Skip to comments.Baby-surfing, seat-swapping at Obama event
Posted on 04/06/2008 7:59:55 AM PDT by mylife
Baby-surfing, seat-swapping at Obama event By CHELSI MOY - Missoulian - 04/05/08 AP Photo/Alex Brandon - Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., right, reaches over the crowd to take Missoula infant Natalie Pankratz-Osborn, 8 months, at a rally at the Adams Center at the University of Montana Saturday. MISSOULA - Its doubtful that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will have any time soon to kick back with a fly rod and learn the delicate skills of one of Montanas most treasured pastimes, yet he sounded interested just the same on Saturday.
You guys have a nice deal around here, Obama told a packed crowd in the Adams Center. This is some pretty country out here. I think I need to learn fly-fishing get some waders, go out there, clear my head. We may have to come back to Missoula, theres no doubt about it.
The Democratic presidential hopeful spoke to some 8,000 people stuffed in the University of Montanas basketball arena, and another 500 watching a live broadcast on the Jumbotron in Washington-Grizzly Sta-dium. In some ways, his speech resembled a sporting event more than a political rally.
Tickets to the event sold out in a matter of hours. Music blared. Outside, vendors sold souvenir buttons and T-shirts. Inside, cheering fans waved signs and passed the time by doing the wave. The scoreboard in each corner of the arena read OBAMA and the clock read 20:08.
There was even crowd surfing sort of.
As Obama shook hands with supporters after his speech, a parent several rows back passed a baby for-ward to have its photo taken with Obama. Afterward, the senator handed the infant back to the crowd. The baby was then passed back, presumably to the right parent.
Only two homemade signs hung inside the arena. A sign-making party at campaign headquarters in Mis-soula on Friday never materialized. Yet, people were excited.
Aaron Curtis friends could not talk him out of painting Rebel 4 Pres on his face.
The 22-year-old was determined to shake the hand of the man whom Curtis is confident will be the next president of the United States. Since homemade signs werent allowed in the rally because they might re-strict the view of press cameras, Curtis had to do something else to get Obamas attention.
He heard on CNN that Rebel is the Secret Services code name for Obama.
Ive never met anyone famous, said Curtis, of Missoula.
When Obama came near the crowd, Curtis reached out his hand. It was more of a brush than a shake, but that didnt matter.
It was like a heart-stopping moment, he said.
It was still dark when Tami Adams arrived at the Adams Center. She got in the line, which eventually stretched west through the parking lot, around the side of the University of Montana Law School, by the University Theater and back to Arthur Avenue.
Adams two girlfriends joined her an hour later.
Except, Adams registered online for a ticket while the others picked up orange tickets from Obamas campaign headquarters in Missoula Thursday. Once inside, her friends were ushered to the floor section and Adams was sent to the nosebleed rows.
I kept going up and up and up, she said. I didnt stand in line at 5:45 a.m. to sit up here.
Adams later sneaked down to the floor, nodding yes as volunteers asked whether she had an orange ticket. I wanted to get a good seat, she said.
Saturday mornings crowd was naturally dominated by Obama supporters, including Nate McConnell, 36, of Missoula, who was counting on his own personal mojo working on the senators behalf. McConnell saw Bill Clinton in 1992 when he was running for president, and of course Clinton was successful. But McCon-nell missed opportunities to see Democratic candidates Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. Both lost.
I thought that my coming here today and seeing (Obama), maybe my magic could work, said McCon-nell, a research historian.
Missoula Mayor John Engen stared at a blank Microsoft Word sheet on his computer screen for half an hour Friday.
When you are speaking within minutes of one of the great modern orators, Engen said, its best to be brief.
Engen, who endorsed Obama more than a week ago, spoke at Saturdays rally shortly before the senator came on stage. He rattled off a list of one-word adjectives to describe why he supported Obama.
Hes smart, honest, decent, compassionate, fair, thoughtful, innovative, collaborative, tough, wise, hum-ble and human, he said. Frankly, folks, I think he could be a Missoulian.
Afterward, Engen had a chance to sit down with Obama for several minutes, but knowing what to say was a tad overwhelming. A somewhat-nervous Engen mentioned the troubles with finding affordable housing in Missoula and elsewhere in the West.
The man is remarkably intelligent, but he put me right at ease, said Engen, who only hours after his endorsement speech was posted on YouTube, with both French and English headlines, had already received a dozen e-mails from Obama supporters worldwide. One of the videos already had nearly 5,000 hits.
As Obama spoke inside the Adams Center, security guards and police turned away some people who had tickets to the event, but who didnt get there in time to claim their seats before the center filled up.
Rosemary Caye, 47, of Elmo, on the Flathead Reservation, pleaded with a woman blocking the entrance to the Adams Center.
My sister is inside saving a seat for me, said Caye, brandishing her ticket in the womans face. Please, I drove 80, 90 miles per hour to get here, and I just walked about a mile from Miller Hall, and now I cant even see Barack.
Caye said she wanted to see Obama because I believe he can make a change, not only for my people, in-digenous people, but for people throughout the United States.
The woman at the door firmly directed Caye to Washington-Grizzly Stadium, where Obamas speech was being shown on the Jumbotron. His words echoed through the chilly air.
Those who made their way to the stadium were rewarded, however, when Obama made a surprise stop there after his speech, shaking hands with members of the overflow crowd, including Dan Taylor of Mis-soula, who held a sign reading: Trout for Obama.
Brian Borsett has lived in Missoula for 25 years and in Washington, D.C., before that. Never has he seen a candidate generate this kind of excitement, especially among the younger generations.
The Smurfit-Stone pulp mill worker liked that Obama talked about capping carbon emissions and appre-ciated that he said nice things about his Democratic opponent, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
I admire Sen. Clinton, Obama said. Shes a terrific senator. ... We are going to be unified by the time we get to Denver.
Its important for people to hear that, Borsett said.
A lot of people are in doubt, he said.
Missoulian assistant city editor Gwen Florio contributed to this story.
It could happen ;)
Aint it the truth?!!
I wouldn't do that, even at Thanksgiving dinner, where I knew everybody, much less in a roomful of strangers...
I hear Bill Clinton likes fly fishing too. :-)
That was Monica
All of the folks on this thread that wring their hands as though some sort of child abuse occurred here are frightening.
OBAMA had evidently a stupid mother planted before every event who is willing to have her baby used as a prop exposing the Rev. Wright hated child to multiple diseases and trauma as it is passed like a pinata to the stage.
Motherhood not at it's finest.
There is no shortage of them, thats for sure.
What the hell is wrong with this stupid woman??? She should be arrested for child neglect.
Sounds like an Obasm.
And if he gets to be President he will END IT. Stupid, stupid people, more and bigger government is what he plans on bringing, more laws, more taxes and more government intervention. If you want to preserve your way of life Montana work hard to make sure he is not elected!
Rebel without a clue