My assignment tonight is to "live blog" Barack Obama's speech. After covering "the line," I think that for all of his oratorial skills, he cannot possibly deliver a message anywhere near as eloquently as the tens of thousands of people who lined up on the streets of St. Paul.
9:10 p.m. - Obama says "thank you." On the radio, the music in the background sounds like Springsteen's Girls in their Summer Clothes, though I presume I'm hearing it incorrectly.
9:12 p.m. "After 54 hard fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end." (Big cheer)
9:14 p.m. -- "Because of you I can stand here tonight and say to you that I will be the Democratic nominee for president."
9:16 p.m. Here comes the Hillary reference. Says party has put together one of the most talented fields in history. I don't think he's talking about Mike Gravel.
9:17 "Sen. Hillary Clinton has made history not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she's a leader who inspires millions of Americans through her strength and courage.
9:19 - Meet someone I met in line. Asked who should be Obama's VP candidate, they were unanimous that it should be someone named Not Hillary. I heard that from a lot of people. These people are (right-left): John Whitehead, Suzanne Garfield, Henry Bushnell, Anne Bushnell, John Schepers of the Twin Cities.
Mr. Whitehead he'd be a lot more concerned about the threat by some women to stay home in November if it "was a month from now," but thinks the comments are the result of hurt feelings in a tough campaign.
9:21 p.m. Calls for uniting. Over the weekend, some influential women said they're going to stay home.
9:22 p.m. "I honor the contributions of John McCain, even if he refuses to honor mine." Says AP of McCain's speech in New Orleans today:
McCain...accused his younger rival of voting "to deny funds to the soldiers who have done a brilliant and brave job" in Iraq. It was a reference to 2007 legislation to pay for the Iraq war, a measure Obama opposed citing the lack of a timetable for withdrawing troops.
9:23 p.m. Serve returned by Obama, " it's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave young men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians."
OK, there's your general campaign in a bottle. Is it time to vote now?
9:26 p.m. -- Wondering if Obama will somehow acknowledge the tens of thousands of people outside the Xcel Center who didn't make it in?
9:28 p.m. -- Obama is into the stump portion of the speech. "John McCain has spent time in Iraq, but maybe if he spent some time in the cities of America, he'd understand the kind of change people were looking for. Which reminds me, on my personal blog, I wrote about my hometown when I was back East a couple of weeks ago. It's non-political.
Question: How can a president fix the disaster that is Detroit?
9:32 p.m. Crowd chants "yes, we can."
9:33 p.m. -- Says Republicans see opponents as "enemies," not people with which to disagree. "We call ourselves Republicans and Democrats, but we are Americans."
9:36 p.m. -- Best part of the speech so far? The silence between Obama's words, when a woman shouts "We believe in you."
9:37 p.m. -- The money quote for the TVs and headline writers (you watch!), "America, this is our time."
9:38 p.m. - Trivia time: Have their been more presidential candidate rallies at the Xcel Center? Or Wild 7th game playoff wins? Easy answer. The Wild have never won -- or even played -- a 7th game at the Xcel.
9:39 p.m. "Thank you, Minnesota. God Bless America."
OK, that's done. Let's go back out to the line and meet....
(Left to right) Marsha Mose of Hudson, Wisc., Steve Govert of Minneapolis, Kris LaFaver, Dane Lafavor and Anna Lavafavor of Minneapolis. At one point -- and for about 4 seconds -- they were last in line. Kris Lafavor was a John Edwards supporter (as was Mr. Govert). Mose supported Hillary Clinton. Who should be vice president? Kathleen Sebelius, governor of Kansas, was mentioned. Bill Richardson was mentioned. "Not Hillary" was mentioned.
"Why didn't any of you mention John Edwards," I asked.
"We want him for attorney general," they responded.
This crowd is already thinking about the cabinet.
Who are all the crazy people NPR is interviewing at the speech? Does every Obama supporter drink the red Kool-aid? I kept waiting for an intelligent supporter to speak up and give a well reasoned argument...
What kind of salads were the 9:19 folks having and from where?
I did not anticipate the feeling of excitement that I had listening to Barack Obama this evening. I must say that I felt the way I do whenever listening to an excerpt from a historically significant speech delivered by a historically significant leader.
Being able to hear the genuine exuberance in Obama's voice (I was listening on the radio) brought a smile to my face that just now I've finally managed to control. He also showed the kind of fortitude that he will need throughout the remainder of this race; that I've been waiting for.
I was, and still am, a supporter of Hillary Clinton. With that said, I now have no doubt in my mind that Mr. Obama is the strongest candidate for this party and the only leader for this country at such a vital moment. The conclusion that I've come to is that we have plenty of those in Washington who know the political environment/system well enough to support and advise Barack. What is needed at this juncture is a candidate who can publicly lead the people who actually support this country; lead you, me, and everyone else not in Washington. Obama is a gifted speaker with the rare ability to empower us - the people- to do what is necessary to see that change occurs. All of his doubters are right; Obama can't change how Washington works, not in the sense that by being hardheaded or driven he will literally change the structure and political environment in Washington, but what these critics have failed to recognize is the power of inspiration. If the highest political leader in the lad can inspire the masses, change will come on its own; I don't doubt that for a second.
One of them went for the food, the others held the line. I want to say Davanni's but I'm not aware of a Davanni's downtown. Coulda been Cossetta but I'm pretty sure it wasn't. Greek salads, by the looks of things.
Bob- a really great job done! I wasn't there but I could feel the excitement in the photos. These are exciting times of change and I am happy.