Many people were particularly moved by Obama's final two anecdotes of the day. He first discussed an experience that he said defines his perspective on politics. It came during a visit to the site of a church-bombing in Birmingham, Ala., where four girls were killed.The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Obama drew a crowd of over 500 people to the Pennsylvania event. By contrast, his opponent draws crowds of over 50 to events in Illinois.
"I said to myself, we all stand on the shoulders of four little girls because they capitalized the nation's conscience, and they transformed America," Obama said. "It's because of that that we were able to come together as a country."
"If it wasn't for them, then I wouldn't be here, and you wouldn't be here. ... The sacrifices that are expected of us are so modest in comparison.
The second story recounted a trip he made to southern Illinois after he won the primary election.
"For those of you who don't know, southern Illinois is really the South."
While he was on the way to Karo, Ill., his senior U.S. senator, Dick Durbin, recounted all the racial discrimination he encountered there 30 years prior. However, when they arrived at the city, Obama encountered a different attitude.
"There's a parking lot of over 300 people ... and they all are of the age in which they would have been active participants in this enormous racial strike that had taken place. As we pull up closer, we look, and they all are wearing these little blue buttons, and all the blue buttons said "Obama for U.S. Senate.'"
He finished the speech with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. "Dr. King once said the arch of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. It bends because we do the work. It bends because we all put out our arms and hang on that arch and pull it down."
"I saw Obama at the Democratic Convention, and I thought he was really awesome," Drexel nursing student Matthew Kalinowsky said.
Others also enjoyed Obama's eloquence and the way he presented himself.
"His speech was great and had a lot of energy," Rutgers law student Frank Calabrese said.
"He smiles a lot. Before he got on stage, he was smiling, and that's something a lot of politicians don't do," College freshman Nathan Hake said. "I got him to sign my sign, and he was really friendly. There was nothing forced about him."
"He brings this youthful idealism and optimism that is so absent from American politics today. Everyone is so cynical," Wharton freshman Asuka Nakamura said. "Seeing someone who is so hopeful for the future really appeals to me."
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Obama's trip to the City of Brotherly Love
The University of Pennsylvania's Daily Pennsylvanian covers Barack Obama's visit to Philadelphia:
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