Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, February 8, 2008

LIVE from KeyArena: Obama rally packs stadium

Well, the Northwest Progressive Institute team is in place at KeyArena here in Seattle where tens of thousands of people have turned out for Barack Obama's address. There are six of us here on the floor - two of us blogging, two of us shooting video, and two taking still images.

KeyArena is nearly packed to capacity. There's hardly a seat left in the place.

It's just astonishing how many people have shown up today. We've talked to dozens of people who are skipping school or work to be here. The crowd is exceptionally diverse - Washingtonians from all walks of life and all backgrounds are represented. The enthusiasm here is tremendous: when Barack Obama takes the stage, the roar from the crowd is going to be simply deafening.

The crowd has broken into several loud chants of "Obama!" already - Barack hasn't arrived yet, of course, but people here can hardly contain their excitement.

The festivities are just kicking off here. We'll keep the live reports coming throughout the next few hours, and we hope you'll join us for the ride.

UPDATE (Rick): Here's a photo from the floor - of the stage:

Massive turnout at Barack Obama rally in Seattle

UPDATE (Keith): Sitting behind the army of photographers, videographers, and the security detail, this is an impressive sight.

We're talking about Key Arena here — not a hotel ballroom, not a basement in a church. I’ve seen fewer people at Sonics games.

Every major traditional media outlet is here: The alphabet suit of the Big Four networks, the cable networks, and of course, the blogosphere, strategically tucked behind the main stage, blocking our view of whoever is speaking.

Praise be for the scoreboard. Andrew and I can get a clear view if we get up from our computers and walk around the riser, though.

The display above my head is blasting inspirational tones and showing clips of Obama speeches that are getting cheers from an already boisterous crowd.

One important thing binds together the audience: They believe. This movement, this man, this campaign, will be an historical event.

People in this arena right now may very well remember this the way they remember Rosa Parks, the first moonwalk, and the civil rights movement.

It's historic for a number of reasons. Yes, a black man or a woman will be a viable candidate for the presidency. That much is plain. But the undercurrents are what make this remarkable. Obama is popular.

I attended several rallies in the 2004 election cycle for John Kerry that at the time were well-populated — far ahead of previous elections. But not historic. There was still a lingering sense that Dean was really the choice, and a good segment of Democrats merely accepted Kerry as Better Than Bush, so they supported him.

This is different. Much different. If you're able to watch at home (Northwest Cable News should carry Obama's speech live), relish this moment.

Who knows when something like this will happen again?


Blogger slag said...

It was an exciting event! We were there. Behind the sign :). Blogged about it here.

February 8, 2008 7:57 PM  
Blogger Hal said...

Here's my set of pictures from the rally.

February 10, 2008 1:16 AM  

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