DAYTON, Ohio – As Barack Obama got into the meat of his speech Monday at a packed arena, he sounded more like preacher than politician.
"My bet has been paid off. My faith in the American people has been vindicated," he said as a few audience members yelled "Well!" and "Preach, brother!"
Throughout his Ohio tour, he's averaged crowds of 14,000. He had 17,000 at Reunion Arena in Dallas and 18,000 at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Many had come just to hear him speak. Some cried. Others just waved their hands.
"He's running a theological campaign," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who ran for president in 1984 and 1988. "At some point, he took off his arms and grew wings."
"He's very inspirational and he's very credible," said Nicole Baptiste, a 26-year-old Dayton resident who works for an information and news database company. "In our country, it's exactly what's needed."
Victor Iseli, a 77-year-old retired General Motors worker from Dayton, said Mr. Obama is more than a hope peddler.
"What he says, he will do as president," said Mr. Iseli, who spoke to Mr. Obama in a native Indonesian language after a rally."Many Hopefully Devoted to Obama The Dallas Morning News February 26, 2008.