It's a big day in the City of Trees. Idaho doesn't see many presidential candidates from either major party, never mind someone poised to pack the largest arena in Boise early on a weekend morning. (The Taco Bell Arena doors open at 7 a.m.) My dream today is that, when he walks onstage for the rally, Obama will be accompanied by the same guy who visited just over a year ago: Al Gore, as a surprise endorser. (I'd love to see John Edwards endorse Obama, too; it's just I think JRE would do so, if he does, in a bigger city.)
But I digress. Obama's rally itself will be exciting enough! I'll plan to post some reaction and photos later today. In the meantime, if you attended the rally, please offer your reaction in the comments below.
Update 1:45 p.m. - Sorry it's taken me hours to get back online; I had another event at BSU right after the rally. As you can see from the pix, my daughter and I were close - close enough for Natalie to shake the next president's hand on his way in. (I'd had that privilege in Elko two weeks ago, so I hung back.)
For me, it wasn't so much about the speech, although that was great. But after hearing Barack in person two weeks ago and on TV many more times, I know many of the lines by heart. So today, I mostly relished the sheer vibe of the scene. The crowd (especially down on the floor) looked like America - white, black, brown, multiracial, young, old, short, tall. I was standing near some recent immigrants from Africa and a whole bunch of Borah High students, most of whom can't vote this year - but if we're lucky, they - like my daughter - will have a chance to re-elect this man in 2012.
"I heard there weren't any Democrats in Idaho," the senator said, and the place roared. But as the speech went on, Obama showed what to me is the hallmark of his campaign: the recognition that if we can come together across partisan lines, and if we can replace fearfulness with hope and grit, we can put our beloved nation back on track toward the greatness to which we've always aspired.
As I'm writing this, I just got a text message from the campaign. "Watch Barack on MTV this afternoon at the MySpace/MTV Forum live at 6pm ET/3pm PT." After he left here, Obama was bound for a rally at the Target Center in Minneapolis. After the MTV thing, he's on to another arena rally in St. Louis. What a gauntlet we ask our candidates to run! He and Senators Clinton and McCain and Governors Huckabee and Romney will all get a break in a few days, but then the race will resume. It's a crazy way to elect the leader of the free world. (Note 4:45 p.m.: He's not at MTV studios doing the dialogue but live from ... St Louis, I'm guessing. By the way, the arena there holds 60,000 people and word it is will be filled.)
But no one is packing them in like Obama, because no one else on the trail approaches him as being the right person for this job at this pivotal moment in our history. All of us fortunate enough to be there today got a glimpse of someone - and something - very special. We're taking back our nation, right before our very eyes. The momentum is undeniable; the moment is nigh. Don't be afraid of what will happen Tuesday night - whether we'll have enough room, or whether it takes a ridiculously long time to get signed in, or whether you're missing American Idol. Just be there - and help us make history.
By the way ... the world is watching. Here's an Agence France Presse story datelined Boise, noting a crowd of 14,000 ... also stories from The Washington Post ("Obama's Private Idaho"), the Baltimore Sun ("Obama draws some 15,000 in 'red state' Idaho) ... and a post-rally diary with video from dansac at Daily Kos ...
and here's local coverage from the Idaho Statesman plus a Dan Popkey column on how Obama is wooing Baptists, Republicans, and making government cool again. ... KTVB has a link to the full speech ... check out the awesome will.i.am "Yes We Can" video at the Unequivocal Notion ...
Finally, don't miss the photo galleries at Idaho for Obama, packed with photos by Boise-based rock lensman Otto Kitsinger.
YES WE CAN! SI SE PUEDE!!