Friday, February 08, 2008

Obama in Seattle

Today I went over to Key Arena in Seattle for the Barack Obama rally.

Wikipedia says it holds 17,500 people for concerts in the round. Major news outlets are reporting there were 20 to 21,000 people there. The building was packed. Mayor Greg Nickels, who was also on the podium, said he gave the fire marshall the day off and that we were over capacity.

I bused over on Metro from University of Washington at about 10AM. All the buses leaving UW for Seattle Center/Downtown were *packed*. I guess Obama is popular among the 30,000 undergrads at UW. =) I got down there a litte after 10 to be greeted by a *really* long line. I joined a friend in line (the brilliant Russell and his two brilliant daughters), and he had another friend who had been queuing since 8:30, who got in very near the front and saved seats for us. The seats were *awesome*. We were in the first row of seats just behind the state--about 20 feet from the candidate--separated only by a couple rows of people standing down on the floor.

Video here. If you look carefully near the beginning--the thin guy sitting on the left side of the stage is U.S. congressman Adam Smith. You can see my rainbow colored sweater behind him if you look between his legs. =).

I had some friends who got there a little after 11 and were turned away because the building was too full.

Obama finally came out after 1PM. After his speech, the traffic was crazy, and I had to catch a bus home and it took forever--I got home at around 4PM. Crazy long day. But definitely worth it. Hillary had *maybe* 6000 last night here in Seattle. McCain, who admittedly is a Republican in an extremely democratic town, is at the Westin Hotel in Seattle at a $2300/person dinner and then will address "the public".

I was yotta stoked to see Washington state governor Christine Gregoire there to announce her endorsement (and more importantly her superdelegate vote) for Obama. I'd written to her a couple weeks ago, and gotten all my friends here in Washington to write to her, asking for her endorsement. Obama is making huge headway against Hillary's lead in superdelegates over the last week or so.

Obama was just as kewl in person as he is on television, only more so (not that I've seen him on "television" per se. I watch stuff on the internet though). His smile lights up the whole arena. His speech was very very ... connective. It just *works*.

The secret service guys are even scarier in person than they are on television. They hardly look at Obama. Their eyes are roving, roving, with this unbreaking intense concentration. One feels he is safe with them around--that they'll spot any baddies before anything can happen and take steps, rather quickly and decisively, to prevent it.

Obama said if we raise fuel efficiency requirements to 40 miles per gallon, we could save all the oil we import from the persian gulf. How simple is that. Crazy! Let's do it. Go Obama. The caucus here and in 2 other states are tomorrow. So tomorrow we'll have 161 delegates allocated.

The kewlest thing was the way Obama took responsibility and time, right in the middle of his speech, to pause and get some help for a young lady standing on the floor near the front of the stage who was experiencing some medical difficulty. I mean he *noticed*, and stopped his speech to ask that a chair be brought for her, and to ask that an EMT come and help her. I just thought that was profoundly kewl. It's *so* easy in such a crowd to assume that someone else will help.

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