The Obama Rally, from Two Angles

Mary Katharine Ham

5/6/2008 11:00:00 PM - Mary Katharine Ham
Reynolds Coliseum on N.C. State's campus seats 12,400 people. It did not seat that many tonight. Behold, the power of political staging:

The Obama rally, as seen on TV:


The Obama rally as seen from the other end of Reynolds:


Those tables in between my position and the rally you saw on TV are about a quarter full of milling, bored, tired reporters. The rally took up maybe a quarter of the floor space in the arena. Part of running a decent campaign is knowing how big a crowd you might have and planning accordingly so as not to embarrass yourselves with a woefully understuffed venue.

I realize it's standard practice to rope off an area of a venue for crowd-wrangling and appearances, but this is a little drastic. McCain's event at the Wait Chapel at Wake Forest today was nicely filled if not overflowing, but I imagine if he had held it at Groves Stadium and filled only the endzone seats, someone in the media might have said something about it. Obama doesn't have such worries, I guess.

I really didn't expect Obama's margin of victory tonight, even being from Durham, where I'm subject to the a high population of the ultimate in latte liberals. The urban turn-out must have been truly remarkable and a lot of it likely showed up in early voting. I would have thought the rural vote would counteract Obama's strengths much better than this.

Another lovely bumper sticker, at the Obama rally:


Don't question their patriotism!