Obama Takes the Stage

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 06, 2008 9:25 PM

RALEIGH, N.C.-- Obama plays the unity card early, congratulating Hillary on what looks to be a probable win in Indiana (to shouts of "Not yet! Not yet!), calling her a tough opponent, and insisting that the party will come together for either candidate to defend against McCain's "third Bush term."

Is it just me or does it look weak to start talking right off the bat about what might happen if "one of us" loses? It seems to me Hillary wouldn't give that rhetorical ground in a similar position.

I'm sitting in the upper level bleachers at Reynolds Coliseum, where they sequestered the late arrivers once the floor and bleachers in the TV shot were properly staged and all the press had been ushered in. There's a group of about 100 enthusiastic Obama supporters up here who are witnessing the staging of a political event for the first time and finding it curious. They're craning their necks to see down into the approximate 1/4 of the coliseum filled with the stage, supporters, and press. That area is curtained off and blocked off for spectators in the upper levels except for right behind Obama, where the upper decks are packed. Directly below them is the virtually empty other 3/4 of the gym floor and lower bleachers.

"Why'd they set it up like this?" people keep asking. I'm sure it looks very full on TV. For what it's worth, I think the Obama rally I attended in New Hampshire was bigger than this.

I'm glad to see that Obama has taken care of white-people placement and is surrounded by pink shirts. Maybe it's a "Victoria's Secret PINK" promotion this time instead of A&F, ABC?

Obama's sounding a bit more lofty than he has in the past week, and noticeably adding some toughness to his voice, it sounds like. "This is the time to END IT," he  says of politics as usual. Much less laconic than I've heard from him before. "We will end it by telling the truth. We will end it by telling the truth forcefully, repeatedly, confidently." I will call this his new "cojones" voice. It's falling a bit flat for me, but it looks like he's trying.

Update: That was it? Gone are the days of the 45-minute acceptance speech, huh? Has he learned humility? I would have expected him to act more like a winner, what with the media poised to do in Hillary tomorrow. But perhaps he's preserving his nice-guy image and letting the press do the dirty work for him.

Update:
There were smatterings of grumbling and booing for Hillary, relatively quiet and under control, whenever Obama mentioned her. They were quelled pretty quickly, but there was definite discontent, and even some snickering at times.