Thursday, February 21, 2008

"It was more like church . . ."

Maybe it was the representation of youth in the crowd that lends the oft-cited air of a rock concert that has been attributed to Obama rallies.

But that wasn't quite it, not entirely. It was more like church – not the stuffy kind, but roof-shaking soul church where people testify and dance in the aisles when the spirit's upon them.

"It's electric! Can't you feel it?" said one man, who told me he was headed for work at the IRS after the rally. I could feel it, because it's a fundamental element of crowd psychology that the expectation of "electricity" creates it. . . .

The main event, of course, was the speech, which I have heard before. I just sat back and felt the key phrases wash over the crowd: "new," "change," "Kennedy," "Scooter Libby justice," "wiretaps," "Katrina."

The lady sitting next to me dipped into a bucket of popcorn and murmured the phrases back: " 'If you believe.' 'The time is now.' That's right," she agreed.

She was a little disappointed, in fact, when the rally ended: "Why didn't he do, 'Yes we can'?" she asked a friend, as if a concert had ended, the biggest hit not performed.

Life of the party: Obama's supporters rock Reunion Arena Dallas Morning News February 21, 2008.

* * *

. . . about a half-hour into a speech here, the Illinois Democrat announced that he had to take a quick break. "Gotta blow my nose here for a second," Obama said.

Out came a Kleenex (or perhaps it was a hankie), and he wiped his nose.

The near-capacity audience at the Reunion Arena, which his campaign said totaled 17,000, broke out in a slightly awkward applause.

John McCormick, The Baltimore Sun | Obama Blows His Nose, Crowd Goes Wild Video Footage