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In Chicago, Laying Ground Work for a Potential Celebration

The site of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama's election night rally at Grant Park in Chicago, pictured on Oct. 31, 2008. (Paul Beaty/Associated Press)

By Peter Slevin and Kari Lydersen
CHICAGO -- Tents are going up in Grant Park. The stage is nearly finished. On the eve of Election Day, it looks as though the circus is coming to town, and in a sense it is.

Barack Obama will hold his Election Night rally in Grant Park, a historic patch of downtown green space famous for 19th-century political conventions, 16-inch softball games and the legendary 1968 clashes between antiwar protesters and Chicago police outside the Democratic National Convention.

The Obama campaign alerted about 65,000 supporters today that they would receive tickets to the open-air event. But the combination of history, an unprecedented grassroots campaign and unseasonably warm weather is causing Chicago authorities to brace for hundreds of thousands more in the parks and boulevards nearby.

"I already have goose bumps," Bianca Thompson, 41, said as she strolled along Columbus Drive, watching the preparations. "I was excited to vote when I turned 18, but I've never felt anything like this."

As foreign television correspondents framed their live shots against Chicago monuments on a 71-degree afternoon, three young women shouted happily to passersby, "Who you going to vote for?"

Whenever someone called back, "Obama!" they laughed and cheered.

At the same time, the prospect of a big crowd is creating worries about security. Acknowledging a sporadic history of hooliganism at music festivals and other events, Chicago police superintendent Jody Weis intoned, "We can't have mischief."

Weis canceled days off for all Chicago officers.

No alcohol will be served inside the fence that will encircle the ticketed supporters - only hot chocolate, a menu choice made long before anyone saw that lemonade might be a more appetizing beverage on what is expected to be a balmy night.

Such restrictions presumably do not apply to 7,500 invited guests who will enjoy separate tented quarters for the festivities, win or lose.

The gates to the rally enclosure will open at 8:30 p.m. local time, with Obama certain not to appear before the West Coast polls close at 11 p.m. EST, and perhaps much later.

One sign of the security concerns that accompany the Illinois Democrat wherever he goes is the bulletproof glass panels installed at each end of the stage from which he will address the crowd and the nation.

Mary Zoch, 59, feels "guardedly confident" that Obama will win Tuesday and set the table for a memorable night. Her friend Bianca Thompson, however, has no doubts.

"I'm sending out positive energy to the universe," said Thompson, 41, "to make sure it happens."

By Post Editor  |  November 3, 2008; 8:29 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Karl Rove Predicts Obama Blowout
Next: Biden Opens Up to Reporters for the First Time in a Month


Sooooo, on Foreign Policy;

Has O'Bomba ever Declared:

"On a Clear Day,

I can see Canada from my House!"

-We have to keep an eye on those guys! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | November 4, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee voted for Obama?

Report of some states that are already decided because of early voting.

Posted by: pastor123 | November 4, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Obama, from his memoir, "Dreams From My Father": "To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully ..... The Marxist professors (who teach the ideals of Karl Marx, writer of the Communist Manifesto) and structural feminists."

Posted by: American_Citizen | November 3, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 11/3/08

Ridge: Steelers and McCain will win
From a rally right outside of Pittsburgh this afternoon, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge said that the pundits will wake up two days in row having been wrong, because both the Pittsburgh Steelers and John McCain will win. Experts in sports and politics have both counted the Steelers out of winning the Monday Night Football game this evening against the Washington Redskins and (have) McCain losing...


Update 23-6 Steelers with 8 minute to go in the 4th quarter!
Ridge is Right- Go McCain!

Posted by: thecannula | November 3, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

From the Republican songbook:

Tin soldiers and Nixon commin
We're finally on our own
This summer I hear the drummin
Four dead in Ohio.........

Those kids died for nothing ...

as did the 58,000+ names on the black wall where we "honor" them....

Most died when Dick was gonna "bring the troops home with honor"

Sound familiar?

Not this time. Not this year.

Obama! 08!

See you on Wednesday........:-)

Counseling will be available.......

Posted by: toritto | November 3, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: thecannula | November 3, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I wish I were one of those 65000 supporters with a ticket! To be at the epicenter of this historic moment will be an event they will never forget!

I will be here, in Pennsylvania, volunteering for my County, working to be sure the election goes smoothly. Raise a toast for me, Chicagoans! Have a blast!

Posted by: PAVoter | November 3, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, "Father" John,

who is responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands Iraquis and 5,000 American men and women in Iraq? It's certainly not Barack Obama, who opposed that criminal war from the very beginning.

And when it comes to your so-called "values": Please refrain from your attempts to impose them on others!

Live your life and let other live theirs!

Posted by: DiversEquality2008 | November 3, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: thecannula | November 3, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Father John: Not this time. Not this year.

Obama! 08!

Posted by: toritto | November 3, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

November 3rd, 2008 12:39 PM Eastern
I’ll Say It Again, This Election Will Be Closer Than They Think.

Polls understandably tempt journalists to suggest the race has been “clinched” by Senator Obama (as John King did recently did on CNN). — I hope such predictions won’t affect anyone’s interest in voting.

Here are my reasons for believing the race will be closer than these polls indicate:

1) According to varied professional sources with whom I have spoken, there exists a proportionally high number of potential voters who are refusing to be polled or express their opinion publicly. In a historic, high-octane race like 2008, I believe there are more reasons for a McCain supporter to stay silent than for an Obama supporter. It is understandable to imagine McCain supporters fearing labels such as “racist,” “homophobe,” “single-issue-voter,” “warmonger,” or “against change,” even if the voter is none of these.

2) Similarly, pollsters have reported higher than usual numbers of undecided voters or voters still capable of changing their minds. People know Senator McCain. Do they know Senator Obama well enough to break for him this late in the game?

3) Most importantly, in 2004, pollsters were caught by surprise by the amount of voters who left the polls saying “social issues” were most influential in determining their vote. In 2008, the media has been mostly silent on these causes, focusing instead on the economy and Iraq. This focus ignores an important reality. The “Value Voters” block of mostly Evangelicals and a good percentage of conservative Catholics and others, may indeed be wrapped up in these urgent headlines, but there is no convincing data to suggest they have inverted their voting priorities, turning away from abortion, traditional marriage, limited government, etc. If Senator Kerry’s policy proposals were enough to get this voting block to the booth, Senator Obama’s policies should bring them out in droves.

So there you have my November 3rd take.

And if I’m right and the vote is close in 2008, when the Democratic Party has every political reason to wipe out the Republicans, it will mean our country rejects major elements of Senator Obama’s plan to revolutionize important American values, beginning with the right to life. Then the Democratic Party may see the benefit of freeing itself from the stranglehold of the culture of death, forced upon it by extreme, and extremely powerful, interest groups. What a relief it would be for “Values Voters” to have a viable alternative to the very imperfect Republican Party.

And what is your November 3rd prediction?

God bless,

Father Jonathan

Posted by: thecannula | November 3, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong

American Tune - Paul Simon/1973

Obama! 08!

Posted by: toritto | November 3, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing how many great ads could be made to coal states, to jewish and christian zionists, to free market capitalists, to defenders of the constitution with all that is suddenly coming out about obama...
Don't you kind of wish the MSM had properly vetted their candidate before anointing him?
I was on Hugh Hewitt discussing my phone call with Rashid Khalidi the other day and posted it at my blog...
Learn more about my phone call, more on Obama's definition of "Middle Class," and much more on my blog...

Posted by: bazznewzz | November 3, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

America, this one's for you.

Obama! 08!

Posted by: toritto | November 3, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

America, this one's for you.

Obama! 08!

Posted by: toritto | November 3, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Once before in my life I sat in front of my television set with a bottle of champagne during a political event. It was August 8, 1974, and Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency. Tomorrow night will be the second time I pop a champagne cork while the TV broadcasts a phenominal political moment. And how beautifully appropriate that the event will happen in the very spot that protesters fought the Chicago police during the 1968 convention.

Posted by: fid4wp | November 3, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Message from The National Republican Trust PAC
From Scott Wheeler

Dear Supporter:

The latest battleground poll from Fox News is out Monday afternoon for the key battleground states and it shows McCain is leading in Florida and North Carolina, tied in Ohio and Missouri and behind just a little in Colorado and Virginia. This is so close — McCain can win!

We here at the National Republican Trust PAC ( are targeting these battleground states for a McCain win.

As you can tell from the numbers, the election is in critical mode and any one of these state may make the difference in defeating Barack Obama.
Please Go Vote Tomorrow!

Let's Prove Jack Cafferty and Keith Olberman Can't Intimidate Us!

McCain/Palin 2008

Posted by: thecannula | November 3, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

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