Saturday, January 05, 2008

Obama's New Hampshire countdown begins

People who are anti-establishment and who are not insiders or

who are not a part of the status quo, are looking toward U.S.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill) and his campaign to lead them and the

rest of the country.
These are the Believers Obama speaks of in his campaign--except

they aren't really a part of his campaign--yet. They are the

so-called fence riders, independents, disillusioned Republicans

or youth.
They seem to have been waiting for a man like Obama to show up

and lead them into a new century and a civilized, more refined

America.

The free Obama rally held Saturday morning at
Nashua High School, in northern New Hampshire, was filled to

capacity and in overflow sections. Many people wanted to see for them

selves the crowd and hear the message of hope Obama has been

delivering across the country.
Parents who have older children who are Obama supporters, are

now becoming Obama supporters themselves.
One C-Span caller said Obama is energizing the youth. She

admitted that she graduated high school in 1968 and is ready

for the excitement of her youth that presidential candidates

exuded.
Many who spoke to C-Span reporters Saturday at the rally,

expressed that they either never attended a political rally or

felt they had no real choice among candidates or wanted to get

a taste of Obama just in case their Republican candidate didn't

make the cut.
Words like truthful, logical, trustworthy, wisdom and

inspiring have been used by callers in New Hampshire to

describe Obama as a person and as a presidential candidate.
These people believe he is a candidate of change.
Explaining to the crowd that he moved to Chicago after college

to work for a group of churches in a South Side grassroots

movement, he admitted he was used to long hours and low pay.

That job paid him $12,000 a year and carfare.
He worked with the program for three years setting up job

training and other social service programs.

All eyes are now on Obama if all eyes weren't on him already.
The momentum of winning the Iowa Democratic Caucuses seem to

swing right into play in New Hampshire on Friday night before a

frenzied crowd at the 100 Club Dinner and Saturday morning at

the high school.

He encouraged them to vote and to vote for him. He promised to

be persuasive.
He asked of the undecided in the crowd to show their hands. He

pointed out to his campaign workers there were a lot of them.
"I'm putting you on warning. We are coming after you today,"
the charmer said with a smile.

He spoke of the Iowa win to the crowd. He spoke before a sea of

people at the high school about having three days to prove

himself to them and to change America.
Many of the signs expressed love and he expressed that love

right back.
His whole campaign seemed to be based on love--for America.
"We have a chance to come together as Democrat, Republican and

Independent... and say we are one people. The time has come to

move beyond the anger. It's time to move beyond tearing

opponents down and instead bring the country together.
He said he is about healing fractures in the country
but is he only an anomaly? A spectacle?
Has he obtained superstar status and in the minds of voters

and thus stands on a pedestal?
No, because after his speech Friday and again Saturday at the

high school, he descended the platform, came from behind the

podium and walked amongst his people.
Those with signs of support, the undecided, those with camera

phones poised to snap photo pressed against him as he and shook

hands and greeted the people. He answered questions, had copies

of his book waved at him for an autograph. Boom mikes and

television cameras were thrust into his face. He looked to be

at home there in that environment among the regular people like

him who have not quite given up hope--those who still believe.
It puts one in mind of Biblical stories where Jesus is

described as pressing through the crowds--the throngs of people

who would show up to here his voice. Obama is a draw, a magnet

and many people are sticking to him.
I heard a man holler out, voice resonating with hope, "Barack

we're all betting on you man. We're all betting on you," as the

end of the event played out on C-span.

During his speech he basically said vote for honesty,
believe in action instead of talk, believe in the American

Dream again where everyone in the country really gets a chance

at success and the common man doesn't suffer from basic needs

going unmet--like in undeveloped countries.
"I know what it's like to see a loved one suffer," he said.
Obama told the story of his mom, who while sick with cancer and

dying in a hospital bed, was still reading insurance papers to

see if her treatment would be covered. He said she had just

gotten a new job and wanted to know if she was covered. He said

she spent the last few years of her life reading insurance

papers. She died at the age of 53 never, getting to see her

grandchildren.
He capitalized on his boldness in front of automakers in

Detroit.
"That's what people are looking for -- an honest assessment of

choices we have to make. America is back and we are ready to

lead once again. I will not hesitate to strike against those

who mean us harm but I will bring troops home," he said.

He said he is not running because of a long held ambition or

because he thinks its his turn but because of--quoting the Rev.

Dr. Martin Luther King--the fierce urgency of now.

"This isn't about me. It's about you and saying we can do

better than we've been doing," he said.
But how to go about change? Turn the hear up on the

Republicans?
No, he said it's best to engage with opponents and figure out a

comparable solution--the lawyer in him talking--about negotiating

a good deal.
On both sides, there have been casualties, so bringing all who

feel disenfranchised together is a good strategy.
"We don't need more heat--we need more light."
Obama's grandfather fought in General Patton's Army, he said,

during his speeches and his grandmother stayed home with the

baby and later worked on an assembly line making bombs.
He talked about being raised by a single mother and those World

War II era grandparents--making him a bridge of generations.
He talked about not having much by way of luxuries but having

an education and hope--something that his nay sayers say have

made him idealistic and in the words of some of his opponents

-- unelectable.
"I should not be standing here ..and there is no other country

on earth where I could be standing here, so yes, I believe in

hope," he said.
However, the going is going to get tough and Obama is nowhere

near the end.
"I know it's going to be tough...but there has never been

meaningful change in this country unless somebody somewhere

stood up (for what is right). That's how the colonists threw

off the evil empire...slaves became free."
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