Youth Ball, Part II
Our colleague DeNeen Brown reports:
Geraldo Rivera is in rose color shades speaking in superlatives.
Kanye West just told a story on stage about his grandfather. "To see this day... This is the greatest story ever told." West starts singing, "Oh, Mama!" The crowd roars. "From all around, they came to speak to save a country they thought had lost its soul. The American dream... Obama...." The crowd chants: "Obama!" Fists raised. The U.S. Air Force Band starts playing.
The crowd chants, "USA! USA!" The color guard arrives. Digital cameras flash.
At 10:31 p.m., a voice announces: "Ladies and gentleman, the president of the United States."
A moment of doubt. We've heard this announcement thrice before -- earlier, when the band was practicing.
But then Obama and Michelle appear in the middle of the stage in front of a presidential shield.
The crowd roars. They are early!
Obama takes the microphone: "I've been looking forward to this ball for quite some time," Obama says. "Because when you look at the history of this campaign, what started out was an improbable journey. When no one gave us a chance....This was carried forward, inspired, driven by, energized by young people all across America."
The crowd roars. "Yes, we can! Yes, we can." They shoot raised fists in the air.
Obama raises his left hand. And they fall quiet.
"I can't tell you how many people have come up to Michelle and myself and said, 'My daughter, she wouldn't budge. She just told me I need to vote for Obama.' And 'My son has been out volunteering, traveling and knocking on doors, getting involved.'"
He said it was this generation that inspired others. "That is how change happens in America. It doesn't just happen in elections and campaigns, it happens in service all across America.... We know young people, everywhere, are in the process of imagining something different than what has come before. Where there is war, they imagine peace. Where there is hunger, they imagine something different than what has come before. Where there is war, they imagine peace. Where there is hunger, they imagine people being able to feed themselves. Where there is disease they imagine a public health system that works.
"Where there is bigotry, they imagine togetherness. The future will be in your hands.... You will make it happen."
The crowd chants: "Yes, we can! Yes, we can!"
Then Obama takes Michelle's hand and kisses her. Looks in her eyes the way they used to on slow dances. He wraps his hand on her waist. He snuggles her cheek and they swirl, real slow. He smiles. She smiles. They twirl to a tuba music.
He swings her out and looks out at the audience, like watch this.
They dance from 10:37 p.m. to 10:38. Obama grabs the mike: "That's what's called old school. Have a great night, guys! Thank you."
A woman in black says: "Did you see the way he looks at her? That's no joke. That dance was beautiful."
A man says: "Did you recognize that song?"
"No," a woman in a red dress says. "But that was beautiful. He really seems to love her. You can't fake that. The way he looks at her."
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