Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Showdown: Obama edition


Well, the Obama rally at Hoover High School in Des Moines officially one-upped Huckabee tonight.

Not only did I shake the big man's hand--he has a pretty soft grip, by the way (though this might come from the thousands of hands he shakes every day)--but I also ran into Tim Russert of Meet the Press on the way out to the parking lot. And yes, I did shamelessly get my picture taken with him.

The other exciting aspect of the evening was that I was positioned on the barrier next to the podium where the AP photographers ended stationing themselves also. Score!

Obama is an inspirational speaker. There's no doubt about that. his supporters were more excited, more passionate and by far more amped up than last night's Republicans.

Obama's message is one of hope and change, two concepts he mentions just about every chance he gets. And those ideas seem to be resonating with people.

There was also a really interesting difference in the visual aesthetic between his supporters and Huckabee's.

At Obama's rally, there was more diversity and youth participation (from later high school and college-age kids). Also, the style of dress was hipper. (Funny, but true).

At Huckabee's, there were a lot of older folk and families that had enlisted five or six of their youngest children to run around with signs and stickers and chant and yell. (This is a very prevalent theme for Huckabee; there were kids as young as 14 making phone calls at his headquarters in Des Moines right up until the caucuses opened).

While Huckabee has a lot of cute one-liners, Obama has quotes. On the hope/change theme he said that hope is not passive or naive, "hope is ignoring the difficulties before us."

And, "Nothing worthwhile has happened in this country unless somebody somewhere was willing to hope."

There was also a lot of crowd involvement at Obama's rally that almost gave it the feel of a Pentecostal prayer meeting.

His platform, which he covered briefly and without specifics included the following:
  • Restore diplomacy and renew America's standing in the world
  • Energy system that reduces climate change
  • Universal healthcare
  • Employment for all
  • Stop poverty
  • No torture

Something else he mentioned was the need for a president who believes and obeys the constitution, so it will be interesting to see whether or not he follows that document if he is elected.

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