Yesterday, as part of our Peace Voter campaign, I had the pleasure of attending an Obama rally at University of Maryland. Obama’s visit came just before the Potomac Primary today.
As I usually do before a political event I printed a modest amount of literature and arrived (when I thought was) early. Little did I know the pull of an Obama rally in the state of Maryland where he is expected to win today. There were over 16,000 students & citizens gathered in the Comcast auditorium and I stood in line with them, freezing, passing out information, and listening to their opinions of the Democratic candidates.
Many of the students looked at Obama as a new voice in politics – one who they believe can bring more Republican voters to the polls for him. Others came specifically to the rally because they planned on voting for Clinton but wanted to get a sense of Obama before the Potomac Primary. Those voters were most concerned about the elect-ability of the Democratic candidate in a race against the leading Republican John McCain and, of course, the ability of that candidate to work within Washington once elected.
As a registered independent it is not often I go to these party specific events. I never really understood the scale of it all: jumbo screens played rock videos, students cheered slogans in unison, and the crowd stood through the entire hour of Obama’s speech. It was pretty exciting to say the least – more like March Madness as Obama commented at the beginning of his speech.
Obama touched on his platforms for healthcare, the occupation, and accessibility of higher education. One of the most salient points of his speech (with regard to Peace Action issues) was Iran. He asserted himself as a candidate not afraid to speak with people who disagree with him. In this context he talked about working with Republicans lawmakers and negotiating directly with Iran.
Clinton held her rally at Bowie State (too far for me to go) where according to the Times Online, “…she acknowledged that many black voters face a challenging choice between her candidacy and Mr Obama’s, adding: ‘It’s a good problem to have.’” Clinton recently replaced her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, with Maggie Williams, an African-American and long-time confidante who had been her chief of staff in the White House.
So, my question to you – who has your vote? Hillary? Barrack? Paul? McCain? Huckabee? I’d also love to hear about other rallies around the country.