20,000 in Obamaland

Obama came to Seattle again today, a day before the caucuses. Things were a little different from the last time he was here. We met this time in the Key Arena, the smallest arena of the NBA, at only 18,000 capacity. (Which, incidentally, is why the NBA is leaving Seattle.) Doors to open at 11, Obama to speak at some time after that.

I planned to take a bus to arrive by 1030, but discovered the bus at 10 was already so full it couldn't stop. I figured buses would only get fuller as we got closer to the time of the rally, so I walked across Queen Anne Hill to the arena, arriving at 1040. The doors had already opened a half hour early. This was soon to prove significant.

Inside the stadium quickly began to fill, and I could only find seating in the nosebleeds. There were two giant tiers empty, but they were dedicated to the union, which didn't end up filling all the seats. It was about this time that I heard my friend Adrian couldn't make it, as he couldn't find parking near the Seattle Center.
At 1115 my friend Shari called to say she couldn't get in, as they had closed the doors. Sadly she missed entry by only four minutes. Though I had two seats saved, they weren't allowing us to go to the door to let friends in. We were already over-capacity. Mayor Nichols later mentioned that it was a good thing he'd let the Fire Marshal go home early for the day. The crowd was overwhelmingly white (as it's Seattle), except for those directly behind the candidate, where the cameras would pick them up. There it was diverse, with a higher percentage of Asians, Blacks, and Muslims. It was also overwhelmingly young. As we waited some entrepreneurial supporters realized that there were box seats right behind them, and started climbing into them.

It was actually the most exciting part, as we waited for two hours for the candidate to show up. We watched as security would come in and escort one box seat out, while at the other end supporters were still climbing into the next. It was rather humorous, to realize that they were irrevocably losing their seats down below, for shortly security would come to escort every box seat claim jumper out.

Finally people began to come out to speak. Like in the last Seattle Obama rally, there was a very bad presenter to clearly differentiate what came after. This time it wasn't a guitarist, but rather a pianist, who might have been very good at the piano, but was very bad when he was reading from a piece of paper.

Then it was Mayor Nickels, a longtime Obama supporter, out to rally the troops,

followed by a surprise- Governor Gregoire! She said today, for the first time ever, that she was endorsing Obama. Honestly I wasn't expecting this. Our other two primary female leaders in this state, the senators, had already endorsed Clinton, and Gregoire was playing coy, so I honestly expected her to make it a triumvirate. But she shared that she had spent a lot of time contemplating, and finally decided for Obama.

Look closely- see the Obama halo.  He's not Jesus- just a Blessed Saint.Then, to the roar of a record-breaking crowd for the Key Arena, with 20,000 inside, and 3,000 waiting outside in the cold, with countless others like Shari leaving early because they couldn't get in, the man arrived. (For comparison purposes, the Clinton campaign was surprised the night before that they actually had 7,000 people.) If you look closely at the picture on the right, you can actually see Obama's halo. Gives whole new meaning to the name "Barack"- Blessed.

Obama covered mostly topics from previous speeches and debates. Strangely the news media, like King 5 and Komo 4, got a number of aspects of Obama's visit wrong. They claimed no one minded waiting two hours. Many did, though we didn't blame the candidate. The media claimed that there was no empty seats. There was, for some union and handicapped seats weren't taken. And most significantly, the media claimed that Obama never mentioned Clinton in his speech. Obama did, though briefly and only once- in the recording below.

I wanted to post the entire speech, but it turns out that the 1.6 Gig file is going to take just too long to upload. This is the last few minutes of Obama's speech.

And wouldn't you know it, but my Flip Video claimed I had a whole hour available, when it reality it was only about 52 minutes. So the best part of the speech wasn't caught. To paraphrase, Obama went Biblical on his detractors, speaking straight out of the New Testament, about what Hope really is. Hope isn't some mealy-mouthed thing. Hope is what inspired a movement which gave women the right vote. Hope is what ended slavery. Hope is what began child labor laws. Hope is what changes the world.


Omar said…
Almost there! He is most probably winning all the satates tomorrow; then if he can take the big one in early March - that will be the day!

The Obama fever has just started catching up here too; most people are only now getting to know him. And they are amazed that a Black man can go that far in America. If Obama will reach the Whitehouse, America will have silenced most of its haters and dteractors in the Middle East. That will be a message: a Black man, of a Muslim father in the Whitehouse!
@bdul muHib said…
Wow- that was quick! I just made that post!

Actually, your comment is exactly the comment I made at the caucus that most convinced the Undecideds. See my next post when it's up shortly.
Anonymous said…
Jed: why aren't you working for a major newspaper? You're a great reporter of live action.
@bdul muHib said…
Well, newspapers look for experience before they'll hire :-(

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