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Baby-surfing, seat-swapping at Obama event
Helenair ^ | 4/5/08 | CHELSI MOY

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 - It’s 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 Montana’s 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, there’s no doubt about it.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful spoke to some 8,000 people stuffed in the University of Montana’s 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 weren’t allowed in the rally because they might re-strict the view of press cameras, Curtis had to do something else to get Obama’s attention.

He heard on CNN that “Rebel” is the Secret Service’s code name for Obama.

“I’ve 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 didn’t 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 Obama’s 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 didn’t 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 morning’s crowd was naturally dominated by Obama supporters, including Nate McConnell, 36, of Missoula, who was counting on his own personal mojo working on the senator’s 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, it’s best to be brief.

Engen, who endorsed Obama more than a week ago, spoke at Saturday’s rally shortly before the senator came on stage. He rattled off a list of one-word adjectives to describe why he supported Obama.

“He’s 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 didn’t 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 woman’s 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 can’t 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 Obama’s 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. “She’s a terrific senator. ... We are going to be unified by the time we get to Denver.”

It’s 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.

TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Montana
KEYWORDS: babysurfing; mt2008; obama
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To: 2001convSVT

And $200 trout stamps

41 posted on 04/06/2008 8:46:51 AM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: ozaukeemom

This bunch would take the grape KOOL-AID without a whimper.
What a tragic waste this closet Muslim will leave when he is defeated in November.

42 posted on 04/06/2008 8:50:04 AM PDT by Uncle George
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To: mylife
Or he will make Trout an endangered species, and make fish trout off limits to common folk (he and the ruling elite will be exempt of course).
43 posted on 04/06/2008 8:50:54 AM PDT by 2001convSVT ("People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence")
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To: 2001convSVT

Of course ;0)

44 posted on 04/06/2008 8:53:44 AM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Big Guy and Rusty 99
actually, I thought it said “baby-surfing, wife swapping at Obama event” and then I thought you know Bill Clinton got to be there.

Think about it, unless someone would be married to Hellen Thomas, who in their right mind would wife swap with Bill Clinton?

45 posted on 04/06/2008 8:57:19 AM PDT by mountn man (The pleasure you get from life, is equal to the attitude you put into it.)
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To: mylife

I wish he wouldn’t say “You guys.” Too informal. Yes, I know that ESL teachers use that phrase as a substitute for the second person plural, but Barack is a native English speaker.

46 posted on 04/06/2008 9:09:21 AM PDT by drubyfive
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To: A CA Guy

My brother and his wife were allowed to attend a meeting with the Pope in Rome. They had with them an eight month old daughter. My sister in law wanted to pass the baby down about 6 rows so that the Pope would bless her. My brother said “NO! -What if someone in the first row is praying for a baby!”

47 posted on 04/06/2008 9:13:40 AM PDT by Tweeker
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To: Conspiracy Guy

Just think of the negative publicity it generated when Michael Jackson held his kid up on that balcony, or when Britney Spears almost fell while carrying her baby. This looks like a pretty dangerous photo op.

48 posted on 04/06/2008 9:15:41 AM PDT by dawn53
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To: metesky
>>>I think I need to learn fly-fishing get some waders, go out there, clear my head.<<<

Shades of John F. Kerry...."where can I get me a hunt'in license aroun' here?"

If Obama clears his head, the debris would be a toxic Superfund Site

49 posted on 04/06/2008 9:18:25 AM PDT by HardStarboard (Take No Prisoners - We're Out Of Qurans)
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To: mylife
Obama's predecessor..... Fair use Disclaimer - Tape transcripts, summaries, some primary source documents, and all photographs on this site are free and available to the public for use by crediting: The Jonestown Institute,
50 posted on 04/06/2008 9:18:36 AM PDT by Darren McCarty (Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in - Michael Corleone)
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To: mylife

“Fly fishing”? Come on, Barack old Comrade, everybody knows you and the Rev do it with dynamite.

51 posted on 04/06/2008 9:29:55 AM PDT by Dionysius (Jingoism is no vice.)
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To: Phantom Lord

Natalie Pankratz-Osborn.

Pankratz, said to be descendents of fighters from the time of the Roman Empire who fought in contests, to the death, without weapons.

Yet, they surrendered to feminism without a whimper.

52 posted on 04/06/2008 10:27:48 AM PDT by Balding_Eagle (If America falls, darkness will cover the face of the earth for a thousand years.)
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To: montag813

Obama was just trying to ease her punishment. When his daughters are 24, 25, 26, are babies still going to be punishments? Or will easing the punishment of having a baby by abortion be okay by Senator Obama?

53 posted on 04/06/2008 10:39:49 AM PDT by Son House (Democrat High Tax Rates Suppress Opportunity and Jobs..)
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To: mylife
shaking hands with members of the overflow crowd, including Dan Taylor of Mis-soula, who held a sign reading: “Trout for Obama.”

"Mouth-Breathers for Obama"

54 posted on 04/06/2008 10:40:39 AM PDT by mikrofon (A fish tale)
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To: mikrofon


55 posted on 04/06/2008 10:41:28 AM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Yours is certainly the most fitting screen name ever coined.

56 posted on 04/06/2008 11:09:38 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: dawn53

Wouldn’t catch me at an Obama Rally with or without a baby.

57 posted on 04/06/2008 3:36:30 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (I voted Republican because no Conservatives were running.)
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