrast that to how excited you'll be if change has finally come! Yes, we can, and yes, we will!"
— Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times
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