Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Politics doesn't even begin to describe it. A visit to an Obama rally is a pilgrimage"

DAVID WRIGHT: We've been to dozens of huge rallies like this in dozens of states and with every victory, Obama's congregation seems to be growing. If you've never been to an Obama rally before, a word of advice, go early. Think Springsteen concerts, but the tickets are free. First come, first serve. In Boise, Idaho, a few weeks back it couldn't have been more than 15 degrees out. But outside Taco Bell Arena early on a Saturday morning, everyone waited patiently because inside--

OBAMA: If you arrive together, we will remake this country and we will remake the world.

WRIGHT: --inside, they felt the warm glow of hope.

OBAMA: Keep me in your prayers. You know, make sure that everybody is praying and give me that protective blanket over it.

WRIGHT: Obama's true believers respond as though they've spent their whole lives out in the cold. At rally after rally, a few people literally faint.

OBAMA: [Montage of Obama reacting to fainting]: Is somebody okay? Did somebody just get faint? It looks like we have somebody who may have fainted. Hold on a second, young lady. Are you okay? Why don't you sit down though.

WRIGHT: Politics doesn't even begin to describe it. A visit to an Obama rally is a pilgrimage.
WRIGHT: From Boise to Baltimore, he's winning them over. For you, is it even a close call between him and Hillary Clinton?

SECOND OBAMA SUPPORTER (FEMALE): Not at all. Because, as he said, she is the past, he is the future and the present. You know, you have to move forward.

OBAMA: There is a moment in the life of every generation, if it is to make its mark on history, where that spirit of hope has to come through.

WRIGHT: From the looks on their faces, they're yearning to hear stuff like that. As though they've waited for so long, they've almost lost hope. And now he comes along.

OBAMA: But we spend our whole lives caught up in being told what we can't do. And what's not possible, and that children have to be poor and race always is going to matter in this country and there's always going to be injustice and the economy can never work for anybody. We're fed that stuff all the time. Mostly by folks who are in power and take advantage of the status quo.

WRIGHT: Some testimonials are nostalgic for an era when hope didn't seem so naive. Others imagined what has never been and asked why not.

OPRAH WINFREY: Disappointment doesn't have to be normal anymore. For the first time, I'm stepping out of my pew because I've been inspired.

OBAMA: Thank you, Oprah. And I love you.

WRIGHT: At this point, the bar is so high even the believers are starting to doubt he can pull it off.

STEIN: We know we're being fooled, but we kind of like it. I can't get off his ride, it's too good.

WRIGHT: The potential for disappointment is as big as Texas. People's hopes have been raised so high. Young people hoping that Obama can redeem politics from mere partisanship, black people hoping he can finally achieve Martin Luther King's dream. White people hoping he can redeem America from the sins of slavery and segregation. It is hard to see how any politician, a mere human, can achieve all that, but it will be very interesting to watch.

-- ABC Nightline Correspondent David Wright; Video / MP3 Audio (via Scott Whitlock @ NewsBusters.Org)