Michelle Obama incites 10,000+ FL hopemongers! Pics & Video!
by Bob Sackamento, Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 04:29:39 PM EDT
Michelle Obama was in my former hometown of Gainesville, Florida, this past Wednesday drumming up the early vote. In a backdrop befitting our distinguished next first lady, over 10,000 zealous hopemongers attended her GOTV rally at the historic landmark, the Hippodrome State Theater:
The diverse crowd represented all walks of life and included everyone from students to seniors. The resulting imagery illustrated what most people recognize as the real America. The following picture, courtesy of Andrew Wise, of Wise Startup Blog, is a birds eye view of the largest crowd assembled yet for a Michelle Obama rally:
This is what the Hippodrome State Theater looks like without the magnetic presence of Mrs. Obama:
People began gathering for Michelle's rally more than four hours before she spoke, and the Gainesville Sun chronicled some of the attendees' thoughts as they eagerly waited. Note how their remarks contrast with the "OOOOOGA! OOOOOGA!" grunts commonplace at McCain/Palin rallies.
Sonia the Nurse, 59, of Leesburg, FL:
"I just want to give my support for the next president of the United States, Barack Obama, any small way I can," Palmer said. "We support his health care proposal because we see how people suffer and the high cost of health care. And we want it to be available to more people."
A random driver of a black Mercedes:
"Go Obama!" he shouts.
To which a ruly mob responded:
The crowd responds: "Woooow!"
"Yes, we can! Yes, we can!" the chant begins. Mostly people are just waiting patiently, with smiles on their faces in the moderate temperature.
Gail McCray remarks on the personal impact of Michelle Obama's visit:
"This is like the next stop to being in heaven."
McCray, who is African American, noted that she's 54. "So you know where I came from. ... Words cannot explain what this means to people."
Margaret Patterson, who is 92 and had doubts that she would ever see an African American achieve this moment, traveled from nearby Ocala to see Michelle stump for her husband. She had this to say about the history-making Democratic nominee:
"He is so hopeful for the future," Patterson said. "And he's supportive of all people."
Sitting in her wheelchair, she had good view of the stage where Michelle Obama would speak to the crowd in a few minutes.
"I haven't voted early yet, but I probably will," she said. "I'm just so excited."
Not surprisingly, Obamabots were also spotted:
Michelle began her speech with a rousing Gator Chomp--a clear demonstration that she "gets it." Her visit to Gainesville fell during Homecoming week for the University of Florida, which was highly appropriate. Not only is Gainesville Gator Country, but it's also Obama Country.
She went on to give her ringing endorsement of Barack Obama and urged the attendees to take advantage of the early voting occuring in Florida. She even called out the Gainesville Public library only a block away. With trademark Obama discipline and focus, she cautioned the audience against taking comfort in the ubiquitous signs of an impending landslide victory:
"I don't care what the pundits say because they've said a bunch of everything this year," she said. "As far as I'm concerned, Barack Obama will be the underdog until he is sitting in the Oval Office."
Here's some great video footage of the rally:
And a final thought from the sagacious next first lady:
"No one is going to deliver us from ourselves but us."