Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Obama Rocks Louisville

I was cool, man. Jaded Political Observer. No screaming, just observing. Cool. Right up until about one minute into Obama's speech, when he asked who in the crowd had seen him at the rally he headlined at Slugger Field* in 2006.

"I was there, Barack! I was there! I knew then that you'd be President!"

Who is that silly nut screaming? Oh, shit, it's me.

And not just me. Page One started out hitting the campaign hard for abusing local press, but in the end couldn't maintain the snark for which it is so famous. Listen, if Obama can reach Page One's idealistic heart (it has one?), he can do anything.

Also, please accept my apologies for lack of snark. The energy of the crowd was just too great to be too bitchy and funny.

Ben at WhatsRequired has the best coverage/commentary so far.

Ben speculated about the buses brought in from Pike County to fill the riser behind the stage, but I was in that section, and here's how it got filled:

As we approached the doors, a guide drew us out of line and pointed us to another guide who asked if we wanted to sit behind Obama (you know, in the section that gets on national tee-vee.) Our stunned expressions answered him. We got special yellow wrist ribbons that passed us through the crowd and into the backstage section. The less-than-professional performance of the people holding the "Louisville for Obama" letter cards persuades me that everyone back there was a lucky volunteer just like us.

There were Obama volunteers every 10 feet, and they were not only smiling, friendly and helpful, but with the arrival of each new group, they applauded and shouted "Thank you for coming!" I paid $250 to see Bill Clinton last year and didn't get any thanks. Thank you. For a free event. These people have class.

At 6 p.m, an hour after the doors opened, the line had completely encircled the very large Convention Center block and headed down Jefferson toward West Fifth.

The vendors with Obama gear working the line were almost outnumbered by the Fischer volunteers distributing stickers and anti-Lunsford flyers. Not a single Lunsford supporter that I could see. Maybe they think the Courier-Journal's endorsement was enough. A tiny blonde Jefferson District Court candidate whose name I didn't catch was there in person, gamely shaking hands and asking for votes.

At least 8,000 people were there, about 10 times the number who showed up for Senator Clinton Friday night. That was the biggest, loudest and most diverse crowd Ben Chandler has ever addressed, and certainly the biggest star he's every warmed up for.

I made a new friend of someone who overheard me booing when Ben Chandler was introduced, and laughingly admonished me, "Give him credit, he's learning."

Obama the Mama: Twice during his speech, people in front of the podium fainted, and Obama immediately called paramedics to their location. He kept close watch on them - "Give her room, anybody have some juice?, she's OK," and advised everyone: "When you come to a long rally like this, you've got to eat first!"

Lots of kids - I couldn't help but imagine how they would tell this story to their own kids some day.

Obama spoke for 40 minutes, then walked around shaking hands for another 20. I got within one person of shaking his hand, but the guy in front of me had his four-year-old daughter on his shoulders and I just couldn't make myself push past him.

This post originally placed the 2006 rally at Papa John's stadium when it was, in fact, at Slugger Field.

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.