San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 27th, 2008
Blogging Obama

10:16 p.m. | “I know change isn’t easy. I know it has to be fortified by political will and power. … But I also know nothing worthwhile in this country has ever happened except someone somewhere was willing to hope.” He talks about the Founding Fathers and abolitionists and Civil Rights workers being motivated by hope. “That’s what hope is, Texas State! … Texas State this is our moment. This is our time. If you will stand for me, we will not just win this nomination. We’ll win this presidency and we will work together and we will change this country and we’ll change this world.”

He shakes hands and waves on stage to “Signed, sealed, delivered.” Over for now.

10:13 p.m. | “Noticed lately Sen. Clinton been criticizing us. They’re saying we’re all inspiration. … Just giving nice erspeeches. … Peddling false hopes. … Doesn’t know how things work. … He’s a hope-monger. Fascinating to me this notion that some how if you’re promoting hope somehow you must be naive, somehow your head must be in the clouds… Bet there are some people here hwo know about hard times. Weren’t born into fame or fortune. Raised by single-parents or grandparents. People here that lost jobs before. Don’t see people at my rallies looking through rose-colored glasses. We know how hard its going to be to bring change to America.”

10:09 p.m. | “I admire John McCain’s service to our country. He is a genuine American hero. He deserves our respect and our gratitude. But I have to say when it comes to policy, John McCain isn’t looking forward, he’s looking backward…. He is not going to bring about change. .. No plan to provide health care for every kid in America. No plan to deal with our education system. Heard on the news this morning that he had news for us: Al Queda’s in Iraq. … I do know Al Queda’s in Iraq. No such thing as Al Queda in Iraq until he followed George Bush and went into war into Iraq. Got some news for John McCain took us into a war in Iraq that never should have been authorized, never should have been waged. News for John McCain: They took their eyes off the ball, took eyes off people who killed 3,000 Americans, who are still at-large, are stronger in Pakistan than any time since 2001. Like to say follow Osama bin Laden into gates of hell but so far only followed George Bush into the quagmire of Iraq. Tied to policies of the past and I want to create policies of the future. He is with party of yesterday and I want to create party of tomorow, right here in San Marcos, right here in Texas.”

9:58 p.m. | “It’s time to make college affordable for every student in america 4000 tuition credit. not going to get it for free, young people. Going to have to put in some time and community service. Going to have to work in homeless shelter, or veterans home, join the Peace Corp or foreign service. We invest in you; you invest in America — and we can change this country.”

9:57 p.m. | “The problem isn’t that we don’t know how to solve our education problem. The problem is that not everybody believes every kid is worth the effort. They look at some kids in inner city Houston or Dallas or Austin and think ‘They’re not my problem.” They look at some kid in the barrio and say ‘That’s not my problem.” They look at some kid in a poor town in East Texas … and say ‘That’s not my problem.'”

9:55 p.m. | Loudest cheer of the night so far when he talks about corporations, golden parachutes and outsourcing. (The next segment includes a line on making sure we don’t have lead-based paint on toys from overseas. Seems a little odd for the audience.)

9:51 p.m. | He tells two health care stories from families in — guess where? — Texas and Ohio. Then this bit: “I talk to veterans proud of their service and rightly so. They have done everything thats been asked of them. They think about those who are still over there, their buddies, and they question about a mission that has cost us so dearly in blood and treasure and the country is not any safer. … Those are the stories I’m hearing all across the country. People are having a tough time. They are not depending on government to solve all their problems. The American people are fiercely independent — they know they have to work hard and struggle. But they expect maybe a government that knocks down some of those barriers.”

9:47 p.m. | “No matter what happens when you go into polling place [in November], the name George W. Bush won’t be on the ballot.” Crowd starts chanting: “No more Bush.” Obama: “Remember he’s coming back to Texas when he’s done.”

9:45 p.m. | “Change doesn’t happen from the top down. Change happens from bottom up. Change happens because American people are decent and generous and willing to sacrifice to benefit future generations. Determined if just bring country together get beyond the old divisions, the old problems, — Black, white, Hispanic and Asian, young and old, rich and poor — get over the toxic atmosphere our politics has become. Challenge ourselves to be better, not just better parents and neighbors but better citizens no problem cannot sold and no destiny we cannot achieve.”

9:40 p.m. | He warms up with part of his standard stump speech: “We are at a defining motion for our history. Nation is at war . Planet is in peril. Dream so many people fought for feels like it slowly slipping away. People working harder just to get by.”

9:35 p.m. | Obama takes the stage. “Y’all do it big in Texas!” The crowd goes wild. He thanks Strange, Nugent and form Texas Democratic Party Chair Charles Soechting, a San Marcos attorney.

9:33 p.m. | Nugent: “Today we have deficit spending out of control — health care costs higher than ever —oil at all time high — inflation on rise and America, like it or not, is in a recession. We have a number of challenges — economic , moral and social. No doubt that we are worse off now than were eight years ago. Today America needs a leader who can unite and inspire us. … Tonight that leader is with us. …”

9:28 p.m. | Courtney Strange, president of the Texas State Democrats, introduces Lyndon Nugent, grandson of Texas State alum Lyndon B. Johnson.

9:21 p.m. | A caravan of Suburbans pulls up at the gate to Sewell Park behind the stage where the audience can’t seem. I don’t see Obama but the the press area is suddenly flooded with what is apparently is his traveling press corp. Some of the people in press corp are dancing to the funky music. [After leaving, I see two huge buses in addition to the dark-colored SUVs that were not visible form my vantage point earlier.]

9:15 p.m.: | Adam, the local field officer, is talking. He says the senator will be here in a moment and the crowd groans. Someone in the press corp says the unofficial count is 10,000 to 13,000 people in attendance.

9:13 p.m. | Obama is in the building, the band guy just announced. Then he said they’ll be playing at Lucy’s tomorrow.

9:08 | Band is still playing but it shouldn’t be long. I heard someone try to talk their way into VIP earlier saying he was with his mom who is going to be on stage with Mayor Susan Narvaiz. I just saw State Rep. Patrick M. Rose come in. And Congressman Lloyd Doggett is here, seated with Scott Gregson, who owns Newstreamz. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Turns out, neither Doggett or apparently Rose were there. I’m seeing aparitions.] The Obama campaign’s paid and volunteer staff has been operating out of Gregson’s downtown office/residence for more than a week now. The ground work they did — and the large turn out at the Kennedy rally last week — helped convince Obama to come here, from what I gather from chatting with some of the Texas State Democrats including Courtney Strange, Eric Heggie, Sam McCabe and Mathew Golding.

8: 48 | There are signs of security everywhere. There is what looks like a sniper or two on top of Strahan Colesium and maybe Clear Springs apartments across Aquarena Springs. There are also plainclothed men with sharp jaw lines lurking about. When I came in, I heard one of the suits ask one of the other suits if he knew who I was. The other guy said to ask. Just then Fire Chief Mike Baker and Police Chief Howard Williams came through. Baker said, “Don’t let him in. He’s trouble.” But then said he was kidding and that I am a good guy.

8:35 | One of the other reporter says someone on security told her there were 3,300 people here when she arrived about an hour ago. That was before the spawling grassy lawn between Strahan Colesium and the river was filled with people. I’d guess there are at least 8,000 people here now. The crowd is actually pretty subdued but Obama is still more than 30 minutes away. I offered some unsolicited color to a reporter from Associated Press, pointing out that Sewell Park is yards away from Spring Lake, which may be the oldest continually inhabited location in North America. She politely says “oh” but doesn’t seem to think it’s a great idea.

8:17 p.m. | Made it through press check-in after producing a business card and a drivers license. They opened and woke up my laptop where I still had this window opened. “What do you know,” the cop said. “A blogger.” Press is seated right next to the stage where Eleven Fingered Charlie just finished playing a set.

7:03 p.m. | Gates should be opened by now and I’m about to leave Newstreamz Tower on Hopkins Street downtown to make my way to Sewell Park several blocks away. I’ve already had to write a letter for one of our videographers who was on the media list but had no business card or other Newstreamz identification. The press instructions didn’t say anything about all that so I’m scrambling to get different people the documentation they need to get in.

I’ll post throughout the night depending on how practical it is to break out the laptop computer in a crowd that they’re saying is going to be at least 10,000. Barack Obama has alot of people pumped up. The other day an excitable older man was handing out fliers downtown, literally running into traffic stopped at lights to give out fliers. “Obama! In San Marcos! Wednesday!”

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11 thoughts on “Blogging Obama

  1. Thanks.

    Being stuck on the road, 2,000 miles away, that’ll have to do for me. I can’t believe I missed that.

  2. Pingback: QUOTE OF THE DAY : Newstreamz

  3. WOW! What an event!

    Understand, Newstreamz operates on the first of two floors at “Newstreamz Tower” in historic downtown San Marcos. Brad, with hope being the theme of tonight’s rally, Newstreamz Tower is certainly appropriately named. Secondly, Lloyd Doggett’s staff member, Jarratt Watkins, said that last he heard of the Congressman’s whereabouts this evening was on the floor of Congress just before the rally began. There must a Lloyd Doggett look alike in our midst.

    Brad, nice job on reporting this event and great job Courtney Strange, Texas State Student Democrat president, who represented his fellow students and our community extremely well withat his comments to kick off this historic event. Everyone I saw and spoke with was electrified by the evening in the presence of possibly the next President of the United States of America.

    Regardless of your vote we should now be supercharged to express our thoughts, ideals and dreams at the ballot box before or on March 4th.

  4. You mean I could have stayed home, avoided the insane line not to mention walking from where we parked, and read the blog instead? My feet hurt, but in the end, I think it was worth it. I also shot a ton of pics and videos, but they were all on my tiny xacti camera.

  5. I was there, & just read this upon getting home– great job!! You guys are officially the only news I rely on in this town now.

  6. I took my 8 year old son last night so he could experience “the process”. We arrived about 7:15, did a recon on the line around Strahan back to the Guard building and decided we would watch from in front of the Corner Store. We ducked into Saltgrass for refreshements and to use the restroom but when we came out the (imo) over-zealous security had backed everyone up Sessoms to Saltgrass where you couldn’t hear a thing. We hoofed it all the way around through campus, fish hatcherie and got in just as Obama started to speak. Mostly what I heard were the vaugue, undeliverable platitudes typical of political stump speaches. Lots of classism and wealth redistribution. I did clap during his comments on education and veteran benefits. My son seemed surprised at that because although I was trying to appear nuetral I know he picked up on my skeptisism. What I didn’t see was the famed “rock star atmosphere”. People (back at the rear where I was, at least) seemed much more subdued than I expected. I do think we can expect a large young voter turn out though, based on what I saw.

    Thanks to Newstreamz. I’m glad I went but also enjoy the other perspective.

  7. Well, I just spent a week working in one of my favorite college towns – Boston. With somewhere around 130,000 students, the capitol and political history as old as the country, the folks there can be fairly politically active.

    Everyone I spoke to, students, alum, professionals, were all impressed to downright floored by the size of the crowd that turned out here.

    Thanks to everyone who worked to make this happen and equally thanks to everyone who turned out because a crowd like that has got to stick in the minds of future candidates and hopefully this will be the first of many such appearances.

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