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Obama in Newport News

Tim Craig

Thousands of people crammed into Victory Landing Park in downtown Newport News today to hear Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) speak during his sixth visit to Virginia since June.

With a Navy ship as a backdrop, Obama unveiled a new blistering attack on Arizona Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) health care policies. It will be Obama's first big rally in Hampton Roads, a key swing area in the election, since February, when he drew 18,000 to Virginia Beach. There were also an estimated 18,000 people at today's event.

"This isn't politics for me, this is personal," Obama said, referring to his late mother. "I know something about our broken health care system." He later added, "everyone knows the health care system is not working...The question is not whether we can afford to fix health care. The question is how can we afford not to?"

Obama said McCain wants to tax existing health plans. "John McCain is pulling an old bait and switch," Obama said.

Earlier today, U.S. Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who supports McCain, held a conference call with Virginia reporters to say he thinks Obama is out-of-touch with voters in Hampton Roads because of his views on taxes and the military.

"He has arrived on territory I've been on for a half century," said Warner, a veteran and a former Secretary of the Navy. "I know and respect people from that region."

U.S. Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-Va.) introduced Obama.

"We need change. We need more jobs," Scott said. "Ready for some more jobs? Ready for more health care? ... Whoever carries Virginia will be the next president of the United States."

Although the setting on the banks of the James River is scenic, the rally appears to be as much about voter registration as it was about giving people an opportunity to see the candidate. The stage was set up at the bottom of small knoll, and more than half of the who attended were not able to see the candidate.

The park is located close to a low-income section of Newport News with high rates of unregistered, primarily African-American, voters. This morning, as thousands of people streamed toward the park, dozens of Obama volunteers were manning corners making sure people were registered.

" I want everyone to get registered. You cannot sit this election out, it is too important," Obama told the crowd when he took the stage. "We need you on November 4."

Carole Talbert traveled from Elizabeth City North Carolina to attend.

"I would not have missed this opportunity," Talbert said. "It really is historic."

Lauren Svestka, 19, a student at Christopher Newport University, said she was "disappointed" by her view but said the turnout was encouraging.

"I am just so excited there are so many people here and people are coming," Svestka said. "Newport News is supportive and you can see it by the thousands of people here."

But there was a mini rebellion toward the rear of the park. Apparently, dozens of people were told they would get priority viewing of the stage if they volunteered at today's event. They were later told there is no room for them to get closer.

"We have been here since 6 a.m. working and now we are being told we have to stay back here," said Chaquira Walters. "They lied to us."

"Just continue volunteering," one woman who appeared to be affiliated with the campaign told the crowd of disgruntled supporters.

By Tim Craig  |  October 4, 2008; 1:13 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Next: Biden Cancels Va. Stops on Sunday; Bayh to Fill In

Comments

McCain was in Media, PA a few days ago, and now Obama is in Newport News, VA . . . The fourth estate is getting all kinds of attention from the candidates, isn't it!

Posted by: Chris | October 4, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

I invite everybody in this conversation to inspire others to vote. Go to this site: http://www.amillionreasonstovote.com and share one of your million reasons to vote.

Posted by: A proud American Voter | October 4, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I just voted and will be turning in my vote by mail today!

Obama/Biden 08

Posted by: jerry rubin | October 4, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The rally was amazing!!! We waited hours to see and hear him and we did! His speech was inspiring to all of us and I especially appreciated the part about asking Americans to take steps to be responsible for their wellness as part of his health care initiative! He will ask us to be the best we can be and the American people can do it with him. I believe in his ability to lead, inspire and bring people together and to heal our image in the world through understanding cultural differences. We need his leadership now.

Posted by: newport news resident | October 4, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I watched the Virginia rally "Live" on CNN.com and it was thrilling! I believe Barack is really connecting with people now, he's talking stright to them and he's getting through. The McCain campaign is going to get nasty now because everything they have been using is not working, you can feel it coming! Lets not get fooled this time and stay above it. With Barack we'll be able to start down a better road and its really important that we do now. We don't need any further proof that this last eight years was a complete waste. Time to change the backdrop! On to bigger and better things!

Thanks for this opportunity.

Frank DeFonda

Posted by: Frank DeFonda | October 4, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It's nice that people at the rally for Obama found him so inspiring. He voted for the FISA and the hugh bailout and people are still mesmerized by him. If you want to vote for him, that's fine. But you should take the time to watch these two videos so you can be ready to defend him in case he needs you.

Watch this video and see how Democrats fought against the Republican's attempt in 2004 to investigate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's illegal bookkeeping.

http://www.youtube.com/watch...

Obama was in the senate then and later when the Republicans made several attempts to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Here's a video that contains part of a 2005 meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus and where the Interim CEO of Fannie Mae spoke. Obama and Michelle attended the meeting. Some of the CEO's comments are: "I am humbled to come here today to reaffirm the friendship and partnership between Fannie Mae and the Congressional Black Caucus. It is true that Fannie Mae has lent more money to more minorities and more under served individuals than any single company in history. Fannie Mae is determined to keep tearing down the barriers to deliver on the American dream, and that means we need to work together with the Congressional Black Caucus. So many of you have been good friends of Fannie Mae and our mission. We have been friends through thick and thin. We have indeed come upon a difficult time. In many ways I want to tell you today you are also the conscience of Fannie Mae, keeping us on course to serve those who need serving the most."

Obama had to know about the questionable accounting practices and high bonuses at Mae and Mac since he entered the Senate in 2004. He also should have known that the mortgages these financial institutions were involved in had to have a high risk of failure. Here it is 2008, he has thrown them under the bus and he is now leading in the polls because voters think he knows how to handle the economy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch...

Posted by: MAF | October 4, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama and the Democrats are pro-criminal. In order to help Obama, Democrat Governor Kaine of Virginia is restoring the voting rights of felons.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/03/kaine-restores-voting-rights-to-1500-felons-in-ele/

Posted by: tj | October 4, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Governor Kaine should be ashamed. The Democraps are so desperate that they are allowing hardened criminals vote. This, in addition to their usual voter fraud. They really don't deserve to win this election.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/03/kaine-restores-voting-rights-to-1500-felons-in-ele/

Will Obama keep hanging around with terrorists (William Ayers) and racists (Rev. Wright) if he gets elected?

Posted by: Dr. Mark | October 4, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hardened criminals? He is only following the example of 38 out of the 50 states, according to your own article you linked to.

What is the big deal about that?

Posted by: Silver Spring. | October 4, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I was in Newport News this morning. It's my day off, and I got up early to be there. I knew I may not get to see him. I knew I had to get there early and I did. I waited for hours and watched people pass out, because it was hot out.

But, see him or not, you heard him, and the enthusiasm from everyone there. It was amazing and worth every second!!!

And yes, they had lots of people there asking if everyone was registered. There were tons of people there selling pins, shirts, hats and flags. But, everyone was there for one thing.

Obama/Biden 2008

Posted by: Yes...Amazing rally!! | October 4, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Why shouldn't those who have done their time have their voting rights restored. The most severe restrictions were in the Old South when it was solidly Democratic and used by the power structure that had money to keep poor whites and blacks from voting. I think there were a whole lot of so called Christians that never read the Sermon on the Mount.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | October 4, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I was in Newport News this morning. It's my day off, and I got up early to be there. I knew I may not get to see him. I knew I had to get there early and I did. I waited for hours and watched people pass out, because it was hot out.

But, see him or not, you heard him, and the enthusiasm from everyone there. It was amazing and worth every second!!!

And yes, they had lots of people there asking if everyone was registered. There were tons of people there selling pins, shirts, hats and flags. But, everyone was there for one thing.

Obama/Biden 2008

Posted by: Yes...Amazing rally!! | October 4, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I was in Newport News this morning. It's my day off, and I got up early to be there. I knew I may not get to see him. I knew I had to get there early and I did. I waited for hours and watched people pass out, because it was hot out.

But, see him or not, you heard him, and the enthusiasm from everyone there. It was amazing and worth every second!!!

And yes, they had lots of people there asking if everyone was registered. There were tons of people there selling pins, shirts, hats and flags. But, everyone was there for one thing.

Obama/Biden 2008

Posted by: Yes...Amazing rally!! | October 4, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that you didnt mention that Florida Gov Charlie Christ who is a Republican also restored voting rights for felons.......

Posted by: American First | October 4, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Come on Virginia!! Your decision will have an effect for at least four years. We're counting on you! Help us get Obama/Biden. They will be a Team in our favor! Come on lets do it! We're strong this year! You can do it!

Posted by: Obama2008 | October 4, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

SENATOR MC CAIN and the HOUSE CAUSED A WORLD WIDE LOST OF $2 TRILLION DOLLARS IN STOCK MARKET VALUE ON MONDAY.

Posted by: Futurejumps | October 4, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

We are on the verge of landslide on Nov. 4. Get everyone registered and get out the vote!

Posted by: Michael | October 4, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Exactly how does Sen. John W. Warner's comments fit into this story on Obama's speech except to shown how terribly out of touch the old statesman has become himself? Obama and Biden are very much in tune with ordinary citizen's concerns with the economy, heath care and a Iraq, just ask the 18,000 people who waited for hours in Newport News to hear Obama speak!

Posted by: DaveinGloucester | October 4, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

We were there too. Many folks couldn't see him due to the rolling layout of the park by the ocean but (as mentioned before) see him or not, the energy, the enthusiasm, and the overwhelming emotional support of everyone there lent a special, magical air to the afternoon. The huge multiracial crowd, complete with a Charter bus all the way from Howard University (there could have been others ..I can't testify to that), sprawled sideways from the actual stage set-up. Yes, people passed out from the heat, but I almost passed out from the positive electrical energy generated by Obama's speech. Leaving the venue because we had to park almost a half mile away, we became slightly lost and wound up on a strange corner populated with around 50 or so people and an assorted stationary police contingent on bicycles not far from the oceanside park. Little did we know that Obama's motorcade would be passing right there in about 5 minutes. Stunned with this understanding, we stood there a moment and all of sudden we saw about 8 motorcycle lights, three or four Black SUV's, and a large bus come into view. When everryone suddenly begn chanting "O-BA-MA O-BA-MA" I grabbed my camera, aimed at the motorcycles and one of the SUV's ...and was actually shocked to see Barack Obama sternly smiling (if one can do that) and waving his left hand at the actual side of the street that we were on. I tried to get one more shot, but my crazy, half broken camera (something's wrong with the gears that fully extend the lens apparatus) said "change battery pack!" A perfect end to a perfect afternoon. We couldn't have asked for anything more. ...Well, maybe we could ask for a winning Democratic election, and based on today's experience, it looks like it will happen!

Posted by: I. and G. Clark | October 4, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

GOBAMA!
Let's keep the positive momentum going! We are going to win this! Put in every ounce of energy you have to speak the truth! Help register all Americans to participate in our fundamental right to vote! The stakes are too high not to participate. Do not let nasty, partisan, hateful and cheap smear tactics work. Raise your voice and cast your vote
OBAMA/BIDEN '08

Posted by: psnlf | October 4, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

If Obama takes either Virginia or Florida, it's over.

Posted by: IndependentforObama | October 4, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

If John McCain wants to get into a character war, it's his funeral. There are enough skeletons in that guy's closet to make John Edwards look like a paragon of morality. McCain's sorry career will be finished:

- Marital infidelity and betrayal;

- Divorce;

- Compulsive gambling;

- Directly implicated in S&L scandals;

- Legacied into Annapolis but...

- Practically failed out;

- Questionable military record (he crashed FOUR USG aircraft and only saw 20 hours of combat);

- Close relationships with American Taliban like Jerry "9/11 Was God's Will" Falwell.

John McCain does NOT want to go down this road.

Posted by: William J. | October 4, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Please, MAF, as if everyone in Washington wasn't in on the money . . . it's called greed and it's pervasive. McCain was a member of the Keating 5! That may have been too long for most voters, but he was found by the Senate to have "poor judgement" after getting 100's of thousands of dirty money . . .

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

. Here it is 2008, he has thrown them under the bus and he is now leading in the polls because voters think he knows how to handle the economy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch...

Posted by: MAF | October 4, 2008 4:07 PM

Posted by: delantero | October 4, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Only stupid, redneck, racist, republicans can listen to Palin!!! She is a complete idiot, and ANYBODY who thinks she great is one of the listed:

1. Stupid
2. Racist
3. Trailer Neighbor
4. Redneck
5. Gullible

You guys really believe McCain/Palin care about your situation!!! You see Bush didn't....dummies! What makes you think they will....!!

Posted by: Scott S | October 4, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Don't believe Republican LIES, FABRICATIONS and MISREPRESENTATIONS of Obama and his policies.

McBush and the Pitbull know they cannot make legitimate attacks on Obama, so what do they do? They stoop so low into the gutter and MAKE UP STUFF about him to try to instill fear into people and to deflect attention from their HOPELESS CALAMITY of a campaign and lack of true plans, policies and ideas about reform.

FACTS ABOUT OBAMA:
1. He is a Harvard law professor and constitutional law expert, with a Juris Doctor of Law degree and is involved in many senate committees such as foreign affairs, homeland security, veterans affairs, health, education and family (he has the qualifications and experince)

2. He is patriotic and only cares about America and the interests of its people

3. He is not and has never been a Muslim

4. He is not and has never been associated with terrorists

5. He has never been to a "madrassa"

6. He is not planted by Osama Bin Laden to infiltrate America (don't laugh, some idiots really believe this!)

VOTE OBAMA, not McBush

Posted by: kate | October 4, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Obama is going to be one of the most important presidents this country has ever produced..he is already becoming an internatinoal figure and people in foreign countries are praying for him and his election..

Joe Biden is also going to be a helpful and great vice president..the new cabinet will have their work cut out for them..the business of cleaning up after the Repugs is going to be enormous .. we will all have to help..

Obama is a true patriot..

Posted by: goodcake4 | October 4, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

If you have read one of today's headlines, Palin ad McCain have decided to take the low road. Not surprisingly, she has very little knowledge of the constitution nor of Washington politics, so she has to stoop to criticizing one aspect of Obama's life, his friends. I'm in no way condoning Obama's friendship with Bill Ayer's, but as I see it, Obama was in elementary school in the 1970's. He DID NOT take part in any of that...how many of us have perfect friends who have perfect pasts?
This is a way of deflecting the truth and what has happened over the last eight years. Before Bush went into office, I paid $.79 for a gallon of gas (nationwide - $.86 a gallon), now it is over $3.00 (has anyone noticed that it is dropping before the election), was living in a country that was respected around the world, had stocks that were worth something, and had friends who were not killed in a senseless war (the most cruel injustice of all).
Sarah Palin, who is a heartbeat away from the presidency, does not even know her duties as vice-president (see debate). How can she and McCain, known often as McBush, stop this Bush-induced downward spiral? They can't and will not. It is time to stop this downward spiral - vote Obama/Biden - 2008!

Posted by: Tina | October 5, 2008 6:44 AM | Report abuse

If Obama takes either Virginia or Florida, it's over.
Posted by: IndependentforObama
********************************
If Obama wins, it's over for all of us. You forgot to add Ohio to your list. Right now they are registering people who don't have to show any identification and they are letting them vote early. Obama supporters can't get there fast enough. Just saw a sign in one of the voter polls, In Person Absentee Ballot voting. A perfect example of an oxymoron.


Posted by: WilliamW | October 5, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

See Out Takes Of the VP Debates
http://www.watchdebates.com

See John McCain loosing his temper,
and saying the f word over and over again.
http://www.mccanes.com

Posted by: Anonymous | October 5, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Each person, one vote. Why are the Republicans afraid of an ex-felon or a new voter who registers and votes? Everybody gets one.

Posted by: Rosalind Taylor | October 5, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Jon Voight Accuses Obama of everything under the sun in a rant on fox. http://www.HuckabeeShow.com

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

William W...I can't believe you are serious. Another quote I read once was 'apocalypse'.

What needs to happen for it to really sink in what has happened to our country the last 7 years?

These republicans have lied, cheated and surrendered the lives of thousands of our young soldiers. They have outed our CIA agents. They ignored as our bridges and levees collapse.

The GOP has forgotten who they work for!

The republicans have lied about their so called 'family values'. Senator Craig getting busted in an airport restroom. Vitter caught with a prositute, while bashing and humiliating Clinton for having a consensual affair. On and on and on...The GOP has NOTHING to show..nothing!!

Take a look at the pictures and the signs. It's about CHANGE.

If you are really for 'country first' then you won't sell out with a vote for McCain.

I love this place...

Obama/Biden

Posted by: Oh William W.. | October 6, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

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