Sunday, December 2, 2007

Barack in Boston

One of the great things for political junkies living around Boston is it's easy to take a drive up to New Hampshire and see the presidential candidates in person. (Although we also have to cope with the incessant barrage of political commercials.) Or even better, the candidates swing by Boston on their way to the Granite State.

Tonight, Barack Obama was in Boston (back to the city where his political star was launched during the '04 Convention) for a rally at the Park Plaza Castle, the old Armory, on Columbus Avenue. Barack flew straight into town from a stop in Iowa, boosted by some strong poll numbers. The doors opened at 6 and by that point the line to get in snaked a couple of city blocks. Estimating crowds has never been one of my strong suits, but I'd guess there were well over 1,000 people at the rally.

Looking at Obama's calendar, there are no scheduled appearances in New Hampshire tomorrow, so I'm not quite sure if his swing through Boston was just to show up at this rally. Strategically, it was sure to garner some more volunteers to head to New Hampshire in the coming weeks, but I'm not sure it was a huge money-maker, considering how flush the campaigns are with cash. It cost a $23 contribution to get in, so it wasn't a high-priced affair at all. As I said, I'm not good at counting heads (apparently there were about 2,100 people, told you I'm no good at it), but it's not going to be massive haul of cash.

Considering the time of day and the candidate's schedule, it was pretty good that the rally got started around 7:15. Obama spoke for about 25 minutes, and I was pretty impressed. He came out of the box pretty quickly going after Bush and Cheney and the "era of Scooter Libby justice, Brownie incompetence, and Karl Rove politics." Following that red meat, Obama then laid out the case for change against candidates too close to special interests and politicians who follow the polls rather than principles, a not-too-veiled criticism at a certain rival for the nomination. He closed by laying out the reasons why he is running and why he is in the agent for change and the candidate who can help repair America's image around the world.

For a guy who impresses on television for his intellect, elegant style, and calm demeanor, he's also very effective at getting a crowd charged up. During his speech, Obama said he was running because of what Martin Luther King called "the fierce urgency of now." I think it's a perfect sentiment to invoke as to why a first-term Senator is running and it's one to which the crowd certainly responded.

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