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Joel's Two Cents

Capital Welcomes Obama


Crowds gather in front of the White House in a spontaneous display of joy after Obama was declared the winner. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

By Joel Achenbach
The spontaneous Obama party on the streets of Washington roared past midnight, past 1 a.m., past 2 a.m., with all the centripetal forces driving the revelers to Lafayette Park across from the White House.

It was an explosion of joy. Strangers hugged. People danced in clusters. The air became saturated with the sound of honking car horns from all points of the compass. Police stayed back, barely perceptible on the periphery. The White House itself was darkened, with hardly a sign of life. But people called toward the president's house anyway and chanted. One group started a song:
Na na na na
Na na na na
Hey hey hey
Gooodbyyyye.

At about 2:15 a.m., there were maybe 1,000 people, possibly more, still going strong.

They'd started, many of them, at 14th and U Streets, or in Adams Morgan, or Dupont Circle. Word got around that the White House was the place to be. You didn't need to be told: You could see people streaming in that direction on all the major arteries of town.

How long would this last? If there was even a flicker of fatigue in the crowd as the hour grew late, no worries: Reinforcements were on the way. You could hear them far up on the 16th Street, heading south. There were hundreds of them. Call it an even 500. They were Howard University students.

The students stayed in a pack, shouting with glee. One group split off at the corner of 16th and L streets and began an impromptu drumming session on some empty newspaper boxes, the metal containers resonating nicely in the hours before they'd be filled with papers headlined, "Obama Makes History."

In front of the White House, the celebrants came up with a new chant to direct toward the mansion: "Pack! Your! S--t!"

Roland Washington and Carole Stovall, a political consultant and a psychologist, respectively, came to the White House thinking they could have a quiet, contemplative moment to think about their departed fathers, who had always believed, they said, in the promise of equality in America. They wanted to ponder how their fathers would feel had they lived to see the election of an African American president. Then they found themselves in the middle of a party.

They were loving it.

"This was my father's dream," Stovall said.

"It's a spiritual moment. It's like One Love. You couldn't have designed a more diverse crowd. People wanting to touch strangers," Washington said.

Tyrone Celey, a Metro employee, said, "It's like the Million Man March. It's magical."

Finally, at about 3:20 a.m., the honking on the streets began to fade. The crowd dwindled. This was, after all, a Wednesday morning, a work day, a school day.

But a day unlike any that America has ever seen.

Posted at 11:12 AM ET on Nov 5, 2008  | Category:  Joel's Two Cents
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Comments

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JRM2:
"Can you imagine what people would have said if Obama trotted out his 17 year old pregnant daughter on the campaign trail?"

Can you imagine what people would have said if Palin had taken her children to Wrights church for 20 or so years?

Posted by: Billw3 | November 5, 2008 6:49 PM

"McCain had his negatives exposed as well. Google for opinions on which candidate was favored most. The media elected Obama.

Posted by: Billw3 | November 5, 2008 3:54 PM"
----
It is because McCain, Palin and the RNC were putting out so much negativity. If a candidate runs 100% negative ads, that is what will get reported.

McCain/Palin got away with statements that would have sunk Obama's candidacy. Can you imagine what people would have said if Obama trotted out his 17 year old pregnant daughter on the campaign trail?

Posted by: JRM2 | November 5, 2008 6:19 PM

JRM2:
Which one is it?

McCain had his negatives exposed as well. Google for opinions on which candidate was favored most. The media elected Obama.

Posted by: Billw3 | November 5, 2008 3:54 PM

"The press had it sewn up for Obama months ago. Almost everything they wrote was pro-Obama, Their bias gave him 500 million dollars or more worth of free advertising.
Posted by: Billw3 | November 5, 2008 12:13 PM | "

You mean like Rev. Wright every 30 seconds?, or was it Ayers? or was it Rezko?, or do you mean when CBS edited out McCain's wrong answers and put in correct one's for him?, or when ABC moderated his last debate with HRC and attacked him for nearly 50 min. before talking about the issues?

or FOX News inventing the worst kind of slanderous lies?

Which one is it?

Posted by: JRM2 | November 5, 2008 12:28 PM

The press had it sewn up for Obama months ago. Almost everything they wrote was pro-Obama, Their bias gave him 500 million dollars or more worth of free advertising. Bush's pitiable record also allowed Obama's chant of "change" to hit home with many people. These two factors allowed Obama's questionable background to take a back seat. In any event, his true character will finally become evident.

.

Posted by: Billw3 | November 5, 2008 12:13 PM

This is a desperate time in America. Obama should demonstrate quickly that he intends to govern from the center. His choices of a cabinet will send a clear message. .......

http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/11/05/the-transition-governing-from-the-center/

Posted by: glclark4750 | November 5, 2008 11:55 AM

New Video of racist McCain supporter getting confronted by Obama supporters:

http://liesliesmorelies.blogspot.com/2008/11/racist-mccain-rally-goers-pt-9-obama.html

Posted by: Snakeheader | November 5, 2008 11:54 AM

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