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Obama Loyalists Turn Out for Springfield Rally with Biden


Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama appears with his selection for VP, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) at the Old State Capitol building where the campaign began, along with their wives, Michelle and Jill. ( Linda Davidson / The Washington Post )

By Perry Bacon, Jr
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Barack Obama was standing at the Old State Capitol again, but this time it was more than 70 degrees warmer, the crowd had 15,000 more people and there were two candidates, instead of just one.

A crowd the Obama campaign said numbered more than 30,000 thronged downtown Springfield this afternoon. Many brought folding chairs but most stood on surrounding streets, as Obama introduced his running mate Joe Biden. The crowd was full of devoted fans, many of whom said they had come out on a very cold morning in February 2007 to hear the Illinois senator first announce his presidential run. Some were already wearing Obama-Biden T-shirts, even if they knew little about the man who would be vice president.

"I think he's a good choice," said Mindy Kolaz, who attended Obama's Springfield rally in 2007.

Kolaz, who works for the state government, said "I'm not a Hillary fan" and noted Biden's experience, but said she didn't know much about him. Her excitement was still focused on the man at the top of the ticket. She said that she had not stayed up late in the night to get the text-message about the running mate, but had arrived four hours before Obama was scheduled to speak this afternoon to get a good seat.

"I'm glad he's back and it's even bigger this time," Kolaz said.

The Obama fans said they had noticed polls showing the race was getting closer, but remained confident he would win.

"We said at the beginning, it's going to be close," said Phil Salzer, a retired teacher who drove about more than an hour from Peoria for the event. "Biden's good, but I don't think people vote for whose on the bottom of the ticket."

Posted at 5:31 PM ET on Aug 23, 2008  | Category:  Barack Obama
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I was a volunteer for the Obama campaign. It was my first time helping with anything like this. My assigned task was to get the crowd pumped up, mingle with supporters, and start chants and stuff like that. At around 12:30 I saw an older couple struggling to get through the crowd and to the aid station by the Chase bank. I basically stepped in and used my load voice to move people out of the way so that I could get them some help. It took about 5-6 minutes to get from the fence of the old state capitol lawn and across the street to the triage area in the chase bank parking lot; a lifetime for someone suffering from heat stroke. I never made it back to the state capitol lawn. I spent the next 4 and a half hours helping the folks in the triage area. It wasn't bad at first. But after a half hour or so, people started coming in constantly. I overheard a paramedic from Springfield tell one of his colleges that they needed to call the local hospitals to see if they could get more supplies; he also added that they were going to need more than the two stretchers that they had on hand. He seemed to have realized that they were about to be overwhelmed. Within 15 minutes, I saw people being carried in convulsing. Being in the Army National Guard, I've had training on how to notice and treat heat casualties; I essentially took off my Obama Volunteer badge and began responding as more and more people began streaming into the first aid area -- Carrying people who had fainted, helping get stretchers over the ledge between the street and the Chase Bank parking lot; handing out cups of water and ice packs to people who felt like they were going to pass out. The flow of people seemed endless
I wasn't the only person that stepped up to help either. Two men stand out in my mind. The name of the first was Nate. Several hundred people owe their quenched thirst to this one guy. He took it upon himself to take the lid off of one of our water jugs and start handing cups of water to people on the other side of the barricade that separated the triage area from the rest of the event. He also served as a lookout -- calling over the paramedics when he saw limp people being carried away from the crowd and getting onlookers out of the way so that those with serious needs could get through. I didn't get the name of the second man, but he looked like he might have been a photographer with a newspaper or something like that. He had his rather expensive looking Nikon camera slung around his back as he helped Nate pass out water and helped the injured get around the barricade. I saw both men running back and forth getting fresh buckets of water, trying to find cups when they ran out, and helping to carry people to the paramedics. Those two guys really deserve to be commended.
I won't get into the 'whose responsible' argument. I will simply tell you who is not to blame: the red cross volunteers, EMT's, police, fireman, and extraordinary citizens who stepped up when they saw their fellow man in a potentially life threatening situation. I think that Senator Obama, and his campaign should acknowledge their hard work and thank them personally.

Posted by: Frontera | August 25, 2008 3:54 AM

I was a volunteer for the Obama campaign. It was my first time helping with anything like this. My assigned task was to get the crowd pumped up, mingle with supporters, and start chants and stuff like that. At around 12:30 I saw an older couple struggling to get through the crowd and to the aid station by the Chase bank. I basically stepped in and used my load voice to move people out of the way so that I could get them some help. It took about 5-6 minutes to get from the fence of the old state capitol lawn and across the street to the triage area in the chase bank parking lot; a lifetime for someone suffering from heat stroke. I never made it back to the state capitol lawn. I spent the next 4 and a half hours helping the folks in the triage area. It wasn't bad at first. But after a half hour or so, people started coming in constantly. I overheard a paramedic from Springfield tell one of his colleges that they needed to call the local hospitals to see if they could get more supplies; he also added that they were going to need more than the two stretchers that they had on hand. He seemed to have realized that they were about to be overwhelmed. Within 15 minutes, I saw people being carried in convulsing. Being in the Army National Guard, I've had training on how to notice and treat heat casualties; I essentially took off my Obama Volunteer badge and began responding as more and more people began streaming into the first aid area -- Carrying people who had fainted, helping get stretchers over the ledge between the street and the Chase Bank parking lot; handing out cups of water and ice packs to people who felt like they were going to pass out. The flow of people seemed endless
I wasn't the only person that stepped up to help either. Two men stand out in my mind. The name of the first was Nate. Several hundred people owe their quenched thirst to this one guy. He took it upon himself to take the lid off of one of our water jugs and start handing cups of water to people on the other side of the barricade that separated the triage area from the rest of the event. He also served as a lookout -- calling over the paramedics when he saw limp people being carried away from the crowd and getting onlookers out of the way so that those with serious needs could get through. I didn't get the name of the second man, but he looked like he might have been a photographer with a newspaper or something like that. He had his rather expensive looking Nikon camera slung around his back as he helped Nate pass out water and helped the injured get around the barricade. I saw both men running back and forth getting fresh buckets of water, trying to find cups when they ran out, and helping to carry people to the paramedics. Those two guys really deserve to be commended.
I won't get into the 'whose responsible' argument. I will simply tell you who is not to blame: the red cross volunteers, EMT's, police, fireman, and extraordinary citizens who stepped up when they saw their fellow man in a potentially life threatening situation. I think that Senator Obama, and his campaign should acknowledge their hard work and thank them personally.

Posted by: Frontera | August 25, 2008 3:50 AM

Obama and Biden... i was thinking about this and then I thought of another pair... Bill Gates and and Steve ballmer

Posted by: Francis | August 24, 2008 3:19 PM

High Strangeness Obama and McCain political ads.

Watching the random political adds showing up on http://illusions.me it first appears to be an Obama or McCain ad but then a few strange twists leaves one wondering did the Obama campaign do an ad for McCain and the McCain campaign do an ad for Obama? Or is it some others? Which is fitting because the page is about illusions and creating appearances.

Are some creating the appearance of being from a certain source only to disparage in subtle ways? What is the true source?

Posted by: Richard Thomas | August 24, 2008 1:00 AM

Great Choice (for the GOP):

1.African American students ruining DC Schools comment in Iowa
2. Indian 7 Eleven cashiers joke
3. Obama’s hygeine “storybook stuff”
4. Almost thrown out of law school for plagiarism
5. Falsely claiming to be top of his class
6. Believes Obama lacks judgement to be president
7. Would be honored to serve with or against McCain

I guess Biden has to get his 7 houses in order soon...

It's hilarious hearing Biden's DEFENDERS comparing him to Cheney??!!

Posted by: Scott | August 23, 2008 11:55 PM

I've got to second sarahcatt. I was there too and no one was allowed to bring in chairs, water, or umbrellas. People were passing out from standing in the heat for hours (remember no water and no chairs were allowed to be brought inside) and everyone was scrounging up money to pay $2 for water inside the event. This journalist didn't attend the Obama rally I was at, what an idiot and a poseur!

Posted by: Was there too | August 23, 2008 10:20 PM

By the way, Mr. Bacon, Jr., take a bit more time to proof your articles. It's not "for 'whose'", it's "for 'who's'", a contraction of 'who is' or 'who was'. The English language gets enough of a beating from those outside the press, it would be another nice change to see our fourth estate set a good example as well.

Posted by: sarahcatt | August 23, 2008 10:09 PM

I was there on the street and if anyone brought chairs, they didn't sit in them because the police and Secret Service did not allow them. They also did not allow umbrellas or even bottles of water. Sometimes I wonder if journalists even attend the events they report. I was on the street at 11:30 AM, CDT. When did you arrive?

On the way back to our home in Decatur, IL, we heard the punditry on CNN. 'We know you want change, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden. How specifically will you change America?' For myself, I'd like a president and administration that honor the oath "Preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States..." Wouldn't that be an interesting concept, the chief law enforcement officer not only enforcing the law of the land but obeying it as well?

Change? I'd like to have 'leaders' that set a good example for their constituency. That would be one hell of a change. The real change this country needs is the elimination of the archaic and increasingly obsolete Electoral College and institute election of the president by popular vote.

Posted by: sarahcatt | August 23, 2008 10:03 PM

American is at a turning point. We cannot take another 4 years of failed Republican policies -- economic crisis at home, fermenting terrorism abroad. McCain would continue to bankrupt America and give terrorism a breading ground. Obama & Biden bring the wisdom and experience to lead America in a better direction: out of debt and out of war.

Posted by: Cleo Jones | August 23, 2008 9:29 PM

Cherokees for Obam/Biden 2008

Do-nv-da-go-hv-i

Posted by: Cherokee Democrats | August 23, 2008 9:27 PM

And Biden called Barack "Barack America". That was a nice 'slip' up.

I wonder who's going to slip and call the old warmongerer John McMafia? ;-)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/23/us/politics/23mccain.html

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 23, 2008 7:53 PM

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | August 23, 2008 7:11 PM

Well said Deep Blue.

Those who can't be charismatic or jealous of talent throw what they play with - dirt. We see this every day at work place.

Posted by: Texec | August 23, 2008 6:29 PM

I think it is good that Sen. Obama is building a large and talented team, and that he's listening to them and delegating a lot of responsibility. In his likely next job, he'll have an even larger team and need to delegate even more.

But at a certain point, he needs override their advice, step in to this campaign, and be himself. Obama created a lead by giving inspirational speeches to large crowds. His team, and his opponents, have wanted him to tone down his act, seem more real. Guess what: that's who Obama is, a charismatic leader who puts forward an inspiring vision (on the surface of things) and then is pragmatic about solving problems behind closed doors.

He needs to keep giving large speeches. Maybe some people say they don't want that. But people are irrational. Ask women what kind of guy they like - and then look at who they end up dating and marrying! People are irrational. Obama needs to be Obama. Give them speeches. Pump up the crowd. Be yourself! It is OK to be a rock star.

Posted by: Deep Blue | August 23, 2008 6:17 PM

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